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Keeping Austin Beautiful, Naturally: #VivaGives and The Nature Conservancy

There are some rare birds in Austin, which is what makes us all love this town.  But, did you know that Austin literally is home to two rare birds?  The Golden-cheeked warbler and the black-capped vireo, our feathered neighbors from the Barton Creek Habitat Preserve.

When Viva co-owner Maya was thinking about a charity that represented something she loves about the place we all call home, she thought about the green spaces and natural treasures woven throughout the city.  “We’re so lucky to have places like Lady Bird Lake, Barton Springs and The Green Belt here in Austin,” says Maya.  So, it’s only natural that she choose The Nature Conservancy (Texas branch) as her #VivaGives candidate.

The Nature Conservancy works across the state to preserve the lands and waters of Texas. With 37 Texas nature preserves and conservation properties and more than 100 private landowner partnerships, The Nature Conservancy has to date protected more than 838,000 acres in Texas.

And when it comes to Austin, Maya believes “It’s so important to continue preserving our natural habitat and to never lose sight of how essential these natural amenities are to Austin as a city.”

“Our river, springs, creek systems, trails, hills and grasslands give off a positive energy that we all feel every day as Austinites.” Maya continues. “It’s important to preserve and protect our natural land and water systems so generations of people can enjoy them in the future.”

In Austin, The Nature Conservancy has a direct hand in the Barton Creek Habitat Preserve, nestled along four miles of Barton Creek in southwest Travis County in Austin. They have also had a direct hand in protecting other beloved and iconic natural water spots in Austin like Hamilton Pool, Barton Springs, the Edwards Aquifer, and the Balcones Canyonland Preserve.  Barton Creek helps supply Austin’s drinking water and recharges the Edwards Aquifer which, in turn, supports Barton Springs and its endangered Barton Springs salamander.

It’s easy to miss the birds and the salamanders when we’re not looking.  But their existence is tied directly to their habitats.  And, in 1994, for example, those habitats were slated to become 4,000 home sites until The Nature Conservancy stepped in to ensure the coyotes, quail, our two rare birds, and other wildlife still had a place to call home.  Right in the middle of Austin.

Want to donate to The Nature Conservancy or volunteer your time to helping preserve the natural places that help keep Austin wildly weird?  There are easy ways to get involved.  And perhaps the easiest way is right here: for every instant or classic Viva gift certificate purchased during the month of December, Viva will donate 3% of your purchase to The Nature Conservancy, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Austin, or the Austin Children’s Shelter.  Your gift to a loved one pays itself forward.