EcoTexas is a nonprofit organization that encourages friends and neighbors to take action to reduce the threat of invasive species to our community. Making a difference is easy as there are many ways to help out. Join us in our attempts to lessen the threat invasive species pose to our precious ecosystems.
Tex-Mex For Texas
Learn about our exciting new sister campaign set to sweep across Texas -- it links community fun, love of good food, and support for a great state to raising awareness about an important cause. Launch is expected by the end of 2013, but feel free to visit its beta website today!
The EcoTexan Pledge
The most famous component of our years-long, multi-million dollar awareness effort, the EcoTexan pledge helps raise awareness about the stakes involved when talking about our native ecosystems. Even more importantly, it provides an easy way for people to get involved with the cause while bringing our voices together to speak louder than any of them can individually. Together, we will win this fight for the future of Texas.
Volunteer Workdays/Forest Restoration
Since our founding, EcoTexas has organized frequent volunteer workdays that allow Central Texans to come out to local parks/preserves to help physically remove invasive plants and replace them with native ones. Over time, this can completely undo the damage done by invasive plants and restore these habitats to the pristine tributes to Texas forest that they should be. Don't be afraid to come out, get dirty, have fun, and make a difference!
Over 85% of invasive plants were introduced for landscape purposes by consumers who were unaware of the influence that these plants would have on the local environment. In order to prevent this unintentional introduction of invasive plants to the Austin area (prior to a larger statewide effort), EcoTexas is working with community leaders, local government, and local nurseries to devise a new, united effort to raise awareness. Empowering consumers to choose against buying invasive plants while concurrently reducing their sales will prevent serious environmental, economic, and public health problems in the future.
Unfortunately, a vast majority of the Austin community is unaware of the terrible threat that invasive plants pose. To reduce this unawareness, EcoTexas is working to team up with local high school students to help expose elementary schoolers to the importance of natives in a fun and interactive science-based curriculum. This is educational for young children, great experience for our teenage volunteers, and pivotal toward reducing the threat of invasive species.
Bright Leaf Preserve
EcoTexas started their work on invasive plant removal at the Bright Leaf Preserve in 2007. This preserve, which is over 200 acres in size, is on its way to being free of invasive plants, thanks to the support of the Lucas Foundation, as well as the countless volunteers who have contributed to this project.
2009 - 2012: Zilker Restoration Project
The Zilker Restoration Project began in July 2009 to improve the state of the Zilker Preserve by removing the severe threat of invasive plant species from over 80 acres of urban forest. This was achieved by holding a few workdays a month, during which enthusiastic volunteers from the Austin community physically removed invasive plant species from the surrounding area. The project was led by EcoTexas, with the help of local groups including the City of Austin, Parks and Recreation Department, the Austin Parks Foundation, Friends of Zilker Preserve, and Keep Austin Beautiful. The Zilker Restoration Project is now complete thanks to help from the Austin Parks Foundation for financial support through grant money, Keep Austin Beautiful for providing additional tools at workdays, and the 3,000+ volunteers who contributed over 4,400 hours (a total value of over $65,000) to this project. EcoTexas is continuing to encourage volunteers from the Austin community to get involved in this effort, and hopes to completely eradicate invasives in many more parks and preserves.
2009: House Bill 2088
EcoTexas worked to advise on and testify in favor of Texas House Bill 2088 in front of the House Cultural, Recreation, and Tourism committee, which is a bill that requires all plant nurseries in Texas to post a sign in their place of business, informing people about the possible threats of non-native and invasive plants. Education is the one of the most important steps in successfully preventing the distribution of invasive plants and we continue to work with various leaders, organizations, and agencies to make sure that consumers have access to important information when making their decisions.