Spring in Austin means it’s time for volunteer park clean-ups

Step away from the screens and get some dirt under your nails by volunteering at a spring park clean-up. We’ve said it before, these are some of the best volunteering opportunities of the year. What’s so great about park clean-up volunteering? Let me list the ways:

1. It’s outside! Fresh air! Sunshine!
2. You can do it with a group or by yourself.
3. Just about anyone can do it, which makes it great for families.
4. The nonprofits hosting them have got it down on how to make it a great experience for you.
5. You can see your progress as you work.
6. See # 1.

Not only that, you’re doing real community service. There are about 300 parks in Austin and Travis County, and the city simply does not have the resources to keep them as pristine as you’d like. So it’s up to us to be good stewards of the green belts, parks and playgrounds. And if you have a garden or backyard of your own, you know how much work there is always to be done. It never ends. Do your part this spring … and bring friends.

Here are some of the best opportunities available this spring:

Thousands of volunteers all across Austin take over dozens of parks and greenbelts cleaning, weeding, mulching and beautifying. This one-day volunteering event is well executed and very fulfilling. By the time you’re done, you’ll be tired and dirty but you’ll have made new friends and have something to show for it.
You must register to volunteer, and it’s so worth it. Every time someone asks me, “What’s the best way for me to volunteer with my kids?” I make sure to mention this event. My children and I did it a couple of years ago, and you could see how proud they were to have helped.


APRIL 9: Clean Sweep
Keep Austin Beautiful has lots of year-round volunteer park and greenbelt cleaning opportunities. In fact, last year more than 13,000 people rolled up their sleeves to put in more than 30,000 hours of volunteer work. If any organization knows how to keep volunteers happy, it’s KAB.

But their biggest opportunity is the April 9 Clean Sweep, a city-wide service day spanning 130+ sites in 31 zip codes throughout Austin and resulting in over 29 tons of trash removed by 4,000 plus volunteer who contribute 8,700 combined service hours. All that hard work is followed by a huge volunteer appreciation party, complete with music, free T-shirts, lunch, children’s environmental activities and more.

AMPLIFY CLEAN SWEEP: Note that this year, KAB is funneling contributions made during Amplify Austin (March 8-9) to Clean Sweep 2016. Funds will be used to purchase poison ivy block, first aid kits, sunscreen, and safety vests for cleanups and to support the after-party for volunteers.


ONGOING: Texas Parks & Wildlife
Sure, you can help clean-up and get ready for spring with TPW, but you can also volunteer to be a guide or docent. Every want to guide someone through that cool cave at Colorado Bend? Or talk to kids about bass fishing? Here’s the place to sign up.


Colorado RIver alliance Redbud-Center
Help maintain teaching gardens, clean up creeks on the Colorado River watershed, or help restore native vegetation, all while learning more about Texas ecology and habitats. Or be a docent or teacher to the hundreds of kids on field trips to the Wilkerson Center for Colorado River Education in West Austin. No experience necessary as CRA offers training and support.
Explore more volunteer opportunities on GivingCity Austin.


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