San Marcos

Category 7: Population 40,001-65,000
Landscape Award: $250,000

Located between Austin and San Antonio, San Marcos is home to Texas State University and the San Marcos River, its most precious natural resource. The city has all the charm of small town life with the diversity that larger cities offer. The area of San Marcos is considered to be one of the oldest continually inhabited sites in the Northern Hemisphere. In order to preserve the beautiful nature of the city, Keep San Marcos Beautiful (KSMB) has gone to great lengths to educate and inform its citizens, and develop partnerships to accomplish its environmental goals.

In the spring, KSMB hosts the Spring Concert Series and the Art and Eco Fest that invites local vendors to the park during performances of local bands. This event is an outlet for San Marcos’ environmental groups, including the Central Texas Zero Waste Alliance and Dream San Marcos, to share their crafts and knowledge of litter prevention, waste reduction, and beautification. In 2011, the Spring Concert series hosted 1,500 people over five nights, with the Art and Eco Fest attracting 1,000 people.

To educate youth in the community, KSMB participates in the Elementary Field Trip Days to the Nature Center, and presents lessons that emphasize the Keep Texas Beautiful focus areas. In 2011, the Nature Center hosted eight field trips with 1,200 children in the spring and fall. The KSMB Activity Guide, which is a coloring book that includes Central Texas natural plants and flowers and lessons about waste handling procedures, is also distributed to students, teachers, and administrators in the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District. In addition, Edible San Marcos has planted community gardens at three local elementary schools, reaching 2,500 students, providing them with the opportunity to learn the importance of gardening and fresh produce, along with sustainability.

Keep San Marcos Beautiful strives to improve the appearance of the community, instill pride, and provide a positive impact on economic development through the many city and county adoption programs. Twenty seven Adopt-a-Spot groups have adopted 722 acres of public park land to clean and beautify, and volunteers have helped to build trails and conducted small beautification projects through the parks. The City maintains the three Adopt-a-Highway segments and Hays County hosts the Adopt-a-County Roadway. The City offers an Adopt-a-Street program, with KSMB providing the cleanup supplies to the three groups who have adopted half mile sections of the city streets.

KSMB also participated in the Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-off and conducted a city wide beautification day in partnership with Texas State University (TSU). TSU holds one of the longest standing cleanup events in San Marcos, conducted by Texas State’s Bobcat Build volunteers as well as San Marcos citizens. This is a collaborative effort with TSU to beautify the city of San Marcos, promote goodwill between the students and citizens, and to promote the Don’t Mess with Texas campaign.

The many cleanup events held in San Marcos during 2011 resulted in impressive collection numbers. The Environmental Health Department hosted six Neighborhood Cleanups, resulting in 12.065 tons of recyclable materials collected, 110.40 tons of waste, with 82.5 cubic yards of brush chipped for use in the city parks. The 27 Adopt-a-Spot partners, along with two San Marcos River Cleanups jointly collected almost 5,000 pounds of recyclable materials and 8,720 pounds of solid waste. The City’s underwater cleanups collected over 2,500 gallons of solid waste and recyclable materials, and almost 48,000 pounds of Household Hazardous Waste was collected.

The Keep San Marcos Beautiful campaign has created new and innovative ways to reach the public to convey the importance of litter prevention, waste reduction, and beautification. The San Marcos community’s environmental efforts have increased the quality of life for citizens as well as increased awareness of a more sustainable future!