Amy Wells is the Executive Director of Keep Lewisville Beautiful and this October marks her 18th year with the organization. When she’s not working, Wells has interests in paleontology, reading science fiction, and crafts.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I grew up here in Lewisville, graduating from LHS in 2004. I graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA in Philosophy in 2009. I live here in Lewisville with my husband, two very busy kids, and three (yes, three) cats. In my spare time, I enjoy fossil hunting, hiking, kayaking, embroidery, and crafting. With my friends and family, I have become sort of the “dinosaur lady” due to my interest in paleontology and fossil hunting. My neighborhood refers to us as the dinosaur house, as I have more than 27 dinosaur inflatables that we put out for various holidays. In my spare time I volunteer as a local girl scout leader for fourth and fifth graders, and I help mentor other local “Keep Beautiful” affiliates. I am also a member of the Dallas Paleontological Society, and recently helped clean the dinosaur tracks at Glen Rose which was an amazing once in a lifetime experience.
What is your role as Executive Director of Keep Lewisville Beautiful?
I have a variety of roles as Executive Director of Keep Lewisville Beautiful. Primarily, I oversee the organization, plan and implement programs/events, and manage volunteers. Between special events, I manage programs, community classes, and coordinate monthly volunteer opportunities. I also help with fundraising, grant writing, coordinating tree and wildflower plantings, educational outreach, and more. There is always something to do, which makes my day-to-day job exciting and different. In addition to my daily activities, I also work with an all-volunteer board of directors who help guide KLB’s vision and programs. It is my job to bring their vision and ideas to life, while making sure we stay true to our mission to “engage the citizens of Lewisville through service and education to enhance their community environment."
What is your favorite part about working in Lewisville?
My favorite part about working in Lewisville is the people. I have met so many wonderful and interesting volunteers who make a difference every day in our community. When we put out a call for volunteers, we have hundreds of people who reach out who are ready to help pick up trash or plant trees, who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. We work with schools, churches, businesses, civic groups, families, and more, all who want to give back. We have a wonderful community pride and spirit in Lewisville, and it shows through the thousands of people who engage with our programs and events each year to improve our local environment.
How did you know this career was something you wanted to pursue?
Keep Lewisville Beautiful, or nonprofit management, was not really in my original career plan. When I graduated high school, I needed a part-time job to help pay for my college books. I volunteered with KLB while in school, and when I saw that they were looking for an administrative assistant, I applied because I wanted to do something that made a difference but also challenged me. Keep Lewisville Beautiful changed my career path completely, as I fell in love with the organization and the people involved in it. I was offered the Executive Director position in 2010. Working for a nonprofit is different because you wear so many different hats. I have to be able to pivot and be what is needed that particular day — grant writer, researcher, strategic planner, admin, manager, and even sometimes the volunteer! I enjoy working with volunteers and getting to know them. I enjoy being able to plan events and projects and see them through to the end. This October marks my 18th anniversary with Keep Lewisville Beautiful, and though it is not what I had originally envisioned as my career path, I know it is where I belong and where I can make a difference in the community that I love.
Where is your favorite place to spend time in Lewisville?
We have some fantastic parks here in Lewisville. My kids and I love to visit LLELA, Thrive Nature Park, Central Park, Lake Park, and the many neighborhood parks around town. We spend a lot of time outside together, and particularly enjoy looking for fossils in creeks. If I had to pick one place, however, it would be LLELA. I love hiking, bird watching, and observing wildflowers along the trails. I enjoy being able to escape into the nature preserve for a little while and get lost in nature to recharge my batteries.
Who or what inspires you?
My grandfather has always been an inspiration to me. He is a strong man, who has worked hard his entire life to provide for his family. He is a good man, who is always ready to help others and those in need. He is a kind man, who focuses on the positives and is always ready to share a smile. He is also resilient and the most resourceful person I have ever met. He has so many admirable qualities, but the ones that stand out the most to me growing up have been his strong work ethic, positivity, and ability to fix just about anything you put in front of him. He inspires me to work hard, be present, and to be resilient. Any problem can be fixed with the right attitude, putting in the work, and having the determination to see it through. He has also taught me the importance of helping where you can, when you can, and as much as you can.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about engaging our community to make our little slice of the world a better place to live, work, and play. Volunteering is an experience, but also a way to raise awareness and teach both youth and adults about environmental stewardship. I want to make sure that our volunteer experiences are not only engaging and fun for volunteers, but also learning experiences. I aim to create the best programs possible for Keep Lewisville Beautiful volunteers to show them that they have the power to create change in our community. I aim to show others that no matter who you are or what your skill set is, you can help and you can make a difference. We can all leave this world a better place than we found it.
What are some of your favorite books or movies?
I love to read science fiction, supernatural, and fantasy novels. I am currently reading the “Throne of Glass” series by Sarah J. Maas. Next on my list is Stephen King’s “Fairy Tale.” For movies and TV series, I have enjoyed the “Jurassic Park” movies, “Game of Thrones” series, “Outlander,” “Downton Abbey,” and “Parks and Recreation.”
What is your favorite memory from working for Keep Lewisville Beautiful?
I think my favorite memory from working for Keep Lewisville Beautiful was during a park cleanup and the time I watched my daughter get on to a grown man for littering his cigarette butt in front of her. She had to have been no more than 5 years old at the time, and she was offended that someone had littered where we had just picked up trash. “Excuse me sir, but the earth is not your ashtray” is not how I would have started a conversation with a stranger, but she wanted to tell him exactly how his littering made her feel. He listened to her, and she told him all about how hard she worked to clean up the park and how he needed to help, now, too. I had a great and respectful conversation with him afterwards and he said that he would not forget her anytime soon. It makes me proud to know that what we do and what we help teach lives within her, and also through the kids that participate with our events. I have seen so many kids and families grow from elementary age to college, who come back year after year to volunteer for the Spring Cleanup or Trash Bash.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time my favorite thing to do is go fossil hunting with my family. We travel around the DFW metroplex to hunt for late cretaceous aged fossils. I enjoy spending the time outdoors with my kids, making memories and playing in the dirt with them. We enjoy it so much that we build fossil trips into our family vacation planning as well and have hunted in Ohio, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Michigan, and various places across the great state of Texas.