The past year and a half challenged all of us— from implementing virtual processes to rethinking approaches altogether, many groups made exponential progress in the face of the pandemic. While 2020 may have felt like a setback, Texans continued to move forward in good works! Six organizations stood out in their environmental leadership and service this year. Meet our 2021 Beautify Texas Award winners from the Organization categories!
Texas Disposal Systems (Creedmoor, TX)
Texas Disposal Systems goes far beyond the everyday standard of a waste disposal company. Founded in 1977, this business continues to lead communities and individuals in environmentally responsible recycling and waste diversion solutions. Their long-term goal is to keep items out of the landfill to preserve the landscape for generations to come. Not only are they investing in the physical future of Texas, but the humanitarian future as well. In the fight against COVID-19, they provided portable hand sanitizers and hand-washing stations to communities in need and partnered with the Central Texas Food Bank to assist those most affected. With many other outreach programs such as The Eco Academy and their Exotic Wildlife Ranch, Texas Disposal Systems is a business highly invested in numerous environmental efforts. Their mission is to be the epitome of a “good neighbor” by keeping communities clean and beautiful.
Outstanding Program Award
Life Message Thrift Store & Food Pantry (Rowlett, TX)
Serving more than 40,000 families annually, Life Message Thrift Store and Food Pantry impacts countless lives every year. With a thrift store, food pantry, event center, and Veterans Resources and Outreach Center, this organization is reaching far and wide into their community. In 2020 alone, Life Message saved 5.8 million pounds of waste from reaching a landfill, much of which came from a drive-thru recycling program. They provided a safe and convenient way for others to dispose of electronics, clothing, furniture, batteries, and more. In addition, they helped to distribute PPE, hand sanitizer, and food supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of a very successful recycling program, Life Message partners with Keep Rowlett Beautiful to improve the overall health of their community.
Outstanding Project Award
City of Irving Urban Forestry Team (Irving, TX)
The City of Irving Urban Forestry Team named 2020 “The Year of the Tree” and rightfully so. In the last year alone, the Tree Team planted 89 trees, served 153.5 combined volunteer hours and raised $17,500 in grants and donations to support their efforts. The team is responsible for not only planting trees, but educating and empowering their community to do the same. They partner with Keep Irving Beautiful to host Arbor Day celebrations, planting events, and develop a diversity of partnerships. They highlight the countless benefits of trees to a community: beautification, wildlife habitat, food sources, oxygen production, and more. The City of Irving Urban Forestry Team believes their efforts will benefit Irving, and Texas at large, for generations to come.
Public Education and Outreach Award
Galveston Bay Foundation (Kemah, TX)
The Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF), also known as the “guardian” of the Galveston Bay, is a conservation non-profit that focuses on empowering Texans to volunteer out in their environment. GBF works with thousands of volunteers every year to protect habitats and conserve freshwater resources. In 2020, they restored 950 acres of vital coastal habitat, involving more than 9,000 Texans. Rainbarrel Workshops equip individuals to take personal responsibility for their water usage, and the Oyster Shell Recycling Program teaches how to farm oysters and improve Galveston Bay water quality. Immersive programs like “Bike Around the Bay” take people into the environment to see pollution and litter first hand. By providing an up-close experience, GBF is educating and inspiring people to get involved in whatever way they can.
Ruthe Jackson Youth Organization Award
Keep Sugar Land Beautiful Youth Advisory Board (Sugar Land, TX)
The Keep Sugar Land Beautiful (KSLB) Youth Advisory Board seeks to reach, mentor, and engage youth in their community and beyond. They give guidance to the next generation of Texans by inspiring a “green passion” and providing resources to create positive change. When COVID-19 came, the board quickly and efficiently began to shift its efforts to virtual participation. Last year, they created various education slideshows and videos, along with five Eco video games for their young participants. They kept the community involved in recycling, reuse, litter prevention and nature experiences throughout the pandemic. The board continued to meet with schools and develop programs for students to engage during the pandemic. They were very active on social media and deservingly received peak attraction and engagement.
Sadie Ray Graff Educational Institution
Biodiversity Education Center (Coppell, TX)
The Biodiversity Education Center (BEC) in Coppell, TX is the result of group advocacy and passionate investment in the community’s environmental programs. The BEC preserves and develops local nature by hosting field trips, scout programs, and free environmental education to the public. Keep Coppell Beautiful (KCB) and the BEC focus on topics such as water conservation, recycling, and planting efforts to involve the local community. The BEC leads by example through meeting green building standards and paving the way for sustainable efforts in the city. Their rain catching systems, solar panels, and gardens showcase how environmental efforts can have a ripple effect. They took advantage of the pandemic and held Trail Days and socially distanced small groups, engaging hundreds of volunteers in 2020. They hope to continue to reach businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals in the future.
We’ll be highlighting our Beautify Texas Award winners during the Keep Texas Beautiful Annual Conference from June 28-July1. Learn more about our conference here.