Austin Youth River Watch is a mentoring and environmental education program for high school students and young adults. This multi-year after school and summer program engages historically underrepresented youth in water quality testing, community focused restoration projects, and outdoor adventure. The goal is to foster a love of nature, build meaningful relationships, and support our students in any way we can.
Join this session to hear directly from River Watch youth and staff about their experiences guiding young adults and being a young adult of color outdoors.
Lights Out Texas is a campaign of education, awareness, and action that focuses on turning out lights at night during the spring and fall migrations to help protect the billions of migratory birds that fly over Texas annually. The goal of Lights Out Texas is to reduce migratory bird mortality by increasing statewide participation at the business, local official, municipal, and community levels, as well as collecting and reporting data.
In Spring 2021, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted to turn off all non-essential lights in County buildings in downtown Austin during the peak of spring migration. The resolution also encouraged Travis County residents and businesses to turn off some of their lights to help save birds’ lives. Travis County said the effort had the added benefit of helping the community conserve electricity as Earth Day approached. It said lowering energy consumption aligns with the county’s Climate Action Plan and Resolution on Net Zero Carbon Emissions. Read more in this article from KVUE and read a full recap of Lights Out Texas efforts in Spring 2021.
Fall 2021 Lights Out Resolution
On August 10, Travis County issued another resolution, committing to turning off non-essential lights in its downtown buildings during all spring and fall bird migration seasons moving forward. They are exploring the possibility of expanding this resolution to all of their buildings in Travis County. Read more about the Lights Out Resolution from this recent article from the Austin Monitor or download the full text of the resolution from Travis County here.
This fall we encourage all Texans to turn off non-essential lights at night from 11 pm – 6 am during the fall migration period of August 15 – November 30, and where conflicts apply, prioritize lights out during the critical peak fall migration period from September 5 to October 29.
Every light turned out at night helps save migrating birds by reducing collisions with brightly lit buildings. As an added bonus, turning off non-essential lights also saves energy and money for cities, local businesses, and homeowners!
“Turning out the lights will help protect migrating birds, including the endangered golden-cheeked warblers that breed in the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and elsewhere in Central Texas. In addition, an important migratory corridor runs through Texas, so this effort will help protect birds coming from all across the country,” said Johanna Arendt, Community Liaison with Travis County Natural Resources.
Travis County’s Facilities Management Department (FMD) is implementing the following practices where feasible to reduce non-essential lighting during the designated periods.
Travis County’s Facilities Management Department (FMD) is implementing the following practices to ensure their non-essential lighting is off during the designated periods.
The Facilities Management Department (FMD) has changed the custodians’ work schedule to end at 11:00 PM
Custodians working on cleaning floors make sure the lights are off before they proceed to the next floor
FMD security staff, the night patrol shift, walks the buildings on the inside to make sure it is secure and at the same time to turn off any lights that have been left on
FMD security monitors cameras on all Travis County buildings to report any lights that are on after 11:00 PM
FMD set the HMS Courthouse Exterior lighting timer so that non-essential lights will be turned off at 10:00 PM during the critical bird migration period
For the record and control, the night shift security staff takes photos of our buildings to document that the lights are off
If any lights are on in a particular office or floor after 11:00 PM as shown by the photos, FMD will investigate the light sensor control or switch control in that office or floor to make sure that the lighting system is working
FMD performs light sensor controls and switch control checks to make sure that they are functioning properly
After 11:00 PM, all 11 of the County’s downtown buildings’ lights should be off except for emergency lights.
Travis County is located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the Edwards Plateau, and is divided north to south by the Balcones Escarpment. Home to the majority of the city of Austin, Travis County encompasses both dense urban areas and wide open spaces, especially to the west and east. With a population of over 1.2 million, it is the fifth largest county in Texas, and one of the fastest growing communities in the country.
Comments Off on Open Preserve Day At Yegua Knobbs Preserve
Pines and Prairies Land Trust (PPLT) is excited to open Yegua Knobbs Preserve for a day outside with your family and friends. Yegua Knobbs Preserve is their most unique property with over 300 acres of pristine wildlife habitat including piney woods, a spring fed bog, local history and rare orchids. It is located in McDade, just 40 minutes outside of Austin.
Pines and Prairies Land Trust is a Texan by Nature Conservation Partner. PPLT was founded in 2001 to protect the land and natural resources in the Central Texas counties of Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette, Lee and Eastern Travis County. PPLT holds conservation easements and owns property in this region.
Comments Off on Texas Botanical Gardens & Native American Interpretive Center Summer Arts & Reading Camp
The first Texas Botanical Gardens & Native American Interpretive Center Summer Camp will be held at the Botanical Gardens Amphitheater where you can hear author Beth Griess tell the story of Tripod the goat who lives on a Texas Ranch. She is the author of book that addresses soil & water conservation, archaeology and Texas history. This week-long camp is divided into younger elementary students in the morning and older students in the afternoon. They will have have art instructors (Martha Carson & Armando Rodriguez) come in from Houston to teach the children during the day. Some adult instruction will also be held on one or two evenings while in Mills County.
Texas Botanical Gardens & Native American Interpretive Center is a Texan by Nature Conservation Partner. They promote conservation, stewardship, and education. As an ecotourism destination showcasing Native American life ways and archeological sites, the focus is on native plants, wildlife, and the waterways of Central Texas. The mission of the Center is to provide a dynamic, interactive, lifelong learning experience while identifying, preserving and showcasing the rich prehistoric and environmental aspects of rural Central Texas.