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Texas Mountain Laurel Bloom - Photo credit: Bob Shrader

In This Issue

Table of Contents

Nature and the Hopeful City
Wildlife Photo Winners!
Hybombacosm Experiment

It's Your Austin,


A Note from Nature in the City:
If you like The Treebune, help us spread the word. Forward this  email to your favorite people! They can sign up by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter!

by Kathleen Zarsky, Biomimicry Specialist, LEED®AP, BD+C Systems Director, HOLOS

Wilderness is the raw material out of which man has hammered the artifact known as civilization…the shallowminded modern who has lost his rootage to the land assumes that he has already discovered what is important. ~Professor Aldo Leopold, 1948

Nature in spring in Austin is the perfect time to contemplate our natural environment. All of our senses are stimulated with everything from bursts of colors, fragrant blossoms, bird song, variable weather and temperature, and longer days to soak it all in. The rhythms of life seem amplified in spring, as nature’s adornments revive our souls. For a brief while, we feel childlike abandon in our awe of nature’s beauty and processes.

Read the Full White Paper

Congratulations to our Wildlife Austin National Wildlife Week Photo Contest winners!

1st Place goes to Steven Schwartzman who captured this photo of a funnel web spider at Great Hills Park.

2nd Place goes to Sunshine Mathon for her photo of monarch caterpillars feeding on milkweed.

We have such talented Habitat Stewards and wildlife advocates! Thanks to all who submitted excellent photos!

Learn more about Wildlife Austin

Have you wondered why over a 13 year period Lake Austin would get choked with mats of the invasive exotic plant, hydrilla, yet Lady Bird Lake, just downstream, never experienced a hydrilla take-over? Instead, what we've witnessed in Lady Bird Lake over the past five years is the growth of the native plant cabomba, notably between MoPac and the 1st St. Bridge.

Watershed Protection scientists wondered:

  • Why doesn’t hydrilla grow in Lady Bird Lake?
  • If Lady Bird Lake isn’t a good place for aquatic plants to grow then how can cabomba grow there?
  • Can we improve Lake Austin habitat by growing cabomba in it?

In an effort to answer these questions, scientists created a “microcosm” (mini lake ecosystem) study by putting sediments and water from Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake into buckets, planting either hydrilla or cabomba in these “mini-ecosystems”, and measuring plant growth for three months.

Read the Full Article to learn what the Watershed scientists found.


Clean Sweep | Keep Austin Beautiful 

Sign up to help clean, beautify, and restore at one of the 130+ sites across Austin! You can register as an individual or a group – businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, and neighborhood associations welcome. Join KAB and your fellow volunteers after your cleanup for a not-to-be-missed volunteer party featuring free t-shirts, lunch, live music, environmental activities, a unique object contest, door prizes, and at 1PM a Fusebox Festival The Biodiversity of Texas show by Animal Facts Club - our way of saying thank you for beautifying our city!

Saturday, April 9th
Service Projects | 9:00 am - 11:00 pm | Locations Around Austin
Volunteer Party | 11:00 am - 1:30 pm | Register for Location Info! 


CodeNext Community Walk 

The first report in a four-part CodeNEXT Code Prescription series, "The Next Austin: Manage our growth, keep our character", details strategies to preserve, protect and enhance the City’s natural and built environment. Specific topics include tree protection, open space, responsible use of water resources, water quality and stormwater management, flood mitigation, compatibility and transitions between different types of land uses, design for mobility, redevelopment, greenfield development, and parks and open space. Discuss it online at SpeakUp Austin!, and join the CodeNext Community Walk where the CodeNext team will explain what would be possible with a new code through on the ground examples. 

CodeNEXT Community Walk 
April 9, 2016 | 9:00 am | Once Over Coffee, 2009 S. First St., Austin Tx 78704


Festival Beach Food Forest Spring Feast  | Eat, Drink, and Be Inspired 

Join Festival Beach Food Forest in celebrating their second annual Spring Feast! This family-friendly event offers fun for all. Throughout the evening there will be great bands, plant-inspired activities, dancing, great food and drink, food forest Q&A, and bonfires.

Saturday, April 9th | 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Yard Farm 7204 Shelton Road, Austin Tx 78725

More Information and Tickets
*Ticket prices vary.

Shoal Creek Forums | Erosion and the Workings of a Creek

When is erosion bad, and when is it just part of the natural workings of a creek? Learn more about how creeks functions and strategies to address erosion problems. The Shoal Creek Forum is a new series of 1-hour lunchtime meetings hosted by the Shoal Creek Conservancy to discuss critical creek issues with subject experts and the community. Future Forum topics include water quality, erosion, spring flow and other creek-related issues. Learn more about forum events at

Saturday, April 12th | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Northwest Recreation Center, Classroom 1 | 2913 Northland Drive, Austin, TX, 78757

Calendar EventRegister

Soil Test Kitchen

Food Gardeners—What’s in your soil? Find out with free testing! The Soil Kitchen is a four-day opportunity for backyard food gardeners to receive free soil testing. Soil brought to the kitchen will be screened for heavy metals and tested for soil nutrients. Soil from your backyard, schools and community gardens are all eligible and the results will help growers safely and effectively start or continue gardening.

Accepting samples April 14-17 | 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
Parque Zaragoza 2608 Gonzales St, Austin, TX 78702

Soil Collection Instructions and More Information

The Nature Collectors | New Lands, New Nature,
& Ecological Imperialism

The Discovery of Nature | Over the next six lectures, Kevin will explore how Alexander Von Humboldt transformed the practice of natural history and collecting nature into the science of nature. He examine how he balanced imagination with scientific exactitude, thereby inspiring both poets and scientists to study nature in the 19th century. In particular, his influence on Darwin was profound both in setting Darwin’s life course and in fostering his idea of evolution. As the 19th century ended, new sciences of nature emerged, and Von Humboldt’s ideas continued to influence 20th century science and culture. 

Lunchtime Lecture with Kevin Anderson
Wednesday April 20th | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
One Texas Center | 505 Barton Springs Road - Room 325 Austin, TX 78704

Event Information

Kent Butler Summit

Kent Butler has been described as a visionary and “the best friend the Barton Springs Aquifer ever had”. Kent died in a tragic accident while hiking in Yosemite National Park on Friday, May 13, 2011. This summit is dedicated to his memory. The 2016 Summit will focus on the Hill Country Design Studio.   #KentButlerSummit

Friday, April 22nd | 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Wimberley Community Center | 14068 Ranch Road 12

Calendar Event | Register Now

Shoal Creek Forums | Spring Flow & Salamanders 

The Shoal Creek Forum is a new series of 1-hour lunchtime meetings hosted by the Shoal Creek Conservancy to discuss critical creek issues with subject experts and the community. Future Forum topics include water quality, erosion, spring flow and other creek-related issues. Learn more about forum events at The springs and seeps along Shoal Creek provide clean water and habitat for wildlife, including endangered salamanders. Learn more about the creek's springs, and what further research could uncover.

Tuesday April 26th | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Northwest Recreation Center, Classroom 1 2913 Northland Drive, Austin, TX, 78757

Calendar Event | Register Now

Tree ID & Mapping Walks 

Join TreeFolks for one of their free tree ID or mapping walks to take your tree knowledge to the next level, connect with other tree fans, and explore Austin’s green spaces! Their new tree mapping walks combine tree identification with grassroots tree surveying to map and promote Austin’s trees on the TreeFolks Austin Tree Map, their new, free, collaborative, community tree mapping project.

Friday April 22nd | 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM 
Wildflower Center 4801 La Crosse Ave, 78739

Saturday May 7th | 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM 
Hornsby Bend, River Trail | Platt Ln., Austin, TX 78725

TreeFolks Austin Tree Map was launched in 2015 with grants funded by The City of Austin’s Urban Forest Grant and The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA).

Calendar and Registration

Urban Forest Grant

The City of Austin's Urban Forest Grant Program, established to promote tree conservation and other projects that benefit Austin's urban forest, has funding available to help preserve and grow Austin's canopy of trees. Projects eligible for funding include tree planting and preservation, education, public service announcements, disease control, and management of invasive species.

Free Mulch

Gather your shovels and gloves and get ready to load up on free wood mulch, courtesy of Austin Resource Recovery. Available to community members and residents*, this wood mulch is made from the yard trimmings collect curbside and is ready for use.

Landscape Survival Tools Rebate

Now is the time to prepare for Austin’s long hot summer.  By using a combination of mulch, compost and core aeration, your lawn will be ready for the long periods without rain we get in Central Texas. These techniques will ensure that water stays on your yard, reducing the need for supplemental irrigation.

WaterWise Rainscape Rebate

Homeowners and schools may receive up to $500 ($0.30/sq. foot -- 100 sq. foot min.) for installing landscape features such as berms, terraces, swales, rain gardens, porous pavement, and infiltration trenches that direct and retain rainwater on the property. 

Rainwater Harvesting Rebate

Rebates of $0.50 per gallon (non-pressurized) and $1.00 per gallon (pressurized) are available to customers of Austin Water or a qualifying water provider for installing rainwater harvesting systems. The maximum lifetime rebate amount is $5,000, not to exceed 50 percent of the project cost.

Austinites can earn a $75 rebate on a home composting system through the City of Austin Home Composting Rebate Program. To qualify, attend a free composting class in the community or watch a class online. Then apply!

Free Trees

Urban trees decrease energy bills for residents, reduce maintenance costs for streets and storm water infrastructure, increase property values by making neighborhoods more beautiful, walkable, and desirable places to live, and combat the urban heat island effect. NeighborWoods has distributed over 43,000 trees since 2002 and conserved an estimated 5 million kilowatts-hour of energy! 

**Trees are delivered October through March.

The City of Austin's Community Trees Division is a proud supporter
of Imagine Austin's Green Infrastructure Priority Program #4

(512) 974-2070
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