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The Beautify Texas Awards recognize efforts made by individuals and organizations to enhance their communities and protect Texas’ environment. These awards range in honoring extraordinary volunteers, professionals, youth, educators, businesses, local/civic governments, organizations, and specific projects and programs. 

The Beautify Texas Awards include many of the same categories of the former Keep Texas Beautiful Awards. They are organized into two main categories, Individual Awards and Organization Awards.

2023 Beautify Texas Award Winners

Individual Awards

Kathleen Hawkins

Stan Weik Leadership Award

Kathleen Hawkins is a dedicated Keep San Saba Beautiful volunteer, many times working alone; completing a project she sees needs attention and taking the lead to get it done. She was raised in San Saba, attending and graduating from San Saba High School. She also attended Angelo State University, majoring in Business Administration. During her senior year, she became an exchange student in Germany. After an extensive work career in Dallas and San Angelo, Texas, Kathleen returned to San Saba, working as president of Berkly Enterprises, Inc. Kathleen’s volunteer experience began in her college days and continues today. She has volunteered with the San Angelo Junior League, the Sonrisas Therepeutic Riding, the West Texas Rehabilitation Center, the US Tennis Association, the Pierian Study Club, and the San Saba Catkins Ball Committee. In 2016, Kathleen was appointed as a KSSB board director, then in July of that year, she was voted in as Board Chairperson and served in that position until her resignation in 2022. Kathleen continues to serve on the board and her volunteerism with KSSB continues to grow. During Kathleen’s KSSB tenure, the community has shown greater interest in KSSB and has taken notice of the beautification projects KSSB has completed.

Kaye Corey

O.P. Schnabel Volunteer of the Year Award

Kaye Corey is ong time Friendswood resident and active member of many local organizations. She has been involved with beautifying her community for over 20 years. She is a board member of Keep Friendswood Beautiful (KFB), Heritage Gardeners of Friendswood, Galveston County Master Gardeners, San Joaquin Parkway HOA secretary, and instructor for the Junior Master Gardeners (JMG) program in Galveston County. She volunteers with Friendswood Methodist Church on the landscaping committee. Kaye mentors Scouts with their Eagle Scout or Silver projects. The amount of volunteer hours Kaye has put in towards her community is unimaginable. Kaye is the most senior board member of KFB, she is by far the most active and accomplished. At KFB, Kaye heads up the Beautification committee. She was the lead person in the design, installation & maintenance of the Pollinator Garden at Stevenson Park. She organizes and supervises Pollinator Garden volunteers. She teaches youth and adults classes on plant purpose and function, container gardening, and fairy gardening. She's chair of the Beautification Matching Grant committee, which annually awards $2000 in matching grant money. Kaye works at every community event KFB has including our clean-up events, tree giveaway, and our city-wide winter celebration.

Jennifer Cox

Ruthe Jackson Youth Individual

Jennifer is a High School student at Ennis ISD. She's a member of the drill team, Future Farmers of America, and Junior Engineering Technical Society. She is a youth partner with the Mustang Heritage organization that works to rescue wild mustangs. She's also a founding member of the KEBl Youth Advisory Committee and a KTB Young Texan Ambassador. Jennifer's heart for volunteering started at just 11 years old at our farmers market. Continuing, in mid-2020 she partnered with KEB doing litter cleanup with Camp Gladiator at a local park. When the KEB Youth Advisory Committee began in late 2020, Jennifer was the first to submit an application and was fundamental in kick-starting the program. In late 2021, as a high school Freshman living in Ennis but attending school in Rice, our southward neighbor, Jennifer saw a need for an environmental program there as well. She met with school and city officials including the Mayor, Commissioners, City Administrator, and Parks Director to discuss the community's needs, and how best to address them, and she began the Beautify Rice program. She created their Facebook page, a logo, and the calendar of events for 2022. She held community clean-ups and had articles published in local newsletters to promote the program.

Arnulfo Talamantes

Sadie Ray Graff Educator

Sul Ross Middle School librarian, Arnulfo Talamantes, began his career with Northside ISD with the goal of enriching his students’ lives by not only connecting his students with diverse, high-interest reading material but also taking them outdoors in order to serve and enhance their community in a variety of ways. Through beautification projects like a campus pollinator garden that currently includes 10 beds with a wide variety of native plants, he has ensured that local pollinators have sufficient resources in order to impact the local ecology. Mr. Talamantes has also led a sustainability project with his community garden. His garden, the largest in the school district, currently has 18 vegetable beds, an outdoor kitchen, and a small orchard. It is also the largest club on campus with 100+ student and staff volunteers. Most recently, Mr. Talamantes has begun a native tree planting initiative that will restore native trees to his campus in order to provide habitat and enrich the biodiversity found in his community. As a certified Texas Master Naturalist and Texas Master Gardener, Mr. Talamantes continues to bring the outdoors to his students at Sul Ross Middle School, a school set in the heart of an urban environment.

Organizational Awards

McRee Ford

Ebby Halliday and Maurice Acers Business/Industry Award

McRee Ford is one of the oldest family-owned car dealerships in the nation. McRee opened in Dickinson in 1947 by Frank McRee and his wife Kathryn McRee. Generations have continued to be active civic partners in the Dickinson community since the 1940’s. McRee Ford is currently owned by twin brothers Mitchell and Michael Dale. Mitchell's children, Molly Dale Crow and son Carter Dale work alongside their father as officers and key department heads. As President, Mitchell took the dealership to the next level, added Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center, and built a beautiful new state of the art service department and showroom. Bill Dale, Mitchell Dale, and Carter Dale have long been volunteers and financial supporters of Keep Dickinson Beautiful. Carter has served on the Board, and for 20 years has supplied tables and boats, along with volunteering at the annual Trash Bash, Texas waterway cleanup. Other environmental organizations include: Discover Dickinson: bayou frontage landowners promoting bird watching and photography, and serving as guardians of the bayou, removing debris, and reporting illegal dumping violators.

City of Grand Prairie

Outstanding Program Award

The City of Grand Prairie has been an official affiliate of Keep America Beautiful since 1976 and Keep Texas Beautiful since 1996. During our 47-year history of keeping Grand Prairie beautiful, a variety of community improvement programs have been created. The most celebrated is the Grand Prairie Big Event which takes place the last Saturday in March, annually. The first Grand Prairie Big Event took place in 2018 with inspiration from Councilwoman Jorja Clemson’s grandson. At the time, her grandson was a student at Texas A&M University and was telling his grandmother about the legendary Texas A&M Big Event, which has been adopted by 125 universities. Councilwoman Clemson said, “We may not have a university, but why couldn’t Grand Prairie host a day of service?” So began the Grand Prairie Big Event. A day of citywide volunteerism in which volunteers are matched with qualifying service projects at homes of people in need, celebrating unity in the community. Run by the city of Grand Prairie and managed by a cross departmental team, Grand Prairie is the first municipality to host Big Event.

Connemara Meadow Nature Preserve

Outstanding Project Award

The Connemara Conservancy Foundation (Connemara) was founded in 1981 by Frances Williams and her daughter, Amy Monier, as one of the first land trusts in Texas. Connemara Meadow Nature Preserve (The Meadow) consists of 72 acres along Rowlett Creek in Allen, Texas. Connemara’s vision was to be a nationally recognized leader in the protection and conservation of open space and critical habitats in order to improve the quality of life for current and future generations. For many years, Connemara partnered with Keep Allen Beautiful (KAB), a KTB affiliate, to host an Earthfest event in the Meadow. They are a valued partner in the annual Educator Expo sponsored by KAB. Other partner organizations include the City of Allen, Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, Blackland Prairie Raptor Center, EarthX, Texas Master Naturalists – North Texas Chapter and Blackland Prairie Chapter, Prairie and Timbers Audubon Society, Young Women’s Charity League (volunteer at the meadow 2x/month), and Young Men’s Service League (YMSL) (volunteer at the Meadow 1x/month), and various Scout groups and corporations.

An aggressive effort to restore native grasses and wildflowers to the Meadow began in 2012 and they were nominated for the restoration work completed in 2022.

people viewing the KSAB table at a 2022 Health Fair

Keep San Angelo Beautiful

Public Education and Outreach Award

Keep San Angelo Beautiful (KSAB) is "back in action"! Our journey began in 2020 when an Executive Director was hired. KSAB supports a board of seven and several advisors. We've been a Keep Texas Beautiful Gold Star Affiliate from 2020 - 2022, and received the Governor's Community Achievement Award of Excellence 2021, 2022 and are crossing our fingers for "Sustained Excellence". We're grateful for all the resources, education, and programming of Keep Texas Beautiful which have supported 276+ KSAB engagements. We've assisted 31+ teams with grabbers, bags, gloves, bug spray, and sunscreen. We have provided 7,871 lessons from STAR and TCEQ to 2,022+ KSAB Jr. Ambassadors. We participate annually in Keep America Beautiful's Great American Cleanup, an annual Household Hazardous Waste Event, Earth Day events/activities, Fall Sweep, Texas Arbor Day, America Recycles Day, and TX A&M AgriLife Spring/Fall Symposiums (Tom Green Horticulture Committee). We are also a Mentor, an affiliate of the Month and have been a guest speaker on KTB webinars, trainings, and in the San Angelo community. KSAB receives H-E-B Grants yearly and works with the Upper & Lower Colorado River Authority, Alliance Recovery, BRI Recycling Solutions, Big Country Recycling, Acme Iron & Metals, and Secured Documents, who provide free services and sponsor events.

Coppell High School Eco Club

Ruthe Jackson Youth Organization Award

The Coppell High School’s Eco Club was formed in 2019. Founded by a student; it has now grown to be the largest environmental group at the school. There are 140 students involved, ranging from sophomores to seniors. These students make up three sub-committees of the organization: Water, Energy, and Recycling. These three sub-committees allow students to serve their school and community in ways that they are passionate about. The water sub-committee focuses on water quality testing and participated in Texas Stream Team training; they also presented their State of Water presentation to the Friends of Coppell Nature Park. The Energy subcommittee focuses on the energy consumption of Coppell High school and presents their State of Energy presentation to Coppell Independent School District faculty.

They are also wonderful partners with the City of Coppell and Keep Coppell Beautiful. in 2022, they were involved with the annual EarthFest event to celebrate Earth Day, participate in City-sponsored citizen scientist programs, and the Arbor Day celebration at Fall Frolic. Each year, the students find more and more opportunities to educate their fellow high school classmates, fellow students, and City of Coppell staff on how to be more sustainable.

Hettie Halstead Elementary

Sadie Ray Graff Educational Institution

Since 2017, Hettie Halstead has consistently, year after year, been a force to be reckoned with in Fort Hood's annual Recycle Bowl. In fact, after placing in the top three in 2017, the small, economically challenged school learned what it needed to succeed. And, the small but mighty school of 400 students has won first place in the Fort Hood Recycle Bowl every year for five of the last six years!

The school also participates in a variety of other Fort Hood youth recycling initiatives such as saving plastic grocery bags to make beds for the homeless, to collecting pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. For the second consecutive year, Hettie Halstead Elementary has been named the Fort Hood Youth Environmental Ambassador of the year. Hettie Halstead Elementary may be small, but it is mighty!!

Individual Awards

Stan Weik


The most prestigious award Keep Texas Beautiful presents, this once-in-a-lifetime professional distinction is awarded to an individual who has provided outstanding leadership in improving and enhancing the environment of their community, the state of Texas, and beyond.

OP Schnabel

Volunteer of the Year

The OP Schnabel award recognizes an adult individual whose extraordinary volunteer effort supports the mission of KTB and contributes to the betterment of their community. 

Ruthe Jackson

Youth Individual

The Ruthe Jackson award recognizes the efforts and leadership of youth to beautify the community and create cleaner, greener campuses, parks, and neighborhoods. A youth individual is defined as a student (elementary through post graduate), scout, youth advisory board member. Nominees can be recognized as individuals or their collective efforts as a group or team.

Sadie Ray Graff


This award recognizes the efforts of an educator that provides instruction and/or programming to Pre-K through college students to encourage youth involvement and promotes the KTB mission through environmental education.

Organizational Awards

Ebby Halliday & Maurice Acers


The Ebby Halliday and Maurice Acers Award recognizes a business with sound environmental principles that supports the Keep Texas Beautiful mission, including locally owned, state, or national businesses. 

Outstanding Program

The Outstanding Program award recognizes contributions by civic organizations and city, county, and state government departments, divisions, or agencies that support the KTB mission through a distinct and continual program.

Outstanding Project

The Outstanding Project award recognizes contributions by civic organizations and city, county, and state government departments that support the KTB mission through a specific one-time project or event from the previous year.

Public Education & Outreach

The Public Education & Outreach Award recognizes the public awareness and education efforts of civic organizations, media outlets, and city, county, and state government departments in print and/or electronic media in supporting environmental issues.

Ruthe Jackson

Youth Organization

The Ruthe Jackson Youth Organization award recognizes the efforts and leadership of youth-oriented organizations to beautify the community and create cleaner and greener campuses, parks, and neighborhoods. A youth organization is defined as a scout group, student-led organization, youth advisory board, and similar. 

Sadie Ray Graff

Educational Institution

The Sadie Ray Graff award recognizes the efforts of educational institutions that provide instruction/programming to Pre-K through college students to encourage youth involvement and promote the KTB mission through environmental education.


Several of the Beautify Texas Awards are named in honor of notable people who were an important part of Keep Texas Beautiful’s founding and development over its 55+ year history. Let’s meet them:

Stan Weik

Stan Weik, together with his wife, Joanne, devoted time, energy, and joyful spirit to elevating Keep San Saba Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB). He served on the KTB board for many years and served as Board President in 2012. Over the years, Stan won many awards for his service including the Iron Eyes Cody Award from Keep America Beautiful, their highest honor, and the KTB Leadership Award.

OP Schnabel

O.P. Schnabel, a San Antonio insurance salesman, was a pioneer in spreading the anti-litter message. Returning from a trip to Switzerland in 1948 where he was struck by the cleanliness of Swiss cities, Schnabel was inspired to organize the Beautify San Antonio Association. In 1967, he became the founding president of the Beautify Texas Council, later re-named Keep Texas Beautiful.

Ruthe Jackson

Ruthe Jackson was the first female president and a founding member of Keep Texas Beautiful. Ruthe served on the Grand Prairie City Council, serving most of her tenure as Mayor Pro Tem or Deputy Mayor Pro Tem.  She won multiple awards and honors including the Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson Environmental Award in 1977. Ruthe helped to establish the KTB Patch Program, and KTB’s Ruthe Jackson Youth Leadership Awards are named in her honor.

Sadie Ray Graff

Sadie Ray Graff was a Texas educator for more than 50 years. After retiring from education in 1971, Sadie and her husband Waldo served actively in the Beautify San Antonio Association. She visited elementary schools to involve them in recycling and conservation projects. The Sadie Ray Graff Awards are named in her honor to recognize educators who encourage or demonstrate efforts to promote the KTB mission through environmental education.

Ebby Halliday and Maurice Acers

Ebby Halliday and Maurice Acers were business owners with a passion for keeping Texas clean and beautiful. Ebby was well-known as the “First Lady of Real Estate.” Ebby Halliday Realtors is one of the largest privately owned residential real estate firms in the country.

Maurice Acers secured KTB’s partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation and named the Governor’s Community Achievement Awards.