Julie Sondecker – the self-proclaimed “unofficial” Trash Hike Queen of Austin, Texas – is taking over the Keep America Beautiful Instagram account this Earth Day week to challenge followers to do their part and pick up trash.
Julie is a native Texan and has lived in Austin for 10 years. In 2010, Julie stumbled upon one of Austin’s hidden gems, the Barton Creek Green Belt, and fell in love. Several years later while out for a hike on May 30, 2017, Julie came across some trash left behind by Memorial Day partiers and a fire was lit inside her. That fateful hike is what started her @365DaysOfHiking movement, in which Julie also pledged to pick up trash every single day, rain or shine, sick or healthy, after work or on vacation, for an entire year to help spread awareness of the litter and consumption problems we face in our country, while pledging to do something about them.
In addition to completing her goal on May 30, 2018, she extended her journey and completed 500 total trash hikes by 2019.
Julie is also an active volunteer of the Keep Texas Beautiful network. In early 2019, she was invited to join the Board of Directors for Keep Austin Beautiful, where she now helps bring together Austinites of all ages to help beautify the city’s green spaces and water ways and learn how to reduce waste.
Starting on Monday, April 22, Julie will kick off her takeover of the Keep America Beautiful Instagram where she will be posting her daily litter finds (featuring her infamous mesh bags) and documenting her hiking adventures on Stories. Together, we are encouraging followers to participate in the challenge by picking up litter while hiking (or walking) for seven consecutive days starting on Earth Day and concluding on Sunday, April 28. Participants can share their activity on Instagram with the hashtag #KABtrashhike.