President’s Report

Food, Fun and Friends at the Picnic by the Pool

It was a lazy day, perfect for flame-kissed hot dogs, watermelon, and beer.  It was a chance for us to get together with friendly swimmers at the rock garden picnic tables and talk about the pool.

Organizers Jesse Malone and Mary Yarrington showed up early to set up the hospitality tent and lay out the food.  Mary brought a huge supply of beef bratwurst and hot dogs donated by Sun Harvest.

Jennifer Malone and I showed up around 11:30 to make plans and head down to the pool to meet up with other swimmers for a cool dip.  We had the best duty.  I realized that I had not brought a banner or anything to announce the event to swimmers in the pool, so we might have missed some folks.
While we were in the pool, Jonathan Beall showed up with a gas grill, and Tom Weber arrived with fresh beer from North by Northwest.  Gary Beyer helped test the kegs.

Before the afternoon had even heated up, we had a good crowd of folks laughing and talking and eating and drinking.  Kids ran around playing and eating.  It was a great chance to visit with old friends and make new friends.

Of course, there had to be some speechifying.  Tom delivered a short update on the master plan pool improvement projects.
I presented an award to Penny Lucas, who is the dynamic student activity director for middle school students at Texas School for the Deaf.  Penny turns out her students for volunteer days at the Pool, and they do a fantastic job.

I also presented an award to Maria Ines Weber, our treasurer.   Maria is the longest continuously serving board member, having started in 2008!
Steve Barnick, Chasity Larios, and others told personal stories about the pool.

I can’t wait until next year.

President’s Report

Every year offers a new lesson in stewardship at Barton Springs Pool.

by Robin Cravey, president

This year May brought record heat again.  Drought lies like a burning brown blanket over the hill country.  Global warming is up.  Springflow is down.

Despite all that, the Pool looks good.  The water is clear and sweet.  It’s a far cry from 2006, another drought year, when the water was slimy and green.

Several things have conspired to bring the Pool to this healthy state.  Our first Thursday springs cleaning parties have become more and more effective.  The plantlife in the Pool that was in a state of riot last year has been tamed.  And the removal of a huge load of flood debris from the deep end has allowed the lifeguards to perform a real thorough cleaning down  there.

Not all of the Pool looks good.  It’s easy to find the habitat areas, now, because they look like swamps.  They look like experiments in benign neglect.  They need some serious attention, and soon.

The bad news is that the global warming curve is pointing up.  Scientists say a hotter dryer climate is coming to Austin.  We ought to start taking this into account as we plan for Pool maintenance and improvements.  For example, everything we plant should be drought-tolerant.

We should also stop talking so much about keeping Austin weird and start talking more about keeping Austin cool.  That means reducing the urban heat island effect.  Stop the generation of urban sprawl and the commuter lifestyle.  Plant a lot of trees.

Of course, the focus for FBSP will always be the Pool, the Pool grounds, and near surroundings.  We’re going to apply our stewardship to whatever comes out of the springs and down the creek.  Cool springs: it’s our bubbling jewel!

Quick Dips

2010 Picnic by the Pool

The FBSP Picnic by the Pool is coming up Saturday, June 25th.  It’s going to be great fun.  We’ll have it at the rock garden above the Hillside Theater, where we can have beer! (in moderation, of course)  Join us for some good family fun.

I attended an interesting meeting on the grounds improvements.  Architects Brian Larson and Brad Burns were there, along with arborist Don Gardner, city staff, and others.  We had another rehash of ideas for the tree court.  It’s time we move forward with that.

The Joint Subcommittee of Parks and Environmental held a productive meeting.  Environmental Board chair Mary Gaye Maxwell invited staff members to work on an improved reporting system for the short-term projects.

BSPCC member Emily Little and I have been meeting with the staff to talk about the project to restore the Pool entrance to the central rotunda.  Emily and her colleagues are volunteering a huge amount of professional service to get this project going.

Board Member Profile: Jennifer Malone

Read on to get to know our newest board member, Jennifer Malone!  Jennifer moved in to fill the Secretary position, previously held by Mary Yarrington (now Fun Chair).  Jennifer’s doing a great job in her first few months on the board and we’re so glad to have her.  Welcome, Jennifer!

How long have you been in Austin?
I’ve been in Austin my whole life: born and raised.

Why did you join the Friends of Barton Springs Pool?
I joined FBSP to help make a positive difference at Barton Springs.

What do you do during the day?
I’m a nursing student at Concordia University.

What does Barton Springs Pool mean to you?
Barton Springs is a state of mind where you can always find a friend and a relaxing moment.
Continue reading “Board Member Profile: Jennifer Malone”

2nd Annual Treeathlon a Splashing Good Time

Enjoying post-Treeathlon burritos

On a beautiful Austin Spring day on April 30, 2011, the Second Annual Barton Springs Pool Treeathlon was held to celebrate and support Barton Springs Pool.  By all accounts, the Treeathlon was truly a blast.  We had a larger turnout of “treeathletes” this year with lots of families and young kids trying out their first triathlon-type event and really enjoying the opportunity to splash across the pool and trot around Zilker Park in this semi-silly fundraising event.

After a rousing a capella rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, Council Member Laura Morrison led eighty-plus participants in a short swim across the Pool and helped folks up the steps.  Participants then hopped on their bicycles for quick loop around Zilker Park, and then ran around the Polo Field to the finish line party at the Moonlight Tower.  Down the final run stretch, treeathletes were inspired by the enthusiastic drum and percussion music from Rhythmic Force.  After this daunting athletic endeavor, participants enjoyed piles of donuts, root beer drinks from Maine Root, coffee from Caffé Medici, burritos from Freeb!rds World Burrito, and a keg or two of fine beer from Saint Arnold’s Brewing Company.  The festive and fun finish line party was made possible by the generous donations from these fine local businesses, so please support them.

In addition to the day’s fun, the Treeathlon raised almost $15,000 for the Barton Springs Pool which will go toward improvements at Barton Springs Pool, including efforts to restore the original rotunda entrance to the Bathhouse and other pool-related work of Friends of Barton Springs Pool.  The success of the event would not have been possible without the generous financial support from Save Barton Creek Association, our Grand Tree-ty Oak sponsor, as well as the generous support from Vinson & Elkins, Hamilton & Terrile, Sheridan and Perry Lorenz, Barton Place Condos, Meridian Solar, Silicon Labs, Abe Cutter, HDR Engineering, and many other generous sponsors.  We are truly grateful for their support for Barton Springs Pool.

President’s Report

Volunteers on the Earth Day broom line

April was a frantic month for FBSP.  It’s the month of Earth Week and the Treeathlon.  And our regular activities didn’t stop.

Everyone who’s my age (okay, no comments from the peanut gallery) remembers the first Earth Day in 1970.  It was the first spring after astronauts stood on the moon and looked up at our home planet.  That was the spring that I got active in the environmental movement.  A lot of things started that day.  Things are still starting on that day.

Last year Hill Country Conservancy started a whole week of events called Earth Week.  They offered FBSP the honor of participating, and we have done it with enthusiasm.  This year, Tom Weber and I recruited businesses (Alamo Draft House, Zax Pints & Plates, Red’s Porch, and Strange Brew Coffee) to donate funds on the Give 5 for Mother Earth.  Jonathan Beall organized and led a special Earth Day Springs Cleaning Party.  Emma Cravey got the message out.

Councilmember Laura Morrison kicks off the Treeathlon

On top of that, Mike Cannatti (and his estimable wife Ann Phipps) threw a heck of an event with the second annual FBSP Treeathlon.  This fun family romp raised about $15,000 for the pool, meeting our goal to double the amount raised last year.  The work that goes into this event is huge, and just about every member of the board (and many other members) lent a hand.

Continue reading “President’s Report”

Thank You Members for Your Support!

The Friends of Barton Springs Pool Annual Donation Letter was sent out at the end of March. The letter highlighted the events and achievements of FBSP for 2010 while also highlighting the goals for 2011. We sent out approximately 275 letters and quite a few of you responded. To date we have received $795 in donations from the mailing.  Thank you so much for your support!

These donations will be put to good use whether it is buying new equipment for cleanings, helping to fund the central rotunda project, or purchasing foods and supplies for the cleanings and other FBSP sponsored events.

The Friends of Barton Springs Pool would like to extend our gratitude to all of our members, especially those that participated in the donation letter fundraising drive.

If you forgot to mail your donation back or did not receive a letter you can always log onto, click on the donation tab, and follow the directions to donate online or you can simply mail a check to P.O. Box 685286; Austin, TX 78768-5286.

P.S. If you did not receive a donation letter there is a good chance we do not have your current address. If you need to update your address please email it to