As signs of spring emerge this month, so do the Austinites who traveled this winter, visited new bars, hunkered down during storms, and did basically anything other than soak in the great outdoors within city bounds. Especially after all the fallen tree limbs during the most recent winter storm, Austin’s parks could use some revitalizing as people start visiting again.
It’s My Park Day, a seasonal volunteer event by the Austin Parks Foundation, organizes civilian forces to make sure parks across the city are looking and feeling their best, while getting those workers more engaged with the community. Great as a giveback opportunity, a social horizon-broadener, or even just a gentle exercise in a relaxing environment, these jobs on March 4 also come with incentives from local businesses: free beers, coffees, or milkshakes.
“It’s My Park Day’s Spring edition has shown to be one of Austin's most important volunteer work days of the year,” said Austin Parks Foundation CEO Colin Wallis in a press release. “We continue to be impressed with what a single day of volunteer labor can do for our parks and green spaces. Following events like February’s winter storm, our community's commitment to working alongside their neighbors and giving back to their green spaces is invaluable to our city. As an organization, we are able to continue providing high-quality volunteer experiences like this one because of the dedicated community members who participate every year.”
More than 80 jobs range from picking up trash, to spreading mulch, to beautifying and planting gardens. An interactive list on the project website shows which engagements are available, how many volunteers have signed up, and how many are left. Most are large projects with a capacity for 20 or more workers, and many are still open to a lot more help as of Friday, March 3. The list also makes it easy to choose a project by location, either close to home or at a location with personal significance like a school or cemetery.
The following local businesses are offering treats when a volunteer brings in their volunteer T-shirt:
- Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden (free draft pour)
- Blue Owl Brewing (50 percent off a classic tasting)
- Central Machine Works (free beer voucher)
- Epoch Coffee (free coffee or cold brew at any Austin location)
- Houndstooth Coffee (free hot or iced coffee at any Austin location)
- Independence Brewing Co. (offer pending)
- Oskar Blues Brewing ($2 off a pint)
- P. Terry’s (free milkshake at any Austin location)
- Revival Coffee (50 percent off a canned beer, cold brew, or drip coffee)
- Spokesman (free drip coffee, cold brew, or gatorade at the South and Highland locations)
- Vacancy Brewing (free pint)
- Zilker Brewing (discounted Parks & Rec Ale)
The semi-annual citywide work day averages $650,000 worth of volunteer labor each cycle. It does not just make the parks more comfortable; it also preserves funds for more specialist work. People who cannot donate time (or would simply like to deepen their commitment) can also donate funds. A donation of at least $30 gets a (surprisingly stylish) spring volunteer shirt as a thank-you.
Browse the projects and register ASAP at givepulse.com.