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Thanks to the 2017 Keep America Beautiful/ Lowe’s Community Partners Grant Program, Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) helped fight unwanted activity through the revitalization of the Elaine Evans Memorial Children’s Garden. Formerly known as the Children’s Garden, the site was originated in 1997 by Let’s Grow Akron (LGA) founder, Elaine Evans, with the help of KAB who cleared a large dumpsite to make room for the installation of a man-made stream, a canal boat replica, an arbor and flowerbeds. Twenty years later, KAB identified the need to return to the site. An eyesore for sure, the area had overgrown landscaping, wasps and a weathered, broken canal boat replica with exposed nails. Located on an isolated road with no visibility from the surrounding streets, it invited illegal dumping and drug activity. As such, KAB and the City of Akron both received constant complaints. KAB litter crews frequently removed dumping and drug paraphernalia from the area. Acting as a catalyst, the 2017 Keep America Beautiful/ Lowe’s Community Partners Grant Program helped KAB build a stronger community and strengthen relationships, while reducing unwanted activity via public beautification. Work began in August, thanks to the City of Akron, who repaired roads and installed lighting. Advanced Arboriculture spent days trimming trees and clearing overgrown brush, weeds and trees. This increased visibility for the surrounding neighborhood, while removing site hazards. Next, KGK Gardening and Design donated crew and equipment to excavate the stream and create an easier-to-maintain space. On September 10, KAB welcomed volunteers during First Congregational Church of Hudson’s First Serve event. Hudson high school students stained the arbor and continued clearing brush. First Serve volunteers donated a project dumpster and 300 daffodil bulbs. On September 14, OEC volunteers joined KAB and LGA as part of their Community Connections Day, in collaboration with the BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence. All worked on old flowerbeds and removing fencing. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company volunteers, under the leadership of KAB Board Member, Chastity Duskey, worked on new bed installation, including bed edging with repurposed stream rocks. They also stained four picnic tables donated by Lowe’s. Crew members from Advanced Arboriculture then returned to install fencing. On October 3, Lowe’s Heroes Fairlawn, under the leadership of Store Manager, Gary Sutor, began to rebuild the boat replica. Lowe’s also planted pollinator gardens, with help from KAB Flowerscape Director, Leah Heiser. LGA staff and volunteers worked alongside KAB staff and volunteers throughout the project. KAB ensured the plant selection and park changes stayed true to both Elaine Evans’ vision and LGA goals, by working closely with LGA Executive Director, Lisa Nunn. This project helped change the negative stigma of Summit Lake, inviting newcomers for a fresh perspective of the area, & restoring pride

Keep Akron Beautiful

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“The Kids Keep Blount Beautiful” is a campaign implemented by Keep Blount Beautiful (KBB) to instill in our young citizens a sense of ownership over their town. Why should young people have to wait until legal adulthood to become socially active and responsible? If the youth of Blount County are given the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to their community and to be recognized for it, I believe they could spark behavioral change in our culture. Starting in 2016, KBB began seeking grants to help bring beautification programs and projects to local schools. The initial project that began "The Kids Keep Blount Beautiful" was planting native trees on two school campuses. This helped provide necessary shade for playgrounds as well as an outdoor learning environment. KBB did not want to stop there. This year, we were able to receive the Lowe's Community Partner Grant from KAB and Lowe's for $5,000 to help bring edible community gardens to two schools in the area. Since the Great Recession, Blount County school districts have experienced an increase in a number of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches. As of 2013, over 5,327 children live in poverty. In 2012, it was calculated that over 6,200 students were on a free and reduced lunch plan. The number has only risen since then. There are schools in our county that have over 90 percent of their students are on this lunch plan. Unfortunately, after these students leave school and during the summer they do not always have the access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep Blount Beautiful wanted like to help plant an edible community garden for two of these schools to help alleviate this problem. Students, teachers, and parents would be able to come together to provide healthier lifestyles and a more beautiful community. The Lowe's grant gave us the opportunity to bring a unique beautification project to two schools. The edible community gardens provided a unique learning experience as well as increased food access for Montvale Elementary School and Alcoa Elementary School in Blount County. The amazing teachers and staff of both schools came together to help us build and prep a raised bed garden for each grade level at their perspective school. The next day, classes came out in shifts to help plant two unique fall vegetables in their grade's garden. Student's at both schools were most excited about having something that was their responsibility to care for and continue its success.

Keep Blount Beautiful, Blount County, TN

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The economic downturn in the early 2000s prevented the City of Fort Pierce, Florida, from funding beach and park cleanup efforts. The City has nine city parks and about four miles of beach on the beautiful Atlantic barrier island, South Hutchinson Island (commonly called South Beach by the locals). So, the South Beach citizens formed a volunteer group to do the job. Today, there are about 45 active volunteers who regularly clean and maintain our parks and beaches with the support of the City Public Works Department who provide shirts, picker uppers, and gloves. This group is represented on the Keep Fort Pierce Beautiful Advisory Board, and every year our Great American Cleanup event includes a project in South Beach. The volunteer group does a great job, but we wanted to get other citizens and visitors involved as well. Last year, a City Commissioner heard about BlueTube, Inc., and in conjunction with the Public Works Department and the Keep Fort Pierce Beautiful Advisory Board, we met with Patty Goffinet, the founder of BlueTube, Inc. BlueTube, Inc. is a small company with a big mission: clean beaches and plastic-free oceans. BlueTube is a 501(c)3 company based in Melbourne, Florida. The first BlueTubes were installed in June of 2015. Today there are over 100 BlueTubes from Jacksonville to Palm Beach. Find out more at www.BlueTubeBeach.org. BlueTubes are bright blue containers that hold clean, used plastic bags. They make it easy for residents and visitors to keep beaches and parks clean by providing a bag for trash when and where it's needed. The bright blue containers also serve as a reminder for patrons to take care of the places they love. Beachgoers are encouraged to grab a bag from a BlueTube, pick up trash and throw it away. When people donate bags to the BlueTube, the cycle continues. The Keep Fort Pierce Beautiful Advisory Board enthusiastically sponsored the first five BlueTubes, and individuals and businesses have now sponsored an additional 13. This is making a difference in our community by raising awareness and by actually keeping our beaches and parks cleaner. Thanks to our City and all the volunteers for doing such a great job and for supporting the BlueTube effort!

Keep Fort Pierce Beautiful, Fort Pierce, FL

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North Miami, FL – July 27, 2017 – On May 16, 2016, the city of North Miami received the Keep America Beautiful/UPS Community Tree & Tree Recovery Planting Grant to complete one of 30 projects throughout the nation that contributed to the planting of over 10,500 trees. The City of North Miami’s Community Planning and Development Department Sustainability Division held a community tree planting project on June 17, 2017 at the Joe Celestin Center and installed Florida friendly palms trees in the Sunkist Grove neighborhood. The city of North Miami received the grant from Keep America Beautiful, the national nonprofit that envisions a country in which every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live and the UPS Foundation, which leads the global citizenship programs. Through the Keep North Miami Beautiful Community Tree Planting Grant Project, the City installed Florida friendly, drought tolerant, low maintenance palm trees in strategic planting locations throughout the community. The Keep America Beautiful/UPS Grant program was open exclusively to Keep America Beautiful affiliates and is intended to help grantees install trees to isolate levels of carbon dioxide through strategic plantings. North Miami is dedicated to enhancing the overall sustainability of its City and promoting environmental awareness throughout the community. As a USA Tree City recipient for 27 consecutive years, the City acknowledges the important role that trees play in improving social, economic and environmental well-being. Through the generous support from Keep America Beautiful and the UPS Foundation Grant program, the City plans to plant more trees in the coming days to enhance the quality of life for residents in North Miami.

Keep North Miami Beautiful

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