Congratulations to our 2022 winners for the Beautify Texas Awards! These outstanding individuals will be honored at the BTA Luncheon during our 55th Annual KTB Conference in June. We hope you will join us in Austin to celebrate! Read on to learn more about these amazing Texans that work hard every day to keep Texas beautiful!
Stan Weik Leadership Award
Presented to Gale Ivy
Gale Ivy was born and raised in San Saba, TX. After 33 years raising her own family in Austin, she returned to her roots. Gale and her husband Mike began their service to the community as business owners and volunteer EMS reserves. After selling her flower shop, Gale became the City Secretary and a member of Impact 2000. This program provided community events, beautification, cleanups and services to San Saba. Under the direction of Stan Weik, Keep San Saba Beautiful was born and Gale was appointed the very first Executive Director.
In just the first year, Gale helped organize the first two KSSB cleanups, encouraged beautification through planting of and distribution of free bluebonnet seeds; conducted the first yellow Daffodil fundraiser, motivating residents to plant these colorful flowers throughout town; organized the first KSSB Christmas Parade, making decorations from recyclables; and brought Oscar the Grouch to life, taking him to the schools to meet and greet students while providing litter prevention education.
Gale retired from the City of San Saba in 2014, but she still remains an active volunteer and board member for KSSB. Gale has served as Director and is currently their Vice Chair. After 12 years with KSSB, she continues to share her time and leadership to help the community of San Saba beautify Texas!
O.P. Schnabel Volunteer of the Year Award
Presented to Angel Carter
In 2019, Angel Carter, a Marine Corps veteran, became motivated to ‘do something’ about the litter accumulation along her beloved walking trail. Fish Creek and Fish Creek Linear Trail run under Highway 360, a major highway in north central Texas that serves as the unofficial city limits between Arlington and Grand Prairie. The 8 mile trail overlooks Fish Creek along the entire route and brings neighbors together by connecting multiple neighborhoods, parks, recreational facilities, and schools.
Angel created the Fish Creek Cleanup Challenge and through her leadership in local branches of national organizations; such as The Mission Continues and Wounded Warrior Project, Angel helped recruit volunteers from as far away as Florida and Maryland. The event celebrated its 3rd anniversary in 2021 with residents from both Grand Prairie and Arlington coming together to remove litter from this shared creek. Under Angel’s leadership and coordination, 290 volunteers removed 10,600 pounds of litter from Fish Creek in 2021. A Texas sized “THANK YOU” to Angel for helping to keep Texas waterways clean!
Ruthe Jackson Youth Individual Award
Presented to Caleb Harper
Caleb Harper is a KTB Young Texan Ambassador and a founding member of the Keep Ennis Beautiful Youth Advisory Committee. Caleb does not even live in Ennis, but resides nearly 10 miles away in Palmer, TX. After becoming a YTA Member, he hoped to work with a Keep Texas Beautiful Affiliate, but Palmer did not have one so he reached out to Keep Ennis Beautiful. Caleb has also set up cleanups in a small community, even farther south than Ennis, called Alma.
Although he is an incredibly busy high school student, about to graduate, he still finds time to show up at all KEB work days and plans his own events in Palmer. KEB Affiliate Coordinator Ginger Gonzalez says, “EVERYTHING that Caleb does is above and beyond expectations. I have learned that I have to be careful when talking about ideas because no sooner do I finish voicing an idea than he is on the phone calling city officials and organization leaders. His enthusiasm is infectious and his leadership skills are certainly appreciated. He is a blessing to our community!”
When not keeping Ennis, Palmer, and Alma beautiful, Caleb serves as the Chapter President of Palmer FFA, is an Ellis County Live Stock Ambassador, a member of the Ennis Chamber of Commerce Ambassador program, and just finished a stint as an Ellis County Sheriff Explorer.
KTB staff recently worked with Caleb during the YTA Environmental Summit where he presented on behalf of the KEB Youth Advisory Committee. Caleb is truly an impressive young man and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for him!
Sadie Ray Graff Educator Award
Presented to Erin Hoffer
Erin Hoffer is a member of Keep Plano Beautiful’s Live Green in Plano volunteer core. She participates in almost every monthly workday at the city’s demonstration gardens, turning compost piles, laying brick walkways and borders, and planting and caring for the water-conserving plants. At the annual Kids Fall Festivals in the demonstration gardens, she staffs education booths on composting and vermicomposting, serves as a nature storyteller, and utilizes her State of Texas Master Gardener training to answer questions about gardening, composting, soil, and the garden’s landscape plants.
Erin is also a State of Texas Master Composter trained by SEED. Her background and experience in education led SEED to invite her as a guest community educator with multiple engagements each year, reaching about 150 – 200 Plano residents annually. For the last 15 years, she has been a primary community educator for gardening, championing the adoption of the Texas SmartScape™ and Earth-Kind® principles in Plano yards.
For the past 20 years, Erin’s vocational efforts as a SEED educator and her volunteerism with State of Texas Master Composters and Collin County Master Gardeners have consistently demonstrated her dedication to not only Keep Plano Beautiful but Keep Texas Beautiful as well. In support of her hope for a cleaner and greener city and state, she freely offers her knowledge, expertise, and experience to others. Her great joy as a teacher is to see people leave educational events in an upbeat frame of mind, inspired and empowered to make simple changes in their gardens and their lifestyles. Thanks Erin for making Plano and Texas a cleaner, greener place to live, work and play!
Learn about more award winners in our Beautify Texas Awards: 2022 Organization Winners blog. You can learn more about the BTA awards in general at www.ktb.org/ktbawards.
Blog written by Karen Maldonado, KTB Project Manager