The Neighborhood Habitat Challenge is an annual contest organized by the Austin Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with the National Wildlife Federation. The goal is to make Austin a more wildlife-friendly city. To date, Austin has more than 1,700 certified wildlife habitats in the city, according to the Wildlife Austin! website. Nationwide, there are more than 150,000 NWF certified habitats.

Here’s how you can make your little piece of Austin a part of it:

  1. Turn your yard into a wildlife-friendly habitat. There are four elements you need to transform your yard into a habitat: food, water, cover and places to raise young.  In addition, practice two sustainable gardening measures — such as maintaining a chemical-free lawn, planting native species and conserving water.
  2. Complete the Wildlife Habitat Certification form on the NWF website. You can also download and print the form. There is a $20 fee for certification, but pre-paid applications are available by sending an email to . A limited number of applications are available.

The three neighborhoods with the most new certifications by Nov. 14 win recognition from the City of Austin, as well as prizes. Prizes for past years have included neighborhood picnics, tree giveaways and wildlife workshops.

For more information about the program, check out the challenge guidelines and FAQs. For more details about how to get involved, email .


Greenbelt Fans,

We hope you will join us for our next workday on Saturday June 2, from 8-Noon, to do some important tasks on the Gus Fruh portion of the greenbelt. We will meet at 8:00 sharp at the Gus Fruh entry at 2642 Barton Hills Drive for sign-in, breakfast tacos, a group photo, and task orientation. We are planning some important trail repair and resurfacing work, retaining wall construction, and invasives removal and monitoring. We’ll also do some weeding, edging, and pruning in the front entry area. We will need lots of hands to help, and hope that you will be able to join us to assist.

There are lots of enticements: Maria’s tacos for breakfast, lush beauty on the trails due to the spring rains, camaraderie with other greenbelt lovers, AND a lunch party afterwards outside Barton Springs, sponsored by the Hill Country Conservancy. This work day celebrates National Trails Day, and numerous other volunteer groups will be working on other areas of the greenbelt. The Austin Parks Foundation is providing the overall organization and registration for the various volunteer groups.

To volunteer with us at Gus Fruh, please RSVP directly to this address so that we get an accurate count for our planning, and ALSO register on the Austin Parks Foundation web site so they can accurately plan for the overall event and after-party food and drinks. Thank you!

We’re looking forward to a great work day and hope to see you there!

Glee Ingram
Greenbelt Guardians Coordinator
(512) 441-3278


A group of neighbors have combined efforts with BHE parents to formulate a park improvement plan for the park grounds adjacent to the elementary school. This plot of land is co-owned by the city and the district which makes for an interesting predicament of not much ownership by either entity. It’s been in decline and is now really suffering due to erosion issues caused by our recent drought.

We surveyed the community in June 2011 and held multiple focus group sessions in the fall of 2011 to get a bottoms-up list of ideas to improve the park. Many, many ideas have been tossed around and we are now ready to start the planning phase. This will be a very exciting project partnering with the city through the Public Works Neighborhood Partnering Program.

Let’s build a park that students can enjoy during the school day and that the community can enjoy after school hours. Gatherings in the park are just around the corner … Let’s make it happen!

Please see the attached PDF version of our presentation for details.

Cherylann Campbell – 
Kathleen Schneeman – 

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