Earth Day: HEB, Texas Parks partner to raise conservation awareness

Earth Day is on Monday, but HEB and Texas State Parks want to remind the community that Earth Day should be every day.

"Texas Parks and Wildlife and state parks are dedicated to that: raising awareness for the importance of getting outside and outdoor recreation, but also taking care of the very special places in the state of Texas," said Rodney Franklin, parks director for Texas State Parks and Texas Wildlife.

During Earth Month, Franklin says it's important for the community to learn about conservation.

"The populations of certain species, like the golden cheek warbler, the red fish, some of those things, are really precious," Franklin said. "They need to be protected, and their habitat needs to be protected."

Austin Reptile Service came out on Sunday evening to teach the community about the critters we may see out in the wild.

"One thing that's really difficult to explain to people is how important reptiles are in our natural ecosystem, even in urban environments and neighborhoods and parks," Tabitha Blewett, owner of Austin Service, said. "These guys help keep a lot of diseases taken care of by eating our rodent populations. And they're a really critical part of our ecosystem."

During the Our Texas Our Future festival, HEB talked about its ongoing sustainability pledge to reduce its impact on the environment through waste diversion efforts.

RELATED: Earth Day: Volunteers clean up Lady Bird Lake, surrounding trails

"Last year, our stores recycled 585 million pounds of material that we recycled, and we kept it out of the landfill. And there's so much more that we're excited to do in 2024," Leslie Sweet, managing director of environmental affairs for HEB, said.

Last November, HEB started their Trees for Texans program to help plant more trees in our communities.

"We're going to be planting trees all across Texas in partnership with elementary and middle schools, and also communities and cities, so that we can get that shade cover over playgrounds and great open spaces, so Texans have beautiful parks and places to play."