Each year, the Governor’s Community Achievement Awards (GCAA) celebrate ten Texas communities for their outstanding efforts to keep their communities beautiful. From the Texas coast to the Panhandle, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has awarded cities with this honor since 1986. Winners are selected for their ability to engage citizens, local businesses, schools, and other organizations in environmental improvement initiatives. Categorized by population, these ten cities share an award of $2 million in landscaping projects. Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) and TxDOT have worked together to administer the GCAA for more than 30 years.
As we gear up for GCAA 2019, we’ll be featuring all ten of our 2018 GCAA recipients over the next few months on our blog. To help you prepare for the 2019 application, we’re offering a number of new resources, including our affiliate Forum and upcoming webinar on January 17. Register for our webinar, engage in our forum and stay tuned to learn about our other winning communities on our blog!
Category 6: Lake Jackson
Landscape Award: $210,000
Lake Jackson is referred to as the “City of Enchantment” for its tree-lined, winding streets. In 1941, the city was created as a home for employees of Dow Chemical Company. Today, it is home to 28,143 residents and is a natural oasis of beautiful oak trees. Lake Jackson’s population consists of many of the original “pioneers” who first lived there, as well as new and diverse residents. Although the city is growing and changing rapidly, the small hometown atmosphere remains.
Terri Cardwell, Volunteer Coordinator of the City of Lake Jackson, says that community involvement is a “way of life” for residents. Keep Lake Jackson Beautiful (KLJB) was established 37 years ago and remains an active part of Lake Jackson. With support from the City of Lake Jackson, KLJB strives to educate the community and engage people of all ages to get involved in their beautification efforts.
As the city approaches its 75th anniversary, Cardwell acknowledges the residential volunteers as the city’s greatest asset. Last year, 1,731 volunteers worked 8,124 volunteer hours resulting in $204,318 hour’s worth of benefits for Lake Jackson. KLJB collected 40,925 pounds of e-waste, 500 pounds of recyclables, 94 cell phones and 79 pairs of eyeglasses and shredded 37,000 pounds of paper. KLJB also held two waterway cleanup events.
Education is another important tenant to KLJB’s success. Charlie Chipper, KLJB’s mascot, has reached 6,464 students through different avenues of environmental awareness, including the “Recycle Posse” program.
KLJB’s mission extends to all parts of the city. They coordinate and host beautification and litter prevention events year-round, like Arbor Day, where they distributed 100 trees at the Easter Egg Hunt. They also created a Business Affiliate Partnership program, to share their mission and vision with local businesses and educate them about ways to become eco-friendly. Lake Jackson also played an important role in Hurricane Harvey revitalization by preserving, replanting and replacing downed and damaged trees and picking up debris.
Lake Jackson is proud to have won the Governor’s Community Achievement Award and thanks their volunteers for this recognition. In the words of Terri Cardwell, “this award is won by ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”