Affiliate of the Month: Keep Hutto Beautiful on Community Engagement and Hutto Pride
Each month, KTB highlights a new affiliate organization on the blog and through an Instagram takeover. This campaign recognizes the diverse organizations working hard to keep Texas beautiful.
Despite the extreme growth that Hutto has experienced in the last decade, the small-town spirit and heart of the community remains. Now over 25,000 in population and known for being the Hippo Capital of Texas (and the only city in the nation with a Hippo for its school mascot), residents are always ready to lend a helping hand and care about the community in which they live. That sense of community engagement, along with a commitment to creating a clean and beautiful Hutto has remained strong through the years.
Keep Hutto Beautiful (KHB) started as a City Commission in 2007. During this commission, KHB became the first voice to bring recycling to Hutto, which started as a collection site at City Hall. Today, we have single-stream, weekly curbside recycling thanks to those pioneering efforts. In 2010, KHB was awarded the Governors Community Achievement Award which made the Hutto Welcome Sign on Hwy 79 possible. Yearly city-wide cleanups and junk round ups also started once the KHB Commission was formed.
In the fall of 2016, the City Commission was dissolved and the Keep Hutto Beautiful Foundation was established as a separate nonprofit. This volunteer-led organization is run by a board of directors and focuses on Litter Prevention, Green Initiatives, and Beautification. KHB is a Silver Star Affiliate and has received an Award of Excellence from Keep Texas Beautiful.
KHB's mission is to inspire the community to be environmentally engaged by providing education, resources, green initiatives and beautification opportunities.This mission is carried out and fueled by volunteers.The community engagement and support for KHB continues to grow each year. So far in 2018 there has been well over 2,600 volunteer hours worked in Hutto – a 45% increase from volunteer hours in all of 2017. The Great Hutto Cleanup alone had an 88% increase this year in volunteers. It is because of this community support that KHB can continue to carry out its mission and focus on producing quality programs in our great city.
Great Hutto Cleanup, our annual Don't Mess With Texas Trash Off event, has become the largest one-day community volunteer event in the city. It offers a free Junk Round Up for all citizens within the Hutto ISD boundary. The event also features a litter cleanup through Hutto's public areas and holds the Golden Hippo Traveling Trophy contest between the neighborhoods.
Hutto Adopt-A-Spot encourages citizen participation in beautification projects and litter clean-ups of designated public areas at regular intervals. There are currently 14 groups or businesses that have adopted areas of Hutto since the program launched in March 2018.
America Recycles Day, a Keep America Beautiful initiative, is the only nationally recognized day and coast-to-coast community-driven awareness campaign dedicated to promoting recycling in the United States. In honor of this initiative, KHB hosts a 'security-themed' recycling event with free document shredding and electronics recycling. The event also honors those school campuses that participate in the Keep America Beautiful Recycle-Bowl.
The Peterson Community Garden is a former farm and was once the property of Curtis Peterson, a lifelong resident of the Hutto farming community. This historic piece of land in Hutto's Old Town neighborhood is an authentic, living piece of Hutto's agricultural history. The Foundation's vision for the space is to transform it into a series of demonstration gardens and teaching areas while paying homage to the garden's namesake, Curtis Peterson. In 2017, KHB was awarded a Native Garden Grant from Keep Texas Beautiful and was able to complete the first of its demonstration gardens – a Monarch Waystation. Work continues at the Peterson Community Garden with an herb garden being built by the Hutto ISD 18 + Hippo Connect students, a display area for the historic farm implements, and more demonstration areas.
Keep America Beautiful's National Planting Day is a national call to action designed to mobilize Americans to support local ecosystems by planting native species. KHB celebrates this nationwide initiative by hosting FALL GARDEN FEST, a free event at the Peterson Community Garden that includes a speaker series covering topics such as pollinator-friendly perennials, composting, tree care, and more. The event also features youth activities, plant purchasing opportunities, and giveaways.
More to Come!
In October 2018, KHB will be launching even more ways to get involved with Membership and Donor Programs! That's right, we are becoming a membership organization so that the community can have a more ongoing relationship with us! Watch for more information on this, plus a big announcement concerning the Hutto Adopt-A-Spot program in the coming months!
And in the meantime, get involved! Whether it be here in Hutto, or in your own community's Keep Texas Beautiful affiliate. There is no time like today to make a difference!
Blog Post Written by Jessica Romigh, Board of Directors Chair of Keep Hutto Beautiful