Let’s be clear: Amy Avery (Kimley-Horn San Antonio) does not have a green thumb nor is her favorite pastime the outdoors. In fact, when recently invited on a camping trip, she politely declined. “Who goes camping in Texas in August?!” she asks. Despite all of this, Amy is working to conserve urban green space and engage her community in Texas’s natural environment by serving as the board president of Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas.
The mission of Green Spaces Alliance is to sustain the natural environment and enhance urban spaces through land conservation, community engagement, and education. “The foundation of the mission is really education about the natural environment in an urban context,” says Amy. “I think that’s what makes them unique among environmental organizations.”
One of Amy’s favorite programs run by the Green Spaces Alliance is their youth photography program. During the school year, the organization works with several Title I schools whose arts programs have been cut. The students use borrowed cameras to capture nature’s beauty, and can submit their work to a photography competition. “It’s important for our next generation to have that appreciation,” says Amy. “Third graders have cell phones now. Getting them out in nature is a victory.”
Amy’s civil engineering know-how allows her to serve as a liaison between the environmental and developmental worlds, and has also made her a better communicator. “We’re in such a highly technical environment, but my work allows me to hone my communications skills by explaining technical topics to non-technical folks.”
As a Kimley-Horn Foundation grant recipient, Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas will use funds to support improvements on the Bulverde Oaks Nature Preserve, future path building, and longer public opening hours on their properties. Amy hopes that these upcoming developments will help garner a greater community interest in Green Spaces Alliance and urban environmental conservation.
For more information on Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas, visit www.greensatx.org.