Our ever-expanding resource library includes the tools and information you need to improve your community environment.
Below you'll find a list of resources to help you begin or advance a community garden in your community.
- Starting a Community Garden
- Texas Community Gardens
- Using Urban Farming and Community Gardens to Improve Food Access
- Texas Vegetable Garden Planting Schedule
- Vegetable and Fruit Growing Tips
- Compost - The Community Garden's Best Friend
- Community Garden Design for Individuals with Mobility Challenges
Starting a Community Garden
There is something so rewarding about tending a garden, especially when you gather with friends and neighbors. Being in the fresh air, partaking of joyful exercise and becoming exuberant over the first tomato makes weeding and insect control bearable.
"tho' an old man, I am but a young gardener" - Thomas Jefferson
Gardening as part of a community goes back centuries and have long been accepted as vital to communal survival. When people are empowered to grow food for themselves, everyone benefits.
According to Smithsonian Gardens, Detroit was the first major city to deploy vacant lots as garden spots. Mayor Hazen Pingree started the program in response to the economic recession that began in 1893, which left many of the city's industrial laborers unemployed and hungry.
Today's community gardens are important places. They can help us revitalize neighborhoods affected by urban decline, create vibrant social networks and reduce barriers to healthy food. systems.
So grab your shovel and sunscreen and let's get started!
Define your image for who your community is and begin outreach
Hold Your First Public Meeting
- At-risk youth
- Retirement centers
- Ladies gardening or bridge clubs
- Welcome everyone and review the purpose of the garden.
- Have everyone introduce themselves and give their reason for wanting to participate in a community garden.
- Provide a vision for the garden. If possible, show slides of several different community gardens to spark creativity.
- Seek nominations for an official garden club. This formally organized group will help make decisions and divide-up the work effectively. It also ensures that a community and not an individual contributed to the garden theme, design, development and maintenance.
- Schedule a meeting for the garden club to define
- garden rules
- accepting and reviewing garden applications
- collecting dues
- paying bills
- resolving conflict
- Schedule a meeting for the garden club to define
Resources and Examples to Get Started With:
- American Community Gardening Association - Creating Rules for Your Community Garden and Suggestions for a Sliding Scale Plot Fee
- Coalition of Austin Community Gardens - Sample Garden Plot Registration and Sample Garden Plot Lease Agreement
- Denver Urban Gardens - Best Practices Handbook
- Sustainable Food Center - Notes from Community Garden Group Discussion and Garden Support and Training
Find Land for the Garden
There are many different thoughts on how to pick the perfect site for your community garden. According to the University of California Cooperative Extension, the most important thing to consider is will the site work well for the community of gardeners that will manage it. Here are some other things to consider:
- Visibility. Having your garden near gathering areas encourages being in the garden versus having it tucked in an out of way place where people don't otherwise go.
- Access. Is there parking available, bus routes, accessibility for the disabled, friendly for children and delivery vehicles?
- Sun/Wind/and Drainage. The vast majority of vegetables and fruits need at least 6 to 8 hours of full sunlight each day. As you visit sites, be aware of large buildings that will cast shadows as well as large trees. Significant wind will cause problems for most vegetables and young fruit trees and will lead to soil moisture issues. Finally, are there flooding problems or is the soil difficult to drain? Also, be mindful of slopes that will need to be terraced.
- Soil Quality. Good gardens start with great soil! Follow these instructions to take samples and submit the samples to your local extension office before committing to a garden site.
- Does the Site Have Water? If you don't see a water outlet you will need to contact the local water district to find out if your potential site has water. If you don't have water at the site you will need to have a water meter run to the site which will bring a significant cost.
Once you've decided on the location, write a letter to the landowner asking for permission to use the property for a community garden. If you don't know who owns the land take the location address to your county's tax assessor's office and review the map books. You will need to establish a term for use of the site and assure the landowner that water and improvements will be paid by the gardeners. A lease is also a very good idea to protect yourself from losing your garden after improvements have been made.
Resources and Examples to Get Started With:
- Generic Land Use Agreement
- Sample Lease Agreement for the state of Texas
- Sample Permission for Land Use
You might also need to obtain liability insurance if required by the landowner.
There are many different options for funding considerations. Luckily for us, lots of research has already gone into this topic so let's look at the available opportunities here in Texas to secure funding for community gardens.
- First, do you need funding or will your garden be sustained by the garden members?
- If your garden will be self-sustained, it's a good idea to create a simple budget to have an idea of the amount of money or materials needed for your project.
- Will the gardener's provide their own supplies or pool their money to purchase items as a group?
- In other cases, gardeners may seek donations of money or materials from community members, local organizations or businesses.
- Partnering organizations can sometimes cover the cost of water, insurance and other supplies.
- Grant opportunities also exist. For excellent coverage of the topic of fundraising, see the National Council of Nonprofit's "Fundraising" page.
- How to Write a Grant Proposal and Grant Writing Tips for Community Gardens and other grant opportunities from the Sustainable Food Center
- Green Dallas Community Garden Grants
- Seed Money, formerly Kitchen Gardens International provided financial and technical support for food bank gardens
- USDA accepting grants for community garden high tunnels
Time to Plan the Garden!As stated above, it's important for the design to reflect the collective ideas, needs and wishes of the garden participants. Input should be gained in a series of meetings, ideally in the fall before construction begins, in which garden participants and property owner discuss the desired site uses along with its character.According to Denver Urban Gardens, some other considerations include the following:
Identifying the variety of uses and garden amenities desired, including the potential to accommodate alternative uses in the garden such as hosting community events (i.e. memorials, weddings and dedications).
Identifying key access points and predicted circulation through and around the garden, informing the layout of a garden pathway system.
Integrating the neighborhood’s unique history and character into the theme of the garden.
Infusing art in the garden in the form of murals, sculpture, special paving, birdhouses, etc..
Identifying the type and location for the garden’s perimeter fence, entry and service gates.
Agreeing collectively to a set of material choices for elements such as garden plot edging, pathway surfaces and vertical growing structures.
Sizing garden plots to meet the community’s needs, while making them dividable to increase the garden’s capacity to engage more participants.
Sizing pathways to promote efficient circulation, while choosing ADA accessible surface materials.
- Locating garden spigots strategically to serve four to six plots each, to help gardeners avoid dragging hoses across other garden plots.
- Considering the need for drip irrigation zones for common beds (i.e. fruit trees, perennial beds, etc.).
- Locating the best place for the garden sign and message board (typically at the garden’s main entrance).
- Finding a convenient location for the garden’s storage shed or toolbox (consider a structure that is weatherproof, secure and size appropriate for garden tools.
- Considering the need for raised beds for gardeners with limited mobility and for sites with extremely poor soil.
- Locating the community compost bin area in an accessible and functional location.
- Considering the type, size and location for community gathering spaces (i.e. areas for picnic tables, benches, a youth farmers’ market, a children’s discovery garden, an art display space, etc.).
- Identifying a location for shade elements in the garden (i.e. pergola, shade trees, etc.).
- Selecting a location for community planting beds if desired (i.e. perennials, herbs, border hedge, cut flowers, etc.).
- Finding a location for a grove or line of dwarf fruit trees (typically on the north side of the garden and spaced 12 to 15 feet apart).
- Determining the need for security lighting (either provided by the landowner or by utilizing individual solar-powered lights).
- Considering complementary projects, as capacity and time permits, that would add value to the garden (i.e. beehives, chicken coops, etc.).
Resources and Examples of Garden Designs to Get Started With:
Additional Resources and Startup Guides:
Texas Community Gardens
Take a Virtual Tour of the Community Gardens Around Texas
According to the American Community Gardening Association, there are approximately 234 community gardens across Texas. Use this map tool to take a virtual tour.
Using Urban Farming and Community Gardens to Improve Food Access
What is Food Insecurity?
According to Feeding Texas, food insecurity describes a households inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is one way we can measure and assess the risk of hunger.
In Texas, 14% - 1 in 7 Texans - experience food insecurity. That's 1.4 million Texas households and over 4 million individuals. Texas is one of just 15 states with higher food insecurity than the national average.
Texas Food Deserts
The USDA defines food deserts as areas lacking "fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods due to lack of grocery stores, farmers' markets, and healthy food providers." Instead of grocery stores, many food deserts around Texas have multiple fast-food chains and convenience stores, neither of which offer fresh produce.
How Does Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens Impact Food Insecurity and Food Deserts?
According to Civil Eats, in order for cities to become food secure, local agriculture should produce at least one pound per person per day of fresh vegetables. This means that farms and community food gardens would require 30 percent of the total urban area to meet this demand. Urban sprawl could make it hard to free up this much land for food production.
Urban farms and community gardens can take advantage of underused and vacant lots in areas that are in need of revitalization and are ideal to convert to food production. Urban farms can provide income, training, and jobs for those who want to grow and sell produce.
Many organizations see urban agriculture and community gardens as a way to enhance food security. It also offers environmental, health and social benefits. Although the full potential of both is still to be determined, many feel that raising fresh fruits, vegetables and some animal products near consumers in urban areas can improve local food security and nutrition, especially for underserved communities.
Texas Vegetable Garden Planting Schedule
Texas A&M Planting Schedule for Vegetables in Texas
Vegetable and Fruit Growing Tips
Growing Tips from Texas A&M University
- Cole Crops (Cabbage, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Kale)
- Collard Greens
- Green Beans
- Irish Potatoes
- Spinach and Other Greens
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Potatoes
- Turnip Greens and Mustard Greens
- Everything Texans Ask About Gardening
Disease Management - Diseases can occur at any stage during the course of plant growth. The rapid, accurate diagnosis of the cause of a disease, along with the implementation of rapid treatment, is essential to ensure the protection of the crop. Certain infectious diseases caused by living, microscopic organisms have the potential to rapidly ruin a crop. However, for any particular vegetable, these diseases are not that numerous and, so, it would not be difficult for a grower to become familiar with them and take proper preventative action. Diseases caused by nonliving things (i.e. not infectious) can be much more difficult to diagnose. Usually, it is easier to rule out an infectious agent as the cause of disease before investigating possible nonliving (abiotic) causes.
Some things to look for while you are evaluating
- Is the whole plant struggling in addition to other plants surrounding it - problem with the soil or insects
- Yellowing - wet soil, low fertility, root problems, nematodes
- Spots on leaves - if round it might be fungal, if angular, bacterial
Harvesting and Handling Vegetables From the Garden - The most important goal of post-harvest handling is keeping the product cool to avoid moisture loss and slow down undesirable changes. Bruising and other physical damage can happen fast if field heat is not reduced or removed. Equally important is to harvest during the coolest part of the day.
All greens, including lettuce, should be harvested as early in the morning as possible before the heat of the day creates water loss in the leaf.
To minimize the spread of disease, harvesting should always be done with clean cutting equipment and clean containers. Cover the containers with shade cloth or place in a shaded vehicle to avoid sun injury.
Once the harvest has taken place, quickly move the product to a packing shed or crop wash area to cool and reduce field heat is important. Clean the product if needed and pack into the container in which the product will be marketed. The key is to minimize the number of times the product is handled to avoid injury. The less brushing, washing and physical handling needed the better.
Once the product is packaged, it's important to get it chilled as soon as possible. Temperature is the most important factor in determining the deterioration rate. Decreasing the temperature reduces the product's respiration, water loss and the growth of decay.
Additional Research Material to Get You Started:
- Johnny's Select Seeds - Post-Harvest Handling & Storage of Summer Produce
- South Carolina Department of Agriculture - How to Build a Walk-in Cooler for Your Small Farm
- Texas A&M - Post-Harvest Handling of Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables and Texas Vegetable Growers Handbook
Compost - The Community Garden's Best Friend
No matter how beautiful, no garden is perfect and all gardeners have to combat at least one flaw and it is usually the soil. Texas gardeners must work with many different soils. Some are very sandy, some are sticky clay, and others are rocky and shallow. Sandy soils do not hold enough water and clay soils hold too much water and don't allow air to enter the soil. Rocky soils have fewer nutrients and struggle with water retention. So what is the answer? Compost!
No single ingredient or fertilizer can make a positive difference in your garden soil the way compost can. Nature was designed to make its compost both in forests and grasslands. In a forest, the tree leaves and branches fall to the soil surface and slowly decompose back into the soil. This is a smorgasbord for microbes that work in concert with each other, breaking this dead plant matter down and building the soil in the process.
Hot Pile - Hot composting is a fast way of creating large quantities of high-quality compost. To do it successfully, close attention must be paid to maintaining a 25:1 carbon to nitrogen (brown stuff to green stuff) ratio, moisture content and aeration. A closely managed hot pile can create finished compost in as little as a month under ideal conditions.1. Spread a four to six-inch layer of brown material like straw, leaves or dried stems over an area of at least three feet long and three feet wide.
2. Add a two-inch layer of green material such as grass clippings, green leaves or vegetable scraps.
3. Spread a few shovels full of soil over the top and wet the pile thoroughly.
4. Continue adding layers in this manner until the pile is at least three feet high.
5. Turn the pile every couple of weeks, working the outer stuff toward the center of the pile and the inner stuff outward, and adding water if the pile seems to be drying out.
6. Cover the pile with a canvas to keep it wet and warm.
7. A hot compost pile may reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit, at which temperature most weed seeds and plant diseases die, making this a convenient way to dispose of all but the most worrisome of garden debris.
Compost Tumbler - Tumblers are usually made from dark plastics that enclose your compost pile and speed up the heating. It can also make turning the compost much easier. It is also considered to be cleaner and more convenient but reduces the amount of compost that can be made. For the tumbler to work optimally, there are a few things to know.
- The carbon to nitrogen (brown to green) ratio is very important for quick breakdown. Keep it as close as possible to 25:1.
- A new compost tumbler is sterile and there will be no help from soil contact so it must be inoculated with compost starter for the first batch or so. Grinding the material into small pieces will help the microbes to break down more quickly.
- Keep it wet...like a wrung-out sponge. Also, if you want your compost finished all at once, load the tumbler all at once.
Worm Bin - Worm composting is fascinating. Red wiggler worms are the species of choice, and they can devour an amazing quantity of kitchen scraps and cellulose in a short amount of time. This is a great option for apartment gardeners or those with limited space. It’s also a very visual and tactile way to teach kids about composting.
Start a worm composting bin by drilling air vent holes in the sides and top, and water drain holes in the bottom of a plastic storage bin. Fill the bin three-quarters full with moistened shredded cardboard and newspaper and a few handfuls of garden soil for bedding. Let the bin stand for a day, then add the worms. Feed the worms every few days with shredded kitchen scraps, including vegetables, crushed eggshells, stale bread, coffee grounds and tea bags. Bury the scraps several inches into the bedding. The food will take a week or two to disappear, so bury successive feedings in different locations each time. Replenish bedding as needed. Worm compost will be ready to harvest in two or three months.
You can also purchase a worm bin like the one pictured here.
Compost Tea - Well prepared compost tea will contain thousands of beneficial microorganisms. Compost tea allows you to amplify a small amount of compost into a dispersible liquid form, helping a little compost go a lot farther. It's not complicated to make, here's a great description.
Manures as Compost - Manure has been used for ages for enriching soil and compost piles. The best time to apply manure directly to the soil is in the fall when the plants have been removed and the soil is ready to rest for the winter. Never apply your manure close to a water source and use a spreader if possible to apply it evenly. The downfall of applying manure directly to the soil is weed seeds. Piling your manure into a pile to heat it helps rid the manure of weed seeds in addition to ridding it of bacteria and parasites. No matter how well-aged your manure is, never place it too close to plants.
Animal Bedding - This is the combination of the solid waste the animal is done with, plus the liquid waste, and the material put down to cover the floor to make it less slippery by capturing numbers one and two. Typically, this bedding is straw, spoiled hay, wood shavings or some other carbon-rich material. The waste is nitrogen-rich and the bedding is carbon-rich which when blended makes a perfect compost! It is important to let it compost even further before applying to your plants to prevent burning.
Chicken Manure is full of nutrients that will benefit your soil, especially nitrogen. High nitrogen helps create heat to help the manure break down in addition to killing weed seeds, bacteria and parasites.
Cow Manure - Cow manure is made up of digested grass and grain. It is not as rich in nitrogen as many other types of manure but adds a great deal of organic matter to the soil which is very helpful for Texas clay soils. The downfall of cow manure is high ammonia levels that can burn plants so it's important not to put the manure directly on the plants.
Horse Manure - Horses process hay and grass into manure; and when that manure is composted and returned to the soil, a great source of nutrients and organic matter is returned to the soil. Horse manure can also help your regular compost pile become supercharged by adding heat. The downfall of horse manure is that it can return weed seeds to the soil. To avoid this as much as possible, add the horse manure to a compost pile and ensure your pile heats up to properly kill all the seeds. Additionally, you can pile horse manure into a pile to create heat and kill weed seeds.
Sheep Manure - Sheep manure contains protein, organic acid, cellulose and organic matter. Like other animal manures, it must be fully composted to prevent bacteria and parasites from being transferred to soil. It is hotter than horse manure due to its higher nitrogen content and it has a less offensive smell. The downfall of sheep manure is again weed seeds, so make sure you fully compost it before adding it to the garden.
To learn more about composting, read this mini-book from Earth-Kind Landscaping
Community Garden Design for Individuals with Mobility Challenges
Few activities compare to a day spent gardening. A day in the sun can elevate your mood and the physical work can invigorate the soul and reduce stress. A garden can also bring challenges for aging bodies and physical limitations. Accommodating these challenges ensures gardening is within reach for everyone by adding some helpful tools, altering the design of the garden bed and teaching how to go about tasks differently.
As you think about building your community garden to accommodate all physical abilities, think creatively. Heather Rhoades, founder of the Web site Gardening Know How and a gardener for more than 25 years, recommends these design elements:
- Wider pathways - The right pathway will allow more room to maneuver mobility equipment and navigate gardening beds, which can help prevent falling. Also, consider making the path firm with decomposed granite which provides a smooth surface.
- Verticle gardening - From stand-alone verticle towers to utilizing trellises and hanging baskets, getting the plants up and off the ground can reduce bending and enhance accessibility.
- Raised beds - There’s a wide variety of raised bed plans just waiting to be built. But if you’d prefer something even more simple, you might consider a raised bed kit.
Here are some other tools to help you create a community garden that welcomes gardeners of all mobility types
- Civil Eats - How Community Gardens Connect Seniors to Fresh Food and Their Past
- Countryside - Building Elevated Planter Boxes for Easier Gardening
- Dowling Community Garden - Building Raised Beds for ADA Access
- Environmental Protection Agency - Elder Accessible Gardening
- Inspired Living - Connecting Seniors with Fresh Food and Fresh Air
- Sympathink - Straw Bale Gardening a Complete Guide
- University of Texas School of Architecture - ADA Compliant Picnic Table and Stools
The H-E-B/Central Market Youth Resource Library is an online listing of ready-made youth programs, lesson plans and templates available to replicate and implement in your community.Texas Children in Natureis network of organizations and individuals who want to reconnect children and families with nature for a healthier, happier and smarter Texas! Nature Rocks is one way they connect families with partners that offer access to nature, educational programs or healthy events.The CPF Institute supports educators and increases their capacity to involve students in investigating natural phenomena, solving problems, and making a difference.This program educates students about energy efficiency through project-based curriculum, saving energy in schools and building pathways to green jobs.The Center for Green Schools works with school decision makers, community volunteers, and leaders to drive progress.This program provides educators with lesson plans on climate change to educate students about sustainability.An educational program that empowers students and teachers to help the environment.A youth service program to foster respect and compassion for all living things, beliefs, and cultures.Lesson plans to help teachers inform students on how they can do their part to “Take Care of Texas.”“Info Sheets and website links for waste-related topics such as “Anatomy of a Landfill” and “Waste-to-Energy.”Information on a range of environmental topics, as well as the environmental laws and regulations.A nationwide program for schools and students that helps make recycling easy, fun, and rewarding.A program that rewards recycling and sustainability education, as well as providing feedback on personal habits.A green schools program combining effective green management of school grounds, facilities and curriculum.A program to inspire schools and education institutions to reduce environmental impact and teach sustainability practices.REAL School Gardens boosts academics with experiential outdoor lessons and giving back to communities.The SFC cultivates a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food.TDA’s statewide Farm to School initiative provides Texas schools with helpful resources for building relationships with local farms.Nature filled school grounds where children and families play and learn outdoors enhance community healthInspire students to take responsibility for improving the environment at their school, home and in their community.Green Apple Day of Service is a unique moment to join schools across the world to celebrate the central role that schools playin preparing the next generation of leaders in sustainability. A school’s event is an opportunity to give students hands-on experience with sustainability, strengthening civic leadership, environmental literacy, and project management skills.A network of organizations and individuals who want to reconnect children and families with nature for a healthier, happier and smarter Texas!
Volunteers are the backbone of Keep Texas Beautiful and our affiliate community organizations. Without their generous support, many of our day to day activities would be impossible. Take a look at some of our helpful resources below to acknowledge, thank and support your community volunteers.
Want to stay in touch regarding specialized volunteer resources? Sign up below.
Nominate a Volunteer
Do you have a fabulous volunteer you think the world should know about? Recognize them with KTB today.
Tim HairTim Hair is a Landscape Architect who was looking to get involved in his new community when he and his wife moved to Midland, Texas in 2013. He joined the Keep Midland Beautiful TreeKeepers group after reading about it in a newspaper article. Tim has been instrumental in starting and supporting new initiatives and creating new partnerships in the community that enhance the work of the TreeKeepers committee. His major achievements as Chairman of the committee include helping to create a new partnership program with community schools. Tim Hair has been an exceptional leader who has reenergized and reengaged the TreeKeepers committee in the community.
Cedric RobinsonCedric Robinson is an example of leadership for everyone in the Emory community. Everyday Cedric takes a walk along the highway and picks up any litter he can find. Without being asked to, he dedicates time every single day to help keep the community he loves clean and healthy. Cedric exemplifies the sprit of volunteerism!
Brenda NewtonBrenda cares for the Earth and animals the same way she does humans. Brenda has faithfully served Angelina County by participating in a wide variety of programs such as litter cleanups, recycling programs, and hazardous waste collection. She embodies the passion and selflessness of volunteers around the country!
Jonell RobertsJonell Roberts has a "volunteer spirit." She takes daily walks around the City Park in Haskell and picks up trash. Her day-by-day efforts is a huge part of what keeps the park clean. Roberts is also an active member of the community. She serves on the city council, she sits on a beautification committee for efforts around Haskell, and attends events, cleanups and meetings for Keep Haskell Beautiful. Her efforts are a great example of how big a difference one person can make in the community.
Vivian AllenVivian Allen drives true change in her community of La Marque and is a passionate volunteer who manages several programs, including Keep La Marque Beautiful's Commission Business Yard of the Month and Residential yard of the Month. She works on city beautication efforts, spearheads educational programs and starts community gardens all over town. Vivian and her partner, Benny, personally care for flowerbeds at La Marque City Hall, landscaping at La Marque Public Library and a Community Garden at La Marque Economic Development Corporation. Along with her position as Treasurer of KLMBC, she is also President of La Marque Garden Club and plans to become a certifed Master Gardener. Vivian is a member of several other volunteer grounds across Galveston County. City of La Marque is lucky to have her as a citizen and benefits immensely from her drive and dedication to make La Marque a better place to live.
Zoe Rascoe of Keep Temple BeautifulNominated by Yvonne Eele, Zoe Rascoe was nominated due to her involvement in many community organizations including KTB. Her servant heart drives her to improve the community in many ways from parks to economics. She serves on the board of many community organizations and opens her home to many for parties and get togethers. Zoe is involved in most things that are good for Temple.
Nelida Spurrell of Keep Aransas County BeautifulNominated by Rosemary Pizio-White, Nelida Spurrell's nomination celebrates her as an "unwavering pillar of support and action for KACB and founding member since 2015." Neli has worked with the community to develop KACB and support restoration following Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Port Aransas and Port Aransas County just received a Rebuilding Texas Grant from KTB for their hard work as well.
Kirby Pruitt of Keep Gatesville BeautifulNominated by Cheri Shepherd, Affiliate Coordinator of KGB, Kirby Pruitt's enthusiasm for litter control in his community began when KGB was formed in the spring of 2017. Pruitt contacted KGB to let them know he would pick up litter as he took his daily two-mile walk. Since then, Pruitt has consistently picked up litter on his route and has set a great example of what a difference just one person can make!
Linda Henderson, President of Keep Cuero BeautifulNominated by Sandra Osman of Cuero, Linda Henderson has been " instrumental, consistent and Texas-determined" in making good things happen in their community. From planting grants to downtown beautification projects, Linda has been key in working with the city to help make Cuero beautiful. They even hosted one of our affiliate regional trainings in August 2018!
UPS Neighbor to Neighbor Volunteer TeamNominated by David Cuellar of UPS, the UPS Neighbor to Neighbor community-based volunteer team makes a big impact in the Rio Grande Valley in a variety of ways. Whether it is sorting food at food banks, participating in beach cleanups, planting seedlings with Rio Reforestation, or assisting Habitat for Humanity, they love lending a helping hand in their community. This group takes pride in cleaning up their local highways and was even commended by Adopt-a-Highway for their efforts. Thank you for embodying your group motto and "Unit[ing] as one... to make a difference!"
Project Hero Fort Hood HUBNominated by Keep Nolanville Beautiful, the Project Hero Fort Hood HUB dedicates time monthly for community improvement. During their last event, they repaired the little lending library and cleaned the community center parking lot in their area. They also recruited local children to help and spoke to them about the importance of taking care of their community.
Amy Barnhill of Keep Midland BeautifulNominated by Keep Midland Beautiful, volunteer Amy Barnhill regularly helps with this affiliate's Great American Cleanup, Don't mess with Texas Trash-Off and Feast of Sharing events. In addition to her hands-on support, she regularly volunteers with the Midland Texas Recycles Day event and has built a strong relationship with Chevron and KMB through her work and advocacy as an Environmental Safety Specialist with the organization.
First Monday Gardeners in Salado, TexasNominated by Keep Salado Beautiful, the First Monday Gardeners help maintain the Salado Pocket Gardens on the first Mondays of each month. Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners and community members bring their knowledge, enthusiasm, and work ethic to make Salado's gardens beautiful in every season. They volunteer their time, tools and materials each month and water and weed during the long summer.
Online tool to advertise volunteer opportunities. Basic membership is FREE.
Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
The City of Arlington’s SmartScape® Garden is a low water use alternative garden with plants and turf. This garden provides a long-lasting public education showcase for Texas SmartScape® and water conservation concepts.
Forestinfo.org is your source for environmental information which is understandable, unbiased, accurate, and available in a wide variety of formats. We strive to facilitate informed decisions regarding forestry-related issues. Welcome teachers, students, forestry professionals, and those with a general interest in protecting, managing, and enhancing the natural environment!
This report done by the U.S. EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds describes Green Infrastructure Opportunities that Arise During Municipal Operations.
Articles from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center containing a wealth of information that will help you transform your space into a Native Plant landscape. (Also in Spanish).
The goal of the Native Plant Information Network is to assemble and disseminate information that will encourage the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes throughout North America.
The Native Plant Society of Texas wants to preserve our state’s rich heritage for future generations. NPSOT is a non-profit organization run by volunteers who work to promote native plant appreciation, research, and conservation through local chapters around the state.
Project EverGreen is a national non-profit organization committed to creating a greener, cooler earth by supporting the creation, renovation and revitalization of managed recreational and athletic green spaces that result in healthier, happier people. Project EverGreen’s initiatives include GreenCare for Troops, SnowCare for Troops and the “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids™
Texasinvasives.org is a Texas-sized partnership to manage non-native invasive plants and pests in Texas. The partnership includes state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, green industry, academia and other private and public stakeholders who share in the common goal of protecting Texas from the threat of invasive species.
The goal of the Native Plant Information Network is to assemble and disseminate information that will encourage the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes throughout North America.
Since the Don’t mess with Texas campaign began in 1986, hundreds of tons of trash have been removed from Texas roadways. But with over 23 million people living in our state, there’s a lot more to do. Check out our many programs and activities, and learn how you can help. It’s what Real Texans do.
Drive Clean Across Texas is the nation’s first statewide public outreach and education campaign designed to raise awareness and change attitudes about air pollution.
A toolkit is available to help you ‘green’ any public event in a systematic and cost-effective way. The guide is intended to help organizations reduce the amount of litter generated at community events and to recover recyclable materials from the waste stream.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is available 24 hours every day to receive complaints under its jurisdiction.
Take Care of Texas is a statewide campaign from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality designed to involve all Texans in lifestyle and habit changes that will help improve air and water quality, conserve water and energy, reduce waste, and save individuals a little money in the process.
The Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations and GrantsMagic U are teaming up to provide long-term, sustainable support for Texas nonprofits working hard on Hurricane Harvey relief and rebuilding efforts. If your nonprofit or community organization is one of the dozens who are helping rebuild, restore, and renew the hurricane-devastated Houston area, you and your team are eligible to enroll - at no cost - in grant trainings provided by GrantsMagic U.
The Texas Downtown Association fosters development and revitalization to enhance the economic vitality of Texas downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts by providing resources, networking opportunities, education and advocacy.
The TFS was founded in 1915 as a part of the Texas A&M University system. Charged with supporting and directing all forestry-related efforts in the state, the TFS offers a wide range of resources for Texans looking for help planting trees and landscaping their communities.
TIDRC provides resources for local community professionals to address illegal dumping and burning: On-site classes and seminars for professionals and elected officials; and, books and other resource materials on the subject. KTB is a supporting agency of TIDRC’s Stop Trashing Texas program, and along with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, helps coordinate the cleanup of illegal dumps across the state.
The Texas Main Street Program, part of the Texas Historical Commission’s Community Heritage Development Division, helps Texas cities revitalize their historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts by utilizing preservation and economic development strategies.
A state-wide chapter of the American Solar Energy Society, TXSES is a non-profit organization with a mission of renewable energy education and outreach.
The Texas Travel Leads program provides an opportunity to make contact with potential Texas travelers who have requested information about traveling to Texas and visiting destinations across the state. It also gives you access to plenty of complimentary resources such as car litter bags, sticks and coloring books.
This site from the Texas Forest Service provides a custom tree selector, tools, and helpful tips for planting trees at your home or in your community.
The Adopt-A-Spot Online Mapping Tool Project was created by a diverse group of stakeholders within the river basin with the goal of fostering a litter-free environment in the Trinity River Basin by enabling community leaders to promote and track trash removal activities in their region. The project steering committee has contracted The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment staff at Texas State University to develop thisproject website and mapping tool.
Waste Management and Don’t Mess with Texas participate every summer in a public education campaign to remind area residents to â€œcover your loadâ€ when bringing unwanted debris to area landfills to prevent accidental litter.
Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care. Learn about Arbor Day history, how to celebrate Arbor Day in your community, and more.
National membership organization promoting community gardens.
EcoRise offers academically aligned sustainability and design innovation curricula for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. We are particularly well-suited to strengthen and compliment STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) and CTE (Career and Technical Education) courses, by offering interactive opportunities to apply knowledge and skills to relevant, real-world problems. Because our curricular materials are customizable to fit within—and enhance—existing scope and sequences, teachers are able to easily integrate EcoRise lessons without sacrificing important material assessed on standardized tests.
The mission of everyone at GameWarden.org is to promote the good works of the dedicated individuals who protect wildlife and natural resources, and to be the most reliable and comprehensive educational resource about the career of a game warden.
Goodwill provides an easy and charitable to donate your vehicle to someone in need. Goodwill car donation specializes in making the car donation process as fast and easy as possible.
Guide to local resources including recycling centers, how to recycle, pollution prevention, and how help protect the environment.
i-Tree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban forestry analysis and benefits assessement tools. The i-Tree Tools help communities of all sizes to strengthen the structre of community trees and the environement services that trees provide.
Visit this site and register to opt out of receiving your annual Yellow Pages and/or telephone directory, download sustainability reports from Yellow Pages Association and find out where to recycle Yellow Pages in your community.
Nature Works Everywhere gives teachers, students and families everything they need to start exploring and understanding nature around the globe alongside Nature Conservancy scientists. Our interactive lesson plans align to standards and can be customized for each classroom.
Created by the Paper Industry Association Council, or PAIC, this web site offers a how-to when creating recycling programs for your office, school and community.
Projects for Good is an organization that was formed to empower people by connecting them with the resources they need to have meaningful impact in the casues they are passionate about.
SEPA is a resource for non-profits that offers information about solar technologies, policies and programs.
It’s good to recycle your junk mail. It’s even better to stop getting it. This site provides consumers with a Stop Junk Mail Kit to stop the clutter!
The U.S. Green Building Council is the nation’s foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work. LEED is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council.
The drought affects us all, from ranchers and farmers to urban citizens. We have witnessed wildfires breaking out across the state, and our lakes and rivers are lowering rapidly. Our cities and counties are implementing water restrictions, some for the first time ever.
TEXAS DROUGHT RESOURCES
During 2012, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) hosted drought emergency planning workshops throughout the state. The workshops provided local government officials, board members, and their water system operators information and tools to prevent and mitigate water outages. You can view the video of the presentations on this site.
The Office of the State Climatologist (OSC) serves as a clearinghouse for climate information for the state of Texas. The OSC issues regular climate updates and conducts research on climate monitoring and climate prediction in Texas and the southern United States.
The Texas AgriLife Extension Service offers practical, how-to education based on university research.
Provides information to help you make better decisions about water use, including surface and groundwater regulations, and emergency procedures.
Texas Forest Service website includes Texas wildfire updates, along with wildfire prevention tools, resources, and tips on caring for trees during the drought.
Drought resources page that describes the Texas Water Development Board’s role in monitoring the drought and providing assistance, along with monitoring current conditions in Texas.
This site is a collection of weather products derived from real-time weather data. Site includes the Keetch-Byram Drought Index and Texas Fire Danger map.
WATER CONSERVATION TIPS & TOOLS
Calculate your water footprint, along with learning over 75 water saving tips.
Eating local saves water, but might not be possible 100% of the time for everyone in the U.S., with seasonal vegetables and the need to import things like bananas and coffee. However, almost everyone can reduce their water footprint by drinking local. Here are some tips on how to reduce your bottled water footprint.
Learn 10 easy conservation tips, along with rainwater harvesting information and conservation programs and resources.
List of Texas Public Water Systems limiting usage to avoid shortages. Search by county and neighborhood to see if there are water restrictions being imposed in your area.
The Water IQ: Know your Water is a statewide public awareness water conservation program. Through Water IQ, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) provides information on water-efficient practices, raises awareness about the importance of water conservation, and helps Texans use less water.
CARING FOR TREES DURING DROUGHT
Article from the Texas Forest Service with timely tips and information on saving your trees.
RAINWATER TANK SIZE CALCULATOR
Works with millions of volunteers, from all around the world, on their International Coastal Cleanup. For more than 30 years, this program and more have inspired long-term solutions that promote a healthy ocean, abundant wildlife and thriving coastal communites.Programs
Looking for next steps after receiving your package of butterfly garden seeds?
You’ve come to the right place! Please take a few moments to browse our ever-growing selection of resources to ensure your success in planting your migration station and supporting the growth of Texas’ Monarch population.
If you’ve found this page simply through browsing our website, welcome! In order to receive your own complimentary seed packet and help sustain our butterfly population, purchase our 7th edition collectible ornament.
GARDEN SEED MIX
Now that you’ve received your butterfly garden seeds, you might be wondering just what sort of mix you have. While Monarch larvae need the milkweed for nourishment during development, adult Monarchs actually feed on the nectar of a variety of flowering plants. The list below will give you a full rundown of the array of beautiful flowers that will soon be in bloom in your butterfly garden!
- Northern Milkweed (Asclepias Speciosia)
- Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
- Southern Milkweed (Asclepias Curassavica)
- Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
- White Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata)
- Bishop’s Flower/Queen Anns Lace (Ammi majus)
- Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)
- Sunset Flower (Asclepias curassavica)
- Turbo White (Limonium sinuatum Statice)
- Prairie Aster (Aster tanacetifolius)
- Turbo Yellow (Limonium sinuatum Statice)
- Thoroughwax (Bupleurum griffithii)
- Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
- Mexican Lupine (Lupinus hartwegii)
- Bachelor Button (Centaurea cyanus)
- Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena)
- Sweet Sultan (Centaurea moschata)
- Yellow Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida columnaris)
- Tricolor Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum)
- Gloriosa Daisy (Rudbeckia gloriosa)
- Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum maximum)
- Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)
- Lance-leaved Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
- Crimson Clover (Trifolium incarnatum)
- Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria)
- Moss Verbena (Verbena tenuisecta)
- Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
BUTTERFLY GARDENING TIPS
Gain some knowledge on the fundamentals of butterfly gardening based on your location.
The purpose of the program is to educate members and the public about Monarch conservation, to produce and distribute milkweeds that support reproduction by Monarch butterflies, and to restore Monarch habitats throughout the Texas migration flyway.
TEXAS BUTTERFLY EXIBITS
The Cockrell Butterfly Center and Brown Hall of Entomology (both in Houston) provide entertainment and education for the whole family! Discover the wonderful world of insects, with fun, interactive games and quizzes, spectacular preserved specimens, and living examples of some of the world’s largest and weirdest arthropods. They also hold a semi-annual butterfly plant sale.
This Galveston-based educational and recreational nature resort hosts a year-round tropical butterfly exhibit in their rainforest pyramid. They are currently showing Flight of the Butterflies 3D in their theater.
Located at Fair Park in Dallas, the mission of Texas Discovery Gardens is to teach effective ways to restore, conserve and preserve nature in the urban environment, with a focus on gardening organically and sustainably. A butterfly garden and insectarium is located onsite.
This migration tracking project is a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. The site includes information to help track the monarch butterfly migration each fall and spring, along with a wealth of resources regarding migration and an FAQ section that will help explain everything there is to know about the Monarch!
A nonprofit organization whose mission is to “keep our skies filled with nature’s color,” this group provides education, involvement and assistance to individuals working to benefit the Monarch butterfly and various native creatures who have suffered a decline in their natural habitats.
This fund meets the challenge of preserving Monarch butterflies and their spectacular migration through a specific conservation strategy that fosters healthy ecosystems and sustainable communities through forest conservation, habitat monitoring, scientific research, education and outreach, and sustainable development.
A nationwide organization dedicated to education, conservation and research.
The 100-acre National Butterfly Center is dedicated to education, conservation and scientific research on wild butterflies.
A Monarch watch group specific to Texas.