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2015 Year in Review

Happy New Year!

As 2015 winds down, we’re taking a moment to look back over a year well spent. Some people say that life resembles a river, and if that’s so, Whole Earth Provision Co. has had quite a ride this year. There have been beautiful scenic stretches, parties on the water and even some rapids to add spice to the adventure.

We’ve supported and hosted events large and small in all of our cities, some of which you’ve come to associate with Whole Earth: April is Texas State Park Month and the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, Earth Day celebrations, Chaco Gives Back, and climbing competitions like the Granite Gripper. Other events were one-time responses to natural disasters like the Oxfam Nepal Recovery Fund Drive and Coming Home and Giving Back in response to the Memorial Day weekend floods.

Whole Earth is proud to be a presence in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Southlake and to support our community in each city. Generally speaking, we work with groups helping to preserve and restore the environment here in Texas. But we also support other organizations working to make life better for those in need in our cities.

Some events involve all of our stores. The largest by far is our April is Texas State Park Month, a fund drive to support Texas State Parks. Funds were also raised from the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour and Radical Reels in Austin during the month of April. The four year total for these two fundraisers is over $118,000. We thank you for your generous support of our State Parks.

This is also the fourth year we’ve sponsored the New Toy and Kids Book Drive. The beneficiaries were Manos de Cristo in Austin; the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center; the Star of Hope Mission in Houston; the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas in San Antonio and GRACE, the Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange in Southlake.

In response to the devastating earthquakes in Nepal, Whole Earth customers across the state generously donated over $17,700 to our Nepal Recovery Fund Drive. The money was given to Oxfam America and was one of the largest single donations that the group received for Nepal Relief.

Chaco Gives Back, supporting the Friends of Enchanted Rock, and Dansko Days, supporting the Texas Land Conservancy are now regular events on our Whole Earth calendar. They raise funds for these outstanding groups devoted to preserving iconic and endangered Texas landscapes. All of these statewide events have been successful thanks to your generous support.

Whole Earth has offered its support for special events and organizations including the Texas Nature Conservancy, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s Stewards of the Wild, the Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest, and the Granite Gripper climbing competition that supports the Friends of Enchanted Rock.

In 2015, Whole Earth supported Proyecto Espeleológico Sistema Huautla or PESH, an international group of deep cave explorers, primarily from the United States and Mexico, devoted to the exploration and scientific documentation of Sistema Huautla, the deepest cave in the Western Hemisphere. We’ve had an abiding interest in caving throughout our history. A member of our Whole Earth family was part of Huautla expeditions in 1966 and 1967. This year, Whole Earth provided the expedition with two GoPro Cameras, batteries and mounts, fuel for camp stoves, and small items, both useful and fun, for children in the communities near the cave system.


On Earth Day in Austin Whole Earth donated 5% of the day’s Austin sales to the Give 5% to Mother Earth campaign. The funds raised help to support the Austin Parks Foundation, Hill Country Conservancy, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Texas Land Conservancy and the Shoal Creek Conservancy. Our North Lamar store hosted the kick-off event for the day with short talk by Austin City Council member, Leslie Pool, Chairman of the Open Space, Environment & Sustainability Committee.

Whole Earth has participated in HAAM Benefit Day for each of its ten years. A portion of the day’s sales are designated for HAAM – the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. We hosted Phoenix Down at our Campus store. The band has a strong Whole Earth connection – lead singer, lyricist and bassist, Eric Logue-Sargeant also manages the Campus store. Our Westgate store hosted Hard Proof, a group that fuses sounds from sub-Saharan Africa with jazz and deep funk. Westgate was rocking until the heavens opened up and ended the performance early with a deluge.

Memorial Day 2015 was one to remember for Whole Earthlings. Several days of rain combined with an intense downpour, sent Shoal Creek out of its banks and into our North Lamar store. When the flood waters receded, the store was left with a deep layer of mud, water-logged merchandise and ruined walls. Once the store was emptied of damaged merchandise, the cleanup and remodeling began. The store reopened in mid-October with a new, more open and light-filled look. To celebrate, we sponsored Coming Home, Giving Back, a fundraiser for The Barnabas Connection which is aiding the Memorial Day Weekend flood victims in the Wimberley Valley and for The Shoal Creek Conservancy. As a part of the reopening events, we also hosted a TreeFolks Sapling Giveaway.

Whole Earth also supported Keep Austin Beautiful, Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center’s Children in Nature program, the Save Barton Creek Association, the Gazelle Foundation’s Run for the Water, Manos de Cristo, and the Settlement Club.


Whole Earth took part in Earth Day Texas, the largest Earth Day celebration in Texas, and Dallas Pride Festival. We love White Rock Lake and a group of Whole Earth employees did their part to help in the White Rock Lake Cleanup. We also took part in the Cedar Ridge Hike-a-thon, the Dallas Down River Club showing of Reel Paddling and the University of North Texas’ showing of Reel Rock. We have also supported Trinity River Audubon, the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and the Genesis Women’s Shelter.


It was a busy weekend in April that found us at Earth Day Houston and the Sam Houston Area Boy Scout Council’s Scout Fair. Whole Earth also took part in Bellaire Recycles Fest, Woodland Park’s National Trail Day event, and Big Brothers Big Sister’s Big Taste of Houston. We have also supported the Bayou Land Conservancy, Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program and the Star of Hope Mission.

San Antonio

San Antonio River Authority’s Get Outdoors! is one of our favorite events in the city. We also took part in the Fest of Tails, El Chupacabra de San Antonio Run, and the Helotes Humane Society’s 5K. We supported KLRN-TV’s Blazing Gavels Auction, as well as the UTSA’s Outdoor Pursuit program, the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio, the Family Violence Prevention Services of San Antonio, the San Antonio Police Officers, Blue Cares Outreach program, and the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas.


We had a great time at Green Fest, where we, along with our SmartWool reps, gave away SmartWool socks! Whole Earth also supports the Bob Jones Nature Center, the Mid-Cities Care Corps, the Carroll Education Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America Circle 10 Xperience, and GRACE, the Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange.

Here’s to an even better 2016!

Stocking Stuffers That Work!

Stocking Stuffers That Work!

Whether you’re on the last lap or you’re just beginning your holiday shopping, we have a few ideas to help you fill your Christmas stockings with items that are both useful and fun to receive.

Let’s start with handy items that can live on a keychain: tiny flashlights and Victorinox Classic SD knives. Keychain size LED lights make it easy to find keyholes or read menus in restaurants with 'atmosphere'. The keychain size Swiss Army knife has seven tools that they’ll be glad to have should they face a MacGyver moment away from home.

Headlamps are a great gift for all ages. They can shine a bright light on projects or on the trail or in any situation where you need light and you need to have your hands free. Kids love them for exploring and for reading at bedtime.

Kikkerland makes lots of useful potential stocking stuffers. One of our favorites is the Precision 8 in 1 Screwdriver. These are tiny Phillips and Flathead bits with a driver that can be used for eyeglasses, watches and small electronics.

Moleskine notebooks as well as planners and diaries for 2015 are a welcome addition to any stocking. They come in a variety of sizes and formats that are sure to be appreciated by the writers and organized humans on your shopping list.

Want to add color to their Christmas stocking? How about some beautiful socks? Whole Earth has amazingly comfortable socks that come in a variety of patterns, colors, styles and sizes for all ages.

These are just a few of our useful stocking stuffers. Stop by your favorite Whole Earth store to see these and many more stocking stuffers for every stocking on your list.

Whole Earthlings Celebrate Mother’s Day

At Whole Earth Provision Co. our amazing staff members have lots of ways to make sure that their Moms have a special day. How do we know? We asked! Here are a few of our family traditions.

As you might expect, getting outdoors is high on the list of Whole Earth Mothers’ Day activities. Family picnics, day hikes and visits to public gardens are very popular. If you don’t already have a favorite picnic spot, this might be a great time to begin the search for that special place. Be sure to take a kite or two. Flag Pole Hill in Dallas and Zilker Park in Austin are two of our favorite spots to have a picnic and fly a kite. And don’t forget to take your camera. Some Whole Earth families make it a point to take a family photo every year on Mothers’ Day. Mom is often the family photographer, so be sure that she’s in this photo!

Many Whole Earth Moms love gardens and gardening. The Dallas Arboretum was mentioned several times as a favorite Mothers’ Day destination. This is a wonderful time of year for visiting public gardens in Texas as roses and many native plants are still in bloom. Helping Mom in her own garden is another way we celebrate. Planting flowers that attract bees and butterflies, helping to take care of organic gardens and mini orchards and creating beautiful landscapes are just a few of the ways that some Whole Earthlings spend time together with their Moms.

Maybe your Mom has a favorite State Park! Hiking, biking, swimming, canoeing, exploring and just hanging out is a great way to enjoy Mothers’ Day. One Whole Earth family heads off to Dinosaur Valley State Park every year. The Texas State Parks website is a great resource for finding State Parks close to home.

Some Whole Earth Mom’s begin their day with breakfast in bed prepared by the kids, while some families head off to Mom’s favorite restaurant for a Mothers’ day brunch or dinner. For others, it’s a party! The generations gather for a feast featuring all the family’s favorite foods. Afterwards, the Dads take charge of the kids so that the Moms can relax and enjoy their special day together.

Does Mom have a favorite game that everyone can play? One Whole Earth family has an annual Farkel tournament to celebrate Mothers’ Day. Others play classic yard games like Croquet or Badminton. One Whole Earthling Mom is an artist. On Mothers’ Day, mother and daughter find a beautiful spot and spend the day painting together.

If you won’t be seeing your Mom on Mothers’ Day, don’t forget to take time to call or Skype. This is a great time to ask some family history questions or to request a favorite family recipe.

For some of us, our mothers are no longer living. But we can still celebrate our happy memories and abiding love. One Whole Earthling wrote:

Since I was a young man, whenever I was away from home, I would keep a travel journal. I would send post cards, from places both exotic and mundane. The one constant in that exercise of communicating through writing thoughts and feelings, observations and experiences, was that I always sent a card to my Mother, if no one else. It was she who taught me to write; to let people who mattered to me know how I felt about them; to keep in touch by sharing experiences; and to send thank you notes written in my own hand. It is the simple act of writing with a single confidant in mind: one who inspires me. One who quite literally gave me my voice, a meditation, if you will.

My mother passed in 1994, 19 years ago. Every Mother’s Day, I find a time to open my journal, read a few things to her out loud. My backyard, a knoll beside the river, the cemetery, a bathroom on a bus speeding across the Atacama desert in Chile have all served as a podium for me to share with her. Happy Mothers’ Day, Lula Bell.

And a Happy Mother’s Day to all of you from Whole Earth!

Texas Parks & Wildlife 2014 Photography Contest

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Do you have a favorite photo that was taken in one of our Texas State Parks? Perhaps it’s the view from Enchanted Rock or the rim of Palo Duro Canyon, or treasured snapshots of family fun while gathered around a picnic table at Dinosaur Valley, paddling at Caddo Lake or building sandcastles on Mustang Island. Find those favorite photos or to take some new ones, because Texas State Parks is sponsoring the Picture Yourself in Texas State Parks Photo Contest.

Each month Texas Parks & Wildlife features an Outdoor Activity of the Month, and in March 2014, it’s Photography Month. To encourage you to head out to a State Park and start taking pictures, TP&W is sponsoring a photography contest with three categories and three prizes. The categories are: Ages 17 and Under; Ages 18 and Over; and Instagram (for all ages) with the hashtag #myparkpic. If your photo is declared one of the three winners, you’ll receive a Hero3+ GoPro Camera, courtesy of Whole Earth Provision Co.!

The contest begins March 1 and runs through April 15th. The winning photos will be chosen by a team of Texas Parks & Wildlife photographers and staff. The winning photos will be published in Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine. All photos submitted will be available for reuse in Texas Parks & Wildlife publications and materials.

Here are links to the contest rules and last year’s winners.

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Looking Back at 2013

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In true Whole Earth fashion, we had a bloomin’ good time in 2013. There’s a New Year on our horizon – 365 days just waiting to blossom, each with its own beauty, challenges and fun! But before we turn away from 2013, let’s take a quick look at where we’ve been. In this past year, Whole Earth Provision Co. took part in more events around Texas than ever before and while remaining deeply rooted in our Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Southlake communities. We’re strong supporters of groups working to preserve and restore the environment and volunteers from our stores have helped clean up local rivers and parks and taught outdoor education classes for children and teens. So let’s revisit a few of the events we’ve sponsored, and non-profit groups, large and small, that we’ve supported. Hope we’ll see you in the coming year!

Texas Park Rangers visit our stores during April is Texas State Parks Month

Texas Park Rangers visit our stores during April is Texas State Parks Month

• Big Bend Ultra
   – the best trail race in a National Park.
• April is Texas State Parks Month
   – Fundraising for our Texas State Parks with the
      Banff World Tour and Radical Reels Film Festival
• Earth Day
   – We celebrated in four cities!
• Chaco Gives Back
   – Raising funds for the Friends of Enchanted Rock
• Patagonia Advocacy Weeks
   – Raising funds for Audubon Texas
• New Toy and Kids’ Book Drive
   – brightening the holidays for disadvantage children

Try-On a Pair of Clarks Shoes & Win!

Clarks Try-On Event

Come experience ultimate comfort and walk away a winner! Stop by a participating Whole Earth Provision Co. store and try on a pair of Clarks shoes for your chance to win some great prizes. Reps will be on hand to show off our new Clarks footwear selection and give pointers for choosing the right shoe for you. So come in, try on some shoes, and walk away a winner with some cool swag from Clarks.

Below are event dates and times at select stores. Each city has event days planned, so everyone can have a chance to win, no matter which city you call home.

clarks try on event.
North Lamar Store
Thursday, Nov. 14th, from Noon to 6:00pm

Westgate Store
Friday, Nov. 15th, from Noon to 6:00pm

Preston Forest Store
Friday, Nov. 15th, from Noon to 6:00pm

Mockingbird Store
Saturday, Nov. 16th, from 11:00am to 4:00pm

Post Oak Store
Friday, Nov. 15th, from Noon to 6:00pm

Shepherd Store
Saturday, Nov. 16th, from 11:00am to 4:00pm

San Antonio Store
Saturday, Nov. 16th, from 11:00am to 4:00pm
Southlake Store
Thursday, Nov. 14th, from Noon to 6:00pm

Celebrating Marie

Whole Earth Home Office with Social Media Maven, Marie!

Whole Earth Home Office with Social Media Maven, Marie!

Last week we said our fond farewells to our Maven of Social Media, Marie. She is moving on to exciting new adventures in California. And in true Whole Earth fashion, we had a party to say goodbye. Our ice cream social was filled with hugs, tears, shared memories and many, many good wishes.

Marie began her career with Whole Earth eight years ago as a staff member at our North Lamar store in Austin. She became a Buyer’s Assistant and later led Whole Earth’s venture into the realm of Social Media. Her enthusiasm for the fast moving world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms was infectious. She read white papers, studied the acknowledged leaders in the field for ideas, got caught up in the heady world of SXSW Interactive, and thrived as the face of Social Media for Whole Earth.

As anyone who has met Marie will tell you, she glows with energy, intelligence, good humor and beauty. Her interests are many: design, fashion, photography, climbing, acroyoga, dancing and, in general, having a grand time at work and at play. She will be greatly missed.

November’s Full Moon and Bill Nye


photo: memekiller

Today we celebrate a fortuitous conjunction – November’s Full Moon and the birthday of Bill Nye The Science Guy! Bill made science fun for all ages. So if you’re in need a refresher on the phases of the moon, tides, eclipses and lunar origins, cue up episode 11 “The Moon” and reprise one of the best theme songs ever.

And don’t forget, lunar is the root of lunacy!

TreeFolks Sapling Giveaway – Austin Westgate!

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Mexican Oak image

win a six foot Mexican Oak!

Goldenball Leadtree image

Goldenball Leadtree
(Leucaena retusa)

Pecan Tree image

(Carya illinoinensis)

Bur Oak Tree image

Bur Oak
(Quercas macrocarpa)

Carolina Buckthorn Tree image

Carolina Buckthorn
(Rhamnus caroliniana)
TreeFolks Logo

TreeFolks, a group dedicated to growing Austin’s urban forests, will be giving away saplings at our Austin – Westgate store (4477 South Lamar) on Saturday, November 10th from noon to 2pm. This year, Treefolks will be offering Goldenball Leadtree, Pecan, Bur Oak and Carolina Buckthorn saplings for planting. Approximately 300 saplings will be given away. You can also enter a drawing to win a six foot, container-grown Mexican White Oak!

Across the country Arbor Day is usually a Springtime event, but here in Central Texas Fall is the best time of year to plant trees. Cooler weather gives trees a chance to develop their root systems before being blasted by the summer heat. You may ask, why plant trees when we seem to be living in a time of perpetual drought? First of all, these trees are natives and have been chosen for their drought and heat tolerance. They will need to be watered – about one and a half gallons a week – but this amount can be easily captured from your morning shower or veggie washing water. Secondly, when it does rain, these trees provide a net gain for the water cycle, helping to recharge ground water and to slow and clean runoff.

Trees are vital in reducing the urban heat island effect. On a hot summer day, streets, roofs and parking lots can be 50 to 90 degrees hotter than the air, while shaded surfaces remain close to air temperature. All these super-heated streets and parking lots can increase average temperatures within the city by as much as five degrees Fahrenheit. Strategically planting trees to shade streets, sidewalks and roofs is one of the best ways to help keep our city cooler.

Since 1989, Treefolks volunteers have planted more than 250,000 trees in the Austin schools, parks, medians, right of ways, community gardens and greenbelts. These trees help preserve Austin’s quality of life by cooling the air, cleaning precious water and providing an urban forest that keeps Austin green and in touch with the natural world. To learn more about TreeFolks, their volunteer programs, classes and sapling giveaways visit their website.

Perplexus Tour 2012

Perplexus Tour 2012 visits Whole Earth Provision Co. at Westgate

Think you’re a whiz with Perplexus? Are you the family champ? The fastest through the 3-D maze among your friends? Well, here’s your chance to put your Perplexus skills to the test against other Austin “champs” of all ages. Never played with a Perplexus? Come try it out and get hints from the professionals.

The Perplexus team is coming to Austin with arms full of the challenging 3-D mazes. Team members will be at our Westgate store on South Lamar handing out prizes to the winners of Speed Tests and other competitions that add a whole new dimension of fun to this enticing puzzle. And as our thank you, the Westgate staff will hand out Whole Earth gift certificates to all Perplexus contestants.

Remember the little flat plastic mazes where you rolled a tiny silver ball from start to finish? The Perplexus is a sphere and adds another dimension to the movement of the ball – rotation! The tracks are inventive and challenging and will have you twisting and turning your way to the end. You’ll be thinking several steps ahead anticipating the marble’s next move. Watch out for the strategically placed barriers or you might get thrown off track! It’s a great game for sharing, even if you don’t exactly want to . . . don’t say we didn’t warn you! It’s great for get-togethers with family or friends, road trips and rainy days (may we have some!). There are three Perplexus puzzles, the Original, the Rookie and the Epic, for different skill levels.

So come join us on the patio in front of the Westgate Whole Earth store as we roll out the misters and the canopies for this Austin exclusive event!

Event details
Whole Earth Provision Co. – Westgate
Westgate Shopping Center
4477 South Lamar Blvd.
Austin, Tx 78745


July 6th, 2012
12pm – 5pm