Blog post written by Sarah Attwood and Stephanie Nestlerode of Keep Wimberley Beautiful
Martha Knies exemplifies the unmatched volunteer spirit that characterizes the CAN-DO attitude found in Wimberley Texas. In 1992, before Wimberley's incorporation, Martha was having breakfast on the Square with her friends, when they started talking about all the weeds they were seeing. "When's someone going to do something about that? And we said that if we wanted it done, we'd have to do it ourselves," said Knies. They got down and pulled weeds without gloves or the proper clothes. There was no Wimberley Square sign and there was a cement median in the center of RR 12 that separated the turn lanes. They removed the rocks and asphalt from the median strip and planted flowers. They decided to found Keep Wimberley Beautiful (KWB). Martha served as its first president, continuing in that role for over 20 years. Over the years, places that were a little rough were transformed into something more eye-catching, and community pride grew.
Martha's pioneering spirit has made Keep Wimberley Beautiful what it is today. KWB has initiated projects all around town and their thumbprint cannot be missed. From beatification to education, and waste management and recycling, projects range from a small flowerbed to the entire downtown Square area. Passing by the welcome signs or over the Cypress Creek Bridge, you can tell what time of the year it is thanks to the volunteers and their decorations at Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Roadside cleanups include the sowing of wildflowers to beautify the entrances into Wimberley. All these touches are spearheaded by KWB.
At age 83, Martha continues to volunteer at the Visitor's Center introducing new arrivals to KWB and at the Village Store on behalf of KWB. She continues to be a mentor for new members of KWB and still finds the time to write a regular column in the local newspaper, the Wimberley View, on the topic of beautification. These are some of the reasons why Keep Texas Beautiful awarded her the 2020 KTB Leadership Award.
This recognition and the fact that The City of Wimberley created 'The Martha Knies Community Park' in honor of her over thirty years of service to Wimberley had the knock-on effect of making Martha even more of a local celebrity. Martha has become a local online social media "star." No matter where she travels around town, she is stopped to be asked "Are you THE Martha Knies?" She is always looking for places that need a little tender love and care, and she routinely asks people for suggestions. She is a dynamic lady who continues to care for the community and seek out ways to improve our environment. She is an outstanding example of the amazing volunteers working within the Keep Texas Beautiful network.
During last the last 12 months, KWB, just like other affiliates, has rethought its practices so that projects could continue safely with our volunteers' welfare in mind. KWB also had the challenge of fundraising for a statue to honor Martha and the cost for renovations and additions to the Park. Thanks to many local businesses, individuals and organizations and their love for Martha, KWB was able to raise the funds through online fundraising so the park could be completed to honor her lifelong dedication to the KWB mission to "Keep it Green, Keep it Clean, Keep it Country."
Martha Knies is an example of the amazing individuals the Beautify Texas Awards recognizes. Know someone like this in your community? Nominate them today! Nominates are due March 25 at 5pm CST.
On Thursday, March 18, Keep Wimberley Beautiful hosted a planting at Martha Knies Community Park. See pictures below.