Giving Back
April 4, 2023

Circuit of The Americas supports the Development of Violet Crown Trail Whirlpool Patio

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Circuit of The Americas commitment to environmental sustainability can now be publicly experienced thanks to the completion of a partner project with local nonprofit Hill Country Conservancy (HCC). Along the Violet Crown Trail, the Whirlpool Patio educational center officially welcoming individuals and families to come to experience the magic and wonder of nature.

On Saturday, April 1, HCC hosted the grand opening of the Whirlpool Patio located at the intersection of Latta Drive and Convict Hill Road on the Violet Crown Trail. Local community members listened on as Mayor Pro Tem Paige Ellis, Chief Executive Officer of Hill Country Conservancy Kathy Miller, and representatives from other partners and sponsors like Austin Public Works & Transportation Department and Austin Water who recounted the three years of developing this innovative space. Post the celebratory remarks and ribbon cutting, attendees were the first to see all the space has to offer and received surprise giveaways and enjoyed a meet and greet with rescued and rehabilitated bats. And, just as rare as the endangered species it preserves, attendees had the unique opportunity to explore their way through the Whirlpool Cave.

“It’s so important to preserve the beautiful green spaces that make Austin such a unique place in Texas. I want visitors and residents to get to experience Austin this way and continue learning about how we sustain our ecosystem. We’re proud to have helped complete this project and look forward to watching it impact generations to come, “says COTA’s Chairman and Founder Bobby Epstein.

COTA’s financial support of the project helped with the Whirlpool Patio structure and the creation of interpretive elements for the Patio, including a cave mural, educational panels, and a salamander sculpture. COTA’s and HCC’s vision and teamwork also helped define the principal interpretive theme of the space: “Travelling the Violet Crown Trail, we are passing over a hidden world of ecological wonders and the source of life-giving water that makes living in this rugged but fragile landscape possible.”

Formed in 1999, Hill Country Conservancy is the singular professional conservation organization diligently working to preserve open space in the Barton Springs Aquifer region. Central Texas has doubled in size since 1980, and the region is expected to continue its rapid growth. Aware of the environmental impacts of exponential population growth, HCC’s mission is to preserve vital natural resources through conservation, community collaboration, and engagement to sustain the region now and forever.

In line with HCC’s focus on working closely with local Austin developers and city planners, HCC partnered with Public Works to further promote smart growth in the region. Located on the Violet Crown Trail, Public Works installed the Whirlpool Patio, and HCC claimed accountability for developing expanded interpretive elements to enhance the local community’s experience.

“Connection to nature, recreation opportunities for the entire family, and exploring unique aspects of the Hill Country are at the heart of the Violet Crown Trail experience. By building the Whirlpool Patio and Education Center, Hill Country Conservancy and our partners at the City of Austin and Circuit of The Americas have created an engaging place for our community to learn about and interact with the unique ecology and geography found in the Hill Country. As our region is one of the fastest growing in the nation, only a conservation-minded community will be able to protect our beautiful Texas Hill Country for future generations to enjoy,” said Kathy Miller, Chief Executive Officer of Hill Country Conservancy.

Plans for the Whirlpool Patio are already in motion with families and local schools encouraged to utilize the space. See it for yourself on your next walk along the Violet Crown Trail!

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