January 2018 update
After a slow start in 2017, the Greenbelt Guardians had a busy fall. We only held one workday between January and September (It’s My Park Day in March), but made up for it with three workdays at the end of the year. A fourth workday was cancelled due to bad weather. Here’s a brief summary of what we accomplished:
On Saturday Sept 30th, National Public Lands Day, 19 volunteers contributed a total of 66 hours of labor at the Gus Fruh access. Major tasks included invasives removal and the completion of the rock steps leading down to the creek on the east side.
On Saturday November 4th, the Austin Parks Foundation's fall "It's My Park Day", we had 50 volunteers who contributed a total of 142 hours of labor at the Homedale entrance. Major tasks were invasives removal, graffiti removal, and rock work in the gully by the bridge and where the trail ends at the flats.
On Friday December 8th, we were supposed to host a group of 20 volunteers from Apple for a service day at Gus Fruh, but the snow the night before caused it to be postponed. That workday was part of a larger Apple service project organized by the Hill Country Conservancy. It has been rescheduled for Thursday February 22nd.
On Saturday December 9th, we worked with Barton Hills neighbor and Austin High School senior Jude Sabo and a group of his classmates who organized a service project at Gus Fruh. 17 volunteers put in a total of 50 hours of labor and did a great job of refurbishing and extending the steps that exit the creek bed on the far (west) side.
Our next regular workday will be on Saturday March 03, APF’s spring “It’s My Park Day”. No matter your age or physical ability, there’s always something you can do to help, so please make plans to join us! We’ll announce the location and how to sign up soon.
On a sad note, we lost one of our long-time volunteers and a big part of our Greenbelt Guardian family, Ken Russell, on December 4th. Ken and his wife Rosalie started working with us in 2005, shortly after moving to Barton Hills, and they quickly became regulars and leaders. While Rosalie liked to pull out invasives, Ken seemed to prefer the engineering side of things, usually working on trail repair or on one of our many rock projects. He became our resident expert in the proper mixing of mortar, and either performed or oversaw that task almost every time we did any rock work. He was also good at working the registration table and greeting volunteers. We will miss not only his contributions to our work, but also the stories, jokes, knowledge, and enthusiasm that he shared so freely with everyone around him.
Here are a few photos of Ken working with us over the years.
Workday report - 04 November 2017, IMPD-fall
We had 50 neighborhood and community volunteers who contributed a total of 142 hours of labor at the Homedale entrance to the Barton Creek Greenbelt on Saturday November 4th, the Austin Parks Foundation's fall "It's My Park Day." We had a great group and got a lot done, but we especially enjoyed working with all the kids and young adults who attended, including cub scouts, girl scouts, a group from the UT Taiwanese American Student Association, and some skilled and hard-working teens from Barton Hills. We were also honored to have our District 5 City Councilmember and neighbor Ann Kitchen join us to greet everyone, talk to a number of folks about greenbelt-related issues, and observe our work.
As always, we started the morning off with breakfast tacos from Maria's, courtesy of the Barton Hills Neighborhood Association. Warmer than normal temps and high humidity made working conditions somewhat unpleasant, but a little bit of recent rain did help soften up the soil surface enough to make trail work and invasives removal a little easier.
Our invasive team pulled lots of ligustrum and nandina in an area on the south side of the flats. They also gathered and replanted native sea oat seeds everywhere that the soil was disturbed.
Another team harvested gravel and large stones from the creek bed and used them to build some shallow steps on the sloped part of the trail that empties out onto the flats, an area that used to get muddy and slick very quickly when there was water in the creek and lots of wet people and dogs. There's a little more work to do there on another workday, but the problem has been largely remedied already, and we were able to stockpile the materials (gravel and stones) that we need to finish.
We also continued our rock work in the gully with the small bridge on the trail leading to the flats, collecting stones and then fitting and mortaring them into place to prevent erosion and damage to the bridge supports.
Other accomplishments included clean-up and weeding of the entry trail, graffiti removal, and the collection of a large amount of trash. Some photos from the workday are on our website here.
Thanks to everyone who came out to help us! It was a good crew and we had another very productive day on the greenbelt.
Workday Report - 30 Sept 2017, National Public Lands Day
The Greenbelt Guardians held a workday at the Barton Creek Greenbelt - Gus Fruh access on Sat 30 Sept, 2017, National Public Lands Day. We had 19 volunteers who contributed a total of 66 hours of labor to the park.
While water in the creek prevented us from working on the exit point on the far side of the creek crossing like we had planned to do, we were able to complete the set of rock steps between the lower trail and the "beach" on this side of the creek that we started constructing last fall. Our invasives team worked on the far side of the creek between the pool and the main trail and thanks to soft soil conditions due to recent rains, were able to remove a significant amount of nandina and ligustrum. Other volunteers trimmed and weeded along the entrance and switchback trails and picked up trash in the area.
We enjoyed good weather, had a great group of leaders and volunteers, and got a lot accomplished. We didn't take very many photos this time, but here are the ones we did get if you're interested.
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