At Fredericksburg SHINES we are on a mission to help Fredericksburg and the surrounding area lead the state in sustainable practices.
In early 2013 a handful of individuals interested in seeing a more sustainable community, founded Fredericksburg SHINES, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable living with the mission to help make Fredericksburg and the surrounding area a center for sustainable practices in the state of Texas.
One of the original founders of Fredericksburg SHINES is John Watson. John is a native Texan and a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University’s business school. In 1997 he moved to Chicago after completing graduate studies at Wheaton College and serving for 12 years as an associate pastor at First Evangelical Free Church, a diverse urban congregation. His life-changing experience with environmental stewardship in Chicago led him to bring these practices to his home state of Texas. For Watson it all began with the reading of The Suicidal Planet: How to Prevent Global Climate Catastrophe by Mayer Hillman, et al., which brought him to the realization that the environment is in serious danger. He decided to act decisively and make a positive difference. So, he gathered together a few like-minded individuals from his congregation and formed a Green Team and began discussions on green living. Their starting point was a book by J. Matthew Sleeth titled Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action. Their meetings evolved from a book study into a forum for discussing practical ways to apply these concepts to individual lives, their church and their community.
According to Watson, “Real change took place at our church. Our church’s facility director agreed to place recycling bins in our buildings. Our Green Team organized an e-cycle (electronic recycling event) for our church. We filled up an entire van of used electronics and transported them to a city recycling center. In the winter, the church sponsored a Green Sunday and educated the congregation about caring for God’s creation. Green Team members also shared their experiences of new habits that they were embracing in their everyday life to improve the environment.
“Our Green Team began sponsoring events for the community. We began with a neighborhood cleanup. Two months later we sponsored an outdoor booth at our community Midsommarfest. A month later we organized a joint freecycle/e-cycle event. The following month we led an Urban Composting Workshop. In the fall we launched a new yearlong Green Urban Living class for the church and for the community, and the following winter hosted an Indoor Farmers Market.”
Watson moved to Fredericksburg, in the Texas Hill Country, in 2009 and began putting energy into sustainable solutions and projects bringing positive changes to the local environment and community through his business, Green Living for the Hill Country (GLCH) and the non-profit, Fredericksburg CARES. After four years he decided to close GLCH, and helped found Fredericksburg SHINES, along with Michael Hurst, a local green builder, and Walter Moldenhauer, a local green architect. As of 2015 the board of directors has expanded to 11 members.
Fredericksburg SHINES believes our local community needs: Cleaner energy sources, cleaner and quieter transportation vehicles, smarter water usage, thoughtful stewardship of the earth from our faith community, safer streets for non-motorists, and less waste going to our local landfill.
Contact us and learn about Fredericksburg SHINES and our key sustainability initiatives for the surrounding area. Attend one of our educational workshops or forums. Educating the public about sustainability is our driving ambition. If you are able, please volunteer with our all volunteer organization and join the effort to make Fredericksburg and the surrounding area the center of sustainability in Texas!