Keep Big Spring Beautiful – Big Spring, TX

Keep Big Spring Beautiful worked with nearly 200 Big Spring Junior High students to clean up Birdwell Park, located directly behind their school.

In addition to collecting 2,060 pounds of trash and debris, students came across a lost dog during the cleanup. The dog was brought to Big Spring Animal Control.

Student chose to adopt the park as their project for their Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program. The life-skills program is offered to all seventh graders and taught by a local police officer.

Keep Big Spring Beautiful provided trash bags and gloves for students, and the City of Big Spring donated mosquito-repelling wristbands for the project, which was covered by the local newspaper.

“We hope that it inspires others to take the same pride with the community,” said Teresa Darden of Keep Big Spring Beautiful.

Not only is the park cleaner thanks to the students, but it will also become a safer place, as city officials will use the cleanup as a springboard to clear out more brush, reducing the concealed areas within the park.

Keep Virginia Beautiful, Glen Allen, VA

Keep Virginia Beautiful’s “30 Grants in 30 Days” was a great success in 2013! Our nearly 3,000 volunteers worked tirelessly to make the 30 projects a great success, cleaning up 14,057 pounds of debris; planting 705 plants and 109 trees; and installing 25 gardens. Keep Virginia Beautiful would like to thank Lowe’s and Keep America Beautiful for their sponsorship of our “30 in 30″ program in 2013!

Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful’s hugelkultur gardens, Athens, AL

Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful, in Athens, Ala., is building hugelkultur gardens, which start with a hole a foot or two deep and then get filled with tree trunks, logs and branches.  Once the holes were dug, KALB volunteers filled them up with leaf mulch provided by the City of Athens from its fall leaf pickup, and horse and cow manure from grass-fed animals.  The garden beds will then be covered with topsoil, creating the raised garden bed.  The raised bed will be left to settle over the winter and planting will begin on the mounds in the spring.  The tree trunks and limbs become spongy as they begin to decompose and absorb rain water, which are fed back to the plants.  All of the organic material works together to create an environment conducive to the growth of organisms important to creating great soil.

“This type of gardening was unknown to me until some of our garden committee members who run a completely organic farm shared it with us,” said Lynne Hart, executive coordinator of KALB. “We looked it up — there is tons of information and videos online — and decided this would be a great way to create a portion of our new community garden using natural materials that are available at no cost.  And, it mimics what happens right in Mother Nature’s forests!  How much better can it get?”

The hugelkultur raised garden beds are part of a KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant project, located at Athens’ Farmers Market.

Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful, Abingdon, VA

A Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s grant is assisting Upper Tennessee River Roundtable and Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful with development of Stone Creek Outdoor Classroom and Community Park in Lee County. Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful received a $20,000 Lowe’s/KAB grant. This funding is added to the $196,000 previously awarded to Upper Tennessee River Roundtable from other sources for the project, which is located on a former coal transfer station site near St. Charles.

The Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s grant is paying for fencing, walking trail, signs, trash and ash receptacles, plants and flowers. Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful and Upper Tennessee River Roundtable are partnering with the Lowe’s store in Abingdon on this project. AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps River 6 Team assisted with the project for two weeks along with several community volunteers. Various agency personnel also have assisted with several work days at the site.

The outdoor classroom and community park site is located adjacent to Straight Creek near St. Charles in the Stone Creek community. Upper Tennessee River Roundtable initially received a $166,000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant for land acquisition, reclamation, stream restoration and outdoor classroom development. The Roundtable purchased the land and transferred ownership to Lee County with the assistance of Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and Daniel Boone Soil and Water Conservation District. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds came from a settlement established after a toxic spill into a tributary to the Powell River. Straight Creek is also a tributary to the Powell River and is home to endangered species. This region is considered to be a hotspot of biodiversity.

Next steps involved restoring the stream and stabilizing the stream bank, which took place in August and September. Additional grant assistance for this phase was provided by Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and another grant from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Upper Tennessee River Roundtable also secured grants from Appalachian Coal Country Team Reforestation Project and LG&E KU Plant for the Planet to buy trees. Pizza Inn of Abingdon donated more than a case of pizza boxes that were used for molds to create stepping stones during community workshops. Trex (R) donated two recycled park benches that have been installed on stepping stones that were created for the site.

The Roundtable is a nonprofit watershed organization focusing on pollution prevention and improvement projects for the Clinch, Powell and Holston rivers in Southwest Virginia, all part of the Upper Tennessee River drainage. Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful is the largest regional nonprofit affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and includes nine counties and two cities also working in the Upper Tennessee drainage as well as the Big Sandy River Basin.

For more information, contact Upper Tennessee River Roundtable and Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful at 276-628-1600.

Keep Etowah Beautiful, Inc.

Theses are pictures from our Message In The Anti-Litter Symposium held in October. This event is open to all our students in all four of school systems. There are two division: Elementary – Schools are asked to send their top three winners in the poster contest and middle and high schools projects consist of hands on. Students are asked to show the impact litter has on our community. This was our 13th year of holding MIB and as in years of past students stepped up and sent some wonderful projects. We are bring in environmental and community exhibitors for student to visit their booth, then we present the really reason for Message In The Bottle, which is not the actual message inside the bottle that lacked one day of being 19 years old but how long items can stay in the water and on the land. This year over 1000 students and teachers joined us.

Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Philadelphia, PA

Here in Philadelphia, we threw quite an America Recycles Day party!

We partnered with Recyclebank and the City’s Streets Department to fill a major downtown park with recycling facts and resources, as well as representatives from twelve local organizations focused on recycling and reuse. Our Streets Department Commissioner kicked off the day by officially declaring it to be America Recycles Day in the City of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia’s recycling program has made major progress over the last several years, and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to celebrate it and spread the word about how to properly recycle in the City and why it’s so important to do so.

Check out some of our favorite pictures from the day here:

City Year Washington, D.C.

On Oct. 26, City Year Washington, D.C. organized more than 150 volunteers for Make A Difference Day. The day, a partnership with DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative, was part of a series of service days this fall that have engaged hundreds of volunteers in Washington, D.C.

On Make A Difference Day, volunteers transformed the former Kenilworth Elementary School into an after-school and adult education center for the community. Volunteers painted hallways, bathrooms, and stairwells, remaking them into a chic and modern décor.

Special thanks to our service sponsors and partners: DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative, Serve DC, Starbucks, DC Central Kitchen and Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s. This project was supported through a KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant. (Photo by Joel Mason Gaines.)

KAB and Congressional Recycling Caucus Recognize America Recycles Day

In celebration of America Recycles Day, Keep America Beautiful teamed up with recycling leaders in congress who hosted two briefings on the state of recycling and to share our “I Want To Be Recycled” PSA campaign.

In the senate briefing, Sen. Tom Carper told attendees that he is “rabid about recycling,” noting that he encouraged his local YMCA to put in recycling bins and that he brings his banana peel that he eats during his commute, to the office where he can compost it. Carper’s co-chair on the senate recycling caucus, Sen. John Boozman, discussed the economic benefits of recycling and the potential for more job creation. During the House of Representatives briefing, Rep. John Shimkus joked that recycling and its many benefits is one of those topics he and his recycling caucus co-chair, Rep. Frank Pallone, agree on.

Jeff Meyers of Coca Cola discussed his company’s work to grow packaging recovery through bin grant programs with KAB. Through this partnership, Coca Cola has place more than 200,000 bins in schools, parks, offices and other community spaces. Meyers also explained that Coca Cola uses recycled PET bottles to make new bottles and described Coca Cola’s plant-based, recyclable bottle as the “hybrid car of plastic bottles.”

Barnes Johnson, U.S. EPA and Will Sagar of the Southeast Regional Development Council discussed the economic benefits of recycling and the importance of reducing our waste.

Steve Russell of the American Chemistry Council recognized three innovative recycling companies that are creating products with up to 100% recycled plastic, demonstrating that there are ever-growing markets for recycled materials.