This Weekend in Bushwhacking:

If you’re anything like me, seeing the new Robert Rodriguez film Machete (which was shot here in Austin!) rekindled your desire to reconnect with your favorite sharp object. If you’re not, well, you can still probably feel me on this one. National Public Lands Day is this weekend, and Austinites are getting together to clean up the Barton Creek greenbelt, which is in need of maintenance after Tropical Storm Hermine did some damage to the trail system. Volunteers will also be removing invasive species. It’s the perfect chance to get your machete on. Here’s the down-low:

Austin Parks And Recreation - Barton Creek greenbelt

Who: Hosted by the Austin Parks Foundation, City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Hill Country Conservancy, Central Texas Mountaineers, and Greenbelt Guardians.

What: Greenbelt cleanup, including trail maintenance, invasive species removal, and removal of debris left by Tropical Storm Hermine.

When: Saturday, September 25, 8:30AM

Where: Barton Creek Greenbelt trailhead in Zilker Park (map)

Volunteer sign-up and more information is available here.

Registration begins at 8:30AM, followed by a 9:00AM speech by Congressman Lloyd Doggett which will include an announcement about funding for Austin’s trail system. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for volunteers. Get out there and get to cutting!

Rays of Hope offers first Solar Photovoltaic Installation workshop

I’m posting this so late… ! But I wanted to get this out there to folks who’d written us about the story we ran in the last issue, the one about Rays of Hope.

Rays of Hope is the grassroots nonprofit created by Mike Frisch and Effie Brunson that brings energy-saving repairs and appliance upgrades to the homes of low-income residents. What’s so cool about the work they do is that they not only help people save money on utility bills – money they can use toward food and health costs – but they teach volunteers the skills they need to do this to their own homes.

Tomorrow, March 7, they’re giving their first workshop on solar photovoltaic installation. Send them a note now to learn more about it or attend the workshop yourself. If you’re looking for a way to contribute to the green movement in Austin, don’t miss this opportunity to see solar energy at work.

RAYS OF HOPE Solar Photovoltaic Installation Workshop
Saturday, March 7,  2:00-3:00
This is your chance to see firsthand the work they’re doing to make local low-income families’ homes energy efficient and deliver affordable, accessible renewable energy education opportunities to the general public.

Get one of these Big Weekend Calendars for everyone on your list


I’m going to reveal to you one of my signature gifts for the past two years – the Austin Big Weekend Calendar. I first came across this calendar at the City Hall gift shop. I bought a few then, and another few last year, and am ready to buy more this year. They’re great gifts for people who love to get out and about in Austin.

What makes them so great? Two things. First, they list just about every major event in Central Texas, more than 250 in all. If there’s something fun going on, it’s already on this calendar. Never forget it’s Carnaval Brasileiro weekend again!

Second – and just as cool – 10 percent of the profits go to Keep Austin Beautiful, the local nonprofit that regularly engages the community in environmental projects that keep our parks and waters clean.

But wait, there’s more. The calendar’s made in Austin, features all original photography (no stock art), and costs about $15. Where can I get some, you say? Buy the calendar online or pick it up at BookPeople, Waterloo Records, Whole Foods, HEB and many other Austin stores.

(There are lots of other ways to give and get involed with Keep Austin Beautiful, whether you’re looking to make an end-of-year donation or seeking a volunteering opportunity for your family or group. Learn more on their site.)

Sat Oct 11: Help raise money to “green” low-income homes

Installing gutters, downspouts, and a rain barrel

Installing gutters, downspouts, and a rain barrel

The nonprofit formerly known as 1 House at a Time, now Rays of Hope, is having its first-ever fundraiser this Saturday, from 6 to 10 pm. Here’s why you need to pay attention to this organization and consider attending.

1. Rays of Hope helps low-income and elderly homeowners reduce their energy bills, sometimes by 50%. It does this by transforming these homes to be water and energy efficient.

2. Rays of Hope teaches homeowners to be more water and energy efficient to further the energy and cost savings.

3. Homeowners aren’t the only ones who benefit. You can volunteer to help in the “greening” and learn weatherization and energy-saving strategies as you work.

4. This is grassroots, y’all. Everyone’s welcome. The main menu will feature a fish fry, but they’ll also have brisket and pizza, plus a silent auction. They’re looking for a $15 per person donation, with kids under 12 free. All donations go to the home renovations for four Austin families.

Learn more about Rays of Hope and register to attend the event this Saturday night. Bring a friend.

GivingCity Issue 1: Download it here!

Please feel free to send this link to a friend of colleague. Also, thanks for adding us to your media list – we’d love to hear more about your organization and cause.

To download your copy, just click on the cover or on the link below. Please let us know what you think. Feel free to send me any feedback or post a comment below.

(File size 5MB)

The guide to doing good in Austin
The guide to doing good in Austin