Stephenville beauty

All about keeping Stephenville beautiful


KSB and Earth Day 2022

Stephenville is such a special place for college students and residents alike, and taking care of our town is a top priority for many people who live here. Including one very special organization that has been responsible for many of the projects in downtown Stephenville and even the Bosque River Trail. The Stephenville chapter of Keep Texas Beautiful (a.k.a Keep Stephenville Beautiful) has paved the way since 2009. 

It was a late spring afternoon in 2009 when Janet Whitely called up her friend Metta Collier. Whitely had an idea that was sure to spark Collier’s interest, after all they both had a lot of time on their hands and were looking to make a difference within the Stephenville community. Whitely had decided she wanted to start a group called Keep Stephenville Beautiful, there main mission was just that, to improve and preserve the beauty of the town. Whitely and Collier spent the rest of 2009 getting the group together, hosting membership drives, doing loads of paperwork, and obtaining 501c3 status. 

By 2010, they were official. They still needed sponsors and members to kickstart their Stephenville beautification plans and luckily, Tarleton State had their back. Daron Trussell, who was an assistant director of recreation at the time, hopped onto the KSB board. After that, they began making a list of all the projects they wanted to complete around Stephenville. 

One of the first projects that KSB completed was the park benches you may notice around the downtown square. These benches were donated often by private donors and companies. One bench was even donated by KSB members in honor of their founder, Janet Whitely, after her passing.  Another one of the first projects that KSB started was the trash receptacles downtown. KSB is also responsible for the flowerbeds in front of the courthouse. Collier mentioned in her interview that before KSB put in the benches, trash cans, and flowerbeds, downtown Stephenville wasn’t all that pretty or welcoming. At one point, it was a stark contrast to the bustling hub of shops that it is today. 

Dr. Jill Burk is a current member of KSB and offered some insight into what KSB is like in meetings and what projects are currently in the works. Burk mentioned that the most notable fundraising effort to date that KSB is contributing to is the inclusive playground build. The new inclusive playground is not yet finished but it is located along the Bosque River Trail in town. Over the past two years, through raffles and other fundraising efforts, KSB has donated over 10,000 dollars to the city of Stepehnville for use in building this inclusive playground so that even children experiencing disability can have somewhere to play and be kids. 

Burk explained that KSB has many partnerships with companies all over Stephenville. Such as Habitat for Humanity where for each new house built KSB provides the landscaping, a great gift for those in need. Another organization KSB partners with is our very own Tarleton State University. Participating in events like Round-Up day where students have the ability to give back to the community. When asked what her favorite part about participating in KSB was she said, “Partnerships that make a difference! Our board works well together and accomplishes

much. Because of KSB’s partnerships with various community organizations, our impact

is amplified,” stated Burk. 

One of the upcoming projects that KSB is organizing is wildflower seed bombs. “For Earth Day we are preparing Wildflower Seed Bomb Kits that will be given to

Stephenville Independent School District first and second graders. The children will take

the kits home and can make their own seed bombs with the instructions and supplies

Provided,” said Burk. This awesome activity will help promote the idea of taking care of the Earth by emphasizing the need to plant and grow flowers that are native to Texas, thus not introducing more invasive species that put the native plants in danger of extinction. 

For those interested, there are many ways to get involved with KSB. Metta Collier suggested calling the City of Stephenville Parks and Recreation Department and mentioning that you would like to volunteer with KSB. The number for Parks and Rec is (254) 918-1295, and they are in office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are located at 378 W. Long Street in Stephenville. Burk states that they have worked with numerous individual Tarleton State University students throughout the years and often rely on them for jobs like public relations and even serving as board members.