Founded in 1969, Ecology Action of Texas initially pioneers landfill diversion and zero waste awareness in the Austin area for 45 years before transitioning to focus solely on ecological restoration and community engagement in land stewardship at their Circle Acres Nature Preserve 2016.Their mission is to protect, reclaim, and connect communities to neglected or damaged remnants of the urban wilderness. The Circle Acres Nature Preserve is not just a nature preserve, but also a filed lab for ecological research, community space for environmental education, and headquarters for a larger restoration project that includes the adjacent Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metro Park. Their restoration projects accelerate ecosystem recovery through biodiversity enhancement, water quality improvements, and regenerative land stewardship.
Project Description & History
Circle Acres Nature Preserve is a 10-acre project that has transformed a former City of Austin dump and illegal landfill in to a thriving sanctuary for urban wildlife. The land is a pivotal part of the Colorado River Watershed ecosystem, containing wetland, forest, and grassland. What was once Montopolis’ most polluted tracts of land is now among the most biodiverse 10 acres in Austin. Circle Acres Nature Preserve seeks to address the major threats to the park’s ecosystem from trash inflows, land degradation, and total herbivory of native trees by an overpopulation of deer. The preserve provides a habitat for over 150 bird species and deer, turtles, and other wildlife. Through efforts from several organizations and volunteers, Ecology Action of Texas restored this area after a history of damaging uses such as over-farming, quarrying, landfill, and illegal dumping sites. Ecology Action of Texas works towards a world in which there are no landfills. Through programs like City of Austin curbside recycling, Universal Recycling Ordinance, the Zero Waste Initiative, and the Recycling and Reuse Drop Off Center, Ecology Action is responsible for developing recycling solutions that helped lead the institutionalization of recycling and reuse.
Circle Area Nature Preserve’s hopes are to restore damaged land to provide educational and recreational resources for the Austin community. Additionally, community involvement in this preserve will improve understandings on the life cycles of materials, food, water, and energy.