Volunteers with Keep Austin Beautiful (KAB) worked in January to remove the remains of one popular Austin holiday tradition: decorating the ashe juniper trees along Loop 360. The tradition leaves tinsel, ornaments and more in the environment well after the holiday season, and the organization says festive accessories pose a threat to local watersheds and wildlife.
“It’s not about what is on the tree; it is what has fallen off or what remains,” says Rodney Ahart, executive director of KAB. “We as Austinites have an obligation to restore the environment to its natural state, avoiding any harmful effects to wildlife or the nearby creeks.” This year’s 155 volunteers collected 100 bags of trash and 30 bags of usable decorations, which were donated to Goodwill. KAB asks that Austinites leave the trees unadorned, and urges those that decorated a tree to remove the decorations in a timely manner.