The Roots & Wings Festival: The Making of a Community-Wide Celebration of Urban Nature


The 6th annual Roots & Wings Festival, which kicks off October 18 and runs through November 5, 2023, is a three-week celebration of Austin’s urban forest and the pollinators, plants and animals who call it home. The seeds of this special event are planted long before the incredible, family-friendly events start happening across Austin.

Image: A transformative experience in the trees.

The Development Services Department Urban Forest Team partners, which include previous festival volunteers, a community engagement working group and a select group of staff, begin recruiting community event hosts beginning in April. Event hosts, once accepted, plan free community engagements inside the city limits that align with the festival’s purpose, connect members of the community to one another and to nature, and offer programming that considers equity, accessibility, cultural diversity and zero-waste principles. The Urban Forest Team enjoys an ongoing partnership with many of these hosts. This year, nearly half of the individuals are repeat participants.

Image: Young woman gets close and personal with a butterfly at the Roots & Wings Festival.

Each Roots & Wings Festival event is wonderfully unique. Attendees can look forward to creek walks, educational presentations by naturalists, themed activities, arts and crafts, kid’s tree climbs, scavenger hunts, and even a boat ride to view Austin’s bats! The fun-filled gatherings are often enjoyed by participants who take part while wearing fabulous, nature-inspired costumes.

Amanii Luper, the Roots & Wings Festival coordinator, shared what the event means to her.

Our connection to nature is extremely important to my family and I, from the practicality of nature’s gifts to the emotional and spiritual aspects of life. So, to be afforded the opportunity to honor Mother Earth in this way is extremely rewarding and it furthers my personal mission of helping awareness spread across the community. Growing and protecting the health of Austin’s urban forest requires a longstanding commitment. The Roots & Wings Festival is intended to get people excited about that commitment and to grow their understanding of how the urban forest benefits every living thing in our community.

Carve out an afternoon to relish the beauty of our natural environment. Attend one, or many Roots & Wings Festival events near you.