The KTB Conference is 3 days of educational sessions, workshops, and field trips designed to inspire and engage attendees.
Monday’s Pre-Conference sessions include workshops and field trips for deeper, more experiential learning.
On Tuesday, we start our formal conference sessions. This year’s sessions were developed with six educational tracks in mind:
- Litter Abatement
- Beautification and Green Spaces
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
We will conclude the conference with a series of Roundtable Discussions, designed for group learning and networking.
Read on to plan your conference experience….
The John Hargrove Environmental Complex (JHEC) site serves as an example of environmental stewardship in Pearland. JHEC is approximately 87 acres, including two large ponds with almost two miles of trails that take visitors around the park. The site also features three facilities, the Southwest Environmental Center, Stella Roberts Recycling Center, and the Delores Fenwick Nature Center.
Transportation will be provided.
Presented by Lenora Tollefson, Keep Pearland Beautiful
Come check out Green City Recycler’s textile sorting and grading center! This tour will broaden your view of the textile recycling world, and showcase the unique steps used to recycle used clothes that are sent to the facility from national thrift chains.
The tour will give your community the opportunity to learn about the curbside recycling program successfully used by Sugar Land and Pearland.
Transportation provided. Limited to 15 attendees. (Session is full.)
Presented by Sam Ebenezer, Green City Recycler
Join Keep Houston Beautiful, the Houston Toolbank, and Volunteer Houston for a morning of service to collect litter and help keep Houston clean! Following the cleanup, Black Cat GIS will provide an in-field litter audit demonstration. All supplies will be included.
While teaching about nature in nature is always preferable, it’s not always an option for many young people. This presentation will highlight how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are using virtual programs to bring nature to thousands of young people in classrooms, homeschools, and medical facilities.
Using a digital platform, participants travel to coastal wetlands, forests, prairies, beaches, and more. They learn about conservation careers and participate in a diversity of activities, ranging from dip netting in the surf, using drones to manage forests, and peeking into the nest of an endangered bird.
Presented by Felice Yarbough, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services
One of the first steps in managing an urban forest is to know what is in it. Where are the trees located? What are their condition, size, and species? These are questions that can be answered by conducting a tree inventory, an essential tool for developing a management plan. In this workshop, you will learn how to conduct tree inventories using volunteers. We’ll conclude this workshop by practicing our new inventory skills outdoors. Please dress for the weather.
Presented by Texas A&M Forestry
Join KTB staff members for this pre-conference workshop to learn more about Keep Texas Beautiful programs and resources. This workshop will provide information that will be helpful for new affiliates, communities who are considering becoming affiliates, and anyone who is just wanting a refresher on all things KTB!
KTB Program staff will walk attendees through the history of KTB, the benefits of becoming an affiliate, current KTB projects and programs, and how to remain in Good Standing as a KTB affiliate. You will also get a chance to hear from veteran affiliates who can provide “boots-on-the-ground” information and answer all your questions.
Join us as we discover the impact of invasive species on our local communities and ways we can minimize their impact.
Presenter: Ashley Morgan-Olvera, M.S. the Research and Education Director for Texasinvasives.org, which is part of the Texas Invasive Species Institute (TISI) at Sam Houston State University.
NRG Energy is a leading energy and home services company powered by people and a passion for a smarter, cleaner, and more connected future. A Houston-based Fortune 500 company operating in the United States and Canada, NRG delivers innovative solutions that help people, organizations, and businesses achieve their goals. In 2019, NRG approached Texan by Nature (TxN), the leader in collaborative conservation, to partner on a conservation mission of its lignite mine reclamation for the benefit of the communities around Jewett, Texas. This conversation resulted in the use of the land to alleviate food insecurity in the area by building a service garden on the site that produces fresh produce for surrounding food pantries and acts as an outdoor classroom for area schools and organizations.
Presented by Amy Snelgrove, Texan by Nature, and Carla Ibarra, NRG Energy
Trash Free Texas partners will share the resources created through the project and available to help communities create and implement different types of volunteer litter cleanup programs. Results from the overall project and pilots of the resources will also be shared. Resources include the Adopt-A-Spot Map, the Community Cleanup Challenge Toolkit, the Recreational Litter Cleanup Toolkit, and the Single-Use Plastic Reduction Toolkits for communities and restaurants.
Presenters: Kendall Guidroz, Houston Galveston Area Council, Elena Berg, North Central Texas Council of Governments, and Laura Parchman, The Meadows Center
How do you channel high school students’ passion for the environment into meaningful and impactful programming? Our next generation is our future but getting them involved in a sustainability program is often easier said than done. Let Live Green in Plano share their experiences with engaging youth in sustainability programs including litter cleanups and their annual Youth Summit. They will share their successes as well as lessons learned in how to engage the next generation.
Presented by Sarah Luxton and Olivia Osborne, Live Green in Plano
See how Keep Texas Beautiful Affiliates are expanding recycling in their community through innovative programs and strategic partnerships with private companies.
In this session, the City of Cuero will share a look at their recycling drop-off center and how they increase volume through their recycle bin loan program to local businesses.
The City of San Marcos and Keep San Marcos Beautiful will share how they encourage local organizations to host zero-waste events and how they’ve expanded their school recycling program.
Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages will share its sustainability mission and how they achieve its mission by supporting plastic bottle recycling in rural and underserved communities across Texas.
Panel discussion featuring Abraham Tueme, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages; Cheryl Murzbacher, Keep Cuero Beautiful; and Amy Thomaides, Keep San Marcos Beautiful
The Texas Hill Country is home to the headwaters of 13 Texas rivers and sustains life from the rural communities of Central Texas through the rapidly growing cities of the I-35 corridor to the bays and estuaries of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Texas Hill Country Conservation Network was created to coordinate a conservation partnership response to sprawling development, climate change, and booming population growth, and to scale up the impact of conservation-focused organizations working throughout the 18 county Hill Country region. The Network was interested in maximizing their regional natural resource protection efforts via enhanced collaboration, seeking input and participation from all stakeholder communities, particularly non-traditional voices often left out of natural resource conversations.
General project highlights, to include a mapping portal, and communication and engagement strategies are offered in an interactive-style presentation.
Presenter: Angelica Lopez, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute
Join us to learn about affiliate led Youth Programming from around the state, four communities will walk us through their robust education programs and answer a series of discussion questions to help you build or enrich your own programs. Meet student members of the councils, and get their unique feedback on the importance of being involved in sustainability education and outreach.
Speakers: Charlotte Anderson, Executive Director, Keep San Angelo Beautiful, Sarah Luxton, Environmental Education Supervisor, Keep Plano Beautiful, Ginger Gonzalez, Tourism Secretary, Keep Ennis Beautiful , Teri MacArthur, Environmental Education Specialist, Keep The Woodlands Beautiful
In addition to the abundance of environmental benefits, the Texas Recycling Industry generates more than 23,000 jobs, has an annual economic impact of $4.8 billion and generates nearly $195 million in local and state taxes. Texas is growing and the need for sustainable waste management is increasing.
In this session, State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) will share findings from the 2021 Recycling Market Development Plan and identify next steps to increase recycling through market development, education and stakeholder engagement.
Keep Texas Beautiful’s Keep Texas Recycling Program Manager will discuss challenges of recycling in rural communities and how their unique, cooperative approach could assist your community.
Balcones Resources will share a glimpse inside current MRF recycling technology, explain why only specific items are accepted in recycling programs and the importance of education to ensure the success of a recycling program.
Presenters: Zoë Killian, Keep Texas Beautiful; Steve Shannon, State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR); Victoria Acevedo, Balcones Resources
Building a strong and reliable board of directors is no easy task. Leveraging best practices and thoughtful strategies can mean the difference between an engaged, effective board and a committee with minimal leadership. Join this session to hear how Keep McAllen Beautiful has been able to retain board members and reduce turnover.
Presented by Chris Lash, Keep McAllen Beautiful
As the US population becomes more ethnically diverse, our challenge is:
– How do we engage the changing demographic in more outdoor activities and conservation careers?
– How do organizations who support and are engaged in natural resource conservation activities become relevant to this growing population and maintain its current participants and supporters?
Just as environmental diversity adds value to our ecosystems, people diversity is a social resource that we cannot afford to ignore.
Presenter: David Buggs, Texas Parks & Wildlife
Why should you collect data and how can you use it as a powerful tool to support your organization? What data should you be collecting and how do you gather detailed data using an audit? Amanda Hackney of Black Cat GIS will explore these questions and teach you how to use the STOP methodology.
Presenter: Amanda Hackney, Black Cat GIS
In this session, EcoRise’s Houston-area Ambassador Teachers will lead participants through an exploration of EcoRise’s Sustainable Intelligence Curriculum and will conduct a quick Public Spaces Eco-Audit for a hands-on introduction to the resources. They will highlight exemplar projects from the elementary, middle, and high school level and provide an in-depth look at how interdisciplinary, project-based learning in classrooms make impactful green campus projects a reality.
They will share how EcoAudit grants were able to support Katy ISD’s initiatives with the Tiger Prairie restoration project and how EcoRise resources support net-zero energy lessons at Klein Forest High School.
The session will conclude with facilitated group dialogue so that attendees have a chance to share insights, collaborate with one another, and expand their support network of fellow teachers committed to student innovation and the green school movement.
Presenters: Kelly Knight, Katy High School and Nicole Nicholson, Klein Forest High School
In order for us to realize our dream of a greener future for our communities, we must understand just how interconnected health, education, and financial security landscapes truly are.
In this session, we will envision a future of collaboration around greener cities and creating real, effective change. We will walk through a few case studies and work on an interactive program proposal to take back to our respective communities.
While this process is not a one-size-fits-all, we will explore ways to open doors to finding solutions in our communities and navigate collaboration as it relates to a greener future. Together we can advance the culture of green and beautiful cities!
Presenter: Carole Fergusson, Keep Waco Beautiful; Camille Wilder, Cultural Wealth
Join us a for fun and interactive session! This presentation will share ways to market your brand, how to communicate in an authentic way, and examples of mechanisms you can utilize. It will also talk about ways to include a bilingual approach, through a media lens.
Presenters: Michele Brown and Tita Sartorio, GDC
During this session, you’ll hear from three communities who are working on art initiatives in their area, through murals, railroad bungalows, and more! Learn how they’ve been able to creatively add more spaces for art and engage their community through their projects.
Presenters: Kelly Hancock, Keep Levelland Beautiful; Sarah Osborne, Keep League City Beautiful; and Bharati Maskey, City of Grand Prairie
The session will share the results of the first baseline research on perceptions of littering and illegal dumping, conducted based on 10 years of ticketing data in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Working with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and Palmetto Pride, the study examined patterns related to sentencing and fines, and also conducted interviews with officers, prosecutors, and judges to understand their differing roles in the law enforcement system and gather their opinions on ticketing. The study examined patterns related to sentencing and fines, and also conducted interviews with officers, prosecutors, and judges to understand their differing roles in the law enforcement system and gather their opinions on ticketing. The session will share the results and explore the differences between litter and illegal dumping enforcement.
Participants will learn about creating an integrated approach to address both problems and work more closely with their local enforcement entities.
Participants will leave the session with a checklist of ideas for training and ways to work more cooperatively with officers, prosecutors, and judges.
Presenter: Cecile Carson, Carson Consulting
Often, our marketing and design target the “average” person. Our programs benefit when all people can fully participate and find a sense of belonging. In this session, you’ll learn some simple but effective ways to make your marketing and design more accessible and inclusive.
Presenter: Lara George, Keep Texas Beautiful
Recycling different items can be challenging and opportunities vary from community to community. In this session, you’ll gain insight into glass container recycling in Texas and beyond, including the challenges and opportunities of glass recycling.
We will also discuss the need for textile recycling, what happens when the textiles are recycled, and how your community can get involved. There will be information about solid waste grant opportunities to support diversion programs such as household hazardous waste collection and electronics recycling events.
Presenters: Sara Nichols, Resource Recycling; Sam Ebenezer, Green City Recycler; Angie Wierzbicki, Keep Missouri City Beautiful, Erin Livingston, Houston-Galveston Area Council
During this roundtable, there will be guided conversations in small groups about applying for the Governor’s Community Achievement Awards. Hear from past winners and learn how they were able to write successful applications.