Written by Elizabeth Early, Communications-Programs Intern
Keep Texas Beautiful has a long legacy of extraordinary and innovative women. This Women’s History Month, we want to celebrate the contributions that women have made to Keep Texas Beautiful’s mission. At Keep Texas Beautiful, we believe that the conservation and beautification movements need women at the front. In our women-led organization, we know the power that women have to make significant impacts on the development and beautification of communities across the state.
In our history, there have been many women that embody our core values. One of these women whose work inspires our team is 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 and was considered the matriarch of Grand Prairie. In 1977, Ruthe became the first Texan to receive the Lady Bird Johnson Environmental Award. Ruthe helped to establish the Keep Texas Beautiful Patch Program to give recognition to the outstanding efforts of Scouts in their communities. The Ruthe Jackson Youth Leadership Awards, part of Keep Texas Beautiful’s Beautify Texas Awards, recognize the efforts and leadership of young people and youth-oriented organizations who beautify their community and create cleaner, greener campuses, parks and neighborhoods. Ruthe believed in young people reaching their full potential, and through her work, many children and teenagers have reconnected to the environment and learned more about what it means to keep their communities beautiful.
We know that celebrating women’s achievements is absolutely essential in the conservation and beautification spaces. Women are often underrepresented in the conservation world, which can cause spaces to be designed without the full population in mind. Change needs to be made, which is why we are so proud that today the team at Keep Texas Beautiful is almost entirely made of women. Our Executive Director, Suzanne Kho manages our team using her expertise in administration, fundraising, finance, and organizational planning combined with her love for the environment. Suzanne and the other amazing women on our staff like Sara Nichols (Programs Director), Karen McDonald (Project Manager), Sara Walters (Programs Manager), Katie Adams (Operations Manager), Rachel Hering (Keep Texas Recycling Director), and Alex Hill (Director of Marketing), truly make a difference in Texas, and they do it with inclusion in mind.
The legacy of Ruthe Jackson is still felt in Keep Texas Beautiful today. Our organization replicates her dedication to her community in everything we do. As a woman-led team, we choose to champion the environment and all that it does for every Texan. This month, we encourage you to learn more about the women who have made a difference in your communities and teach their stories to others.