Letter from the Founder


    MyCreekATX, a collaborative project aimed at bringing together people and creeks in Austin, started back in January of 2015 when I began working on my thesis project in the planning and sustainable design departments at UT Austin. I wanted to understand how people in Austin perceived the function of creeks, which led me to the question – “How do people value creeks?” 

    It was fairly evident how ecologists value creeks. The city has a set of indicators that it uses to score each creek’s environmental health. Looking at this, I realized other elements of the value of creeks were, for the most part, missing from the management of creeks here in Austin despite extensive education and advocacy programs that said otherwise. A core belief of mine is that these ecosystems, especially in urban areas, should be valued by many intersecting factors - ecology, social and cultural value, economics, and so on. I felt we were missing the boat as a growing city if we didn’t do something to paint a clearer picture of how urban creeks, which are one of our primary natural features, are valued holistically, and shift management accordingly.

    I also recognize that our generation is incredibly attached to technology. At the same time, we are more disconnected from the environment around us than any generation before. We assume cities are largely void of nature despite natural space all around us. Technology has been a wall instead of a door. One of three MyCreekATX goals includes building out a user-friendly website to provide creek information in innovative and easily-accessible ways. I believe this part of the project can change our relationship to creeks in Austin. I hope MyCreekATX will help us to center our communities on creeks rather than hide them behind parking garages.

    MyCreekATX came about because I am passionate about reconnecting my generation with the environment around us and believe the project can be a resource to promote holistic creek management. I am so thankful for all the support MyCreekATX has received and feel fortunate to have a dynamic team of individuals from each of our stakeholder organizations serving on an advisory committee.

    After a year of working with stakeholders, engaging with the community through our Charrette and Hackathon, and formulating three clear goals for moving forward, I’m pleased to announce our partnership with Save Barton Creek Association. Our affiliation with SBCA allows us to apply for grant funding to follow through with web development, community engagement efforts, and ongoing stakeholder collaboration.

    I look forward to finding new ways to work with and for the Austin community in connecting and advocating for our creeks. Thank you for taking the time to support MyCreekATX!

        
        Sincerley,

              Katie Coyne
              Founder - MyCreekATX