Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Honored with Humanitarian Award, Duluth, GA

Earlier this month, Keep America Beautiful affiliate Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful received the D. Scott Hudgens Humanitarian Award the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce’s 66th Annual Dinner, attended by more than 1,000 local business and community leaders. Presented by Gwinnett Medical Center, the event is designed to highlight Gwinnett’s successes and recognize those who have made a difference in the community in recent years.

“Each year, the D. Scott Hudgens Humanitarian Award is presented to the charitable institution best embodying the spirit of compassion and generosity to which the late Scott Hudgens was so deeply committed,” explains Connie Wiggins, Executive Director of Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful. “It is such an unbelievable honor for our organization to receive an award that signifies that same sense of community and philanthropy for which Scott Hudgens and his family have always been dedicated. At Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, we do what we do each day in an effort to make Gwinnett County America’s cleanest, greenest and most livable community.  But we could never do that without the tireless conviction and dedication of our board members, volunteers, community partners and staff. This award belongs to us all.”

Over the course of 2013, the community-based, environmentally-focused nonprofit organization accomplished the following feats with the help of its growing network of volunteers, community allies, and corporate partners:

  • Educated more than 111,000 students and trained more than 15,500 teachers to foster a new generation of environmental stewards
  • Raised the awareness and environmental knowledge of nearly 400,000 Gwinnett County residents
  • Cleaned 720 miles and 220 places throughout Gwinnett County
  • Recovered 14 million pounds of recyclables
  • Provided 280,000 volunteer hours for recycling and beautification projects

“We’ve already hit the ground running in 2014,” insists Wiggins. “We recently had the pleasure of honoring environmental stewards and our cherished volunteers during the 34th Annual Awards Dinner. We just hosted one of the largest Christmas tree recycling events where we were responsible for an estimated one out of every five trees recycled in the state of Georgia. And now, we are feverishly planning for what will likely be our biggest event for the year – the Environmental Address on March 6 featuring Governor Nathan Deal.”

Beyond the Address, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful will also play host to a county-wide Great American Cleanup event – which runs March 1 through May 31, 2014, and the annual America Recycles Day in the Fall. Additional beautification projects and events will be scheduled throughout the year, and citizens who wish to take part are encouraged to check the event calendar regularly for upcoming dates. In addition to events, the organization is hoping to unveil a new website to better communicate its mission to educate, advocate and equip the residents and business owners of Gwinnett County.

Arizona Recycling Coalition

Congratulations to the students of Bourgade Catholic High School’s Earthwatch Club for winning second place in this year’s statewide Recycle Bowl Competition! Staff from Arizona Recycling Coalition and City of Phoenix Public Works Department awarded them with a check for $500 from the Arizona Recycling Coalition..

You guys are awesome recyclers! Thanks for all your hard work and keep recycling!

Keep Stockwell Beautiful, Inc

The 2013 GAC Youth Award Winners, James Cole Elementary School in Stockwell, IN, take pride in their work. The fourth and fifth graders at James Cole walk to town twice a year to assist with cleanup, planting, litter patrol and help those unable to clean their yards. The Cole Cubs also won the Subaru of Indiana Environmental Steward Award in 2010. Since the inception of “Cole Kids’ Cleanup Stockwell, ” there have been 2757 bulbs planted, 782 bags of litter collected, 56 miles of road cleaned and over 600 students have participated. The “Cole Kids’ Cleanup Stockwell” is also recognized in Tippecanoe County School Corporation as a premier Service Learning Project. Not bad for a town of less than four square miles and a population of approximately 430. Thanks Cole Cubs and congratulations to all who have made this program a success!

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (Indianapolis, IN)

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB) believes everyone should be given the opportunity to experience nature close to home. Turning vacant lots into beautiful parks allows neighbors to take pride in their community. Last year, KIB received a grant from the Lowe’s/KAB Community Improvement Grant program, to transform a vacant lot into a pocket park in the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood of Indianapolis, a neighborhood area sorely lacking greenspace and its benefits.

This project combined the efforts of neighbors from five streets partnering with Southeast Neighborhood Development (SEND), the Bates-Hendricks Neighborhood Association and neighborhood businesses. Bates-Hendricks leaders are committed to neighborhood renewal and to this end they launched an effort called Building Blocks.

The neighbors of Building Blocks envisioned the transformation of four adjacent vacant lots in their neighborhood into a community greenspace. They applied to KIB’s IPL Project Greenspace program, and were chosen to receive a pocket park, featuring shade and understory trees, low-maintenance landscaping and native plants, a shelter, and a designated open space for recreation.

One creative aspect of the landscaping was reusing several extremely large concrete pads that we excavated from the site’s “past life” as a utility station: these were simply too large to remove! We kept these as distinctive boundary markers on one side of the park, as a reminder of the transformation.

Community greening is one way to help empower people. With the success of this project, KIB has engaged families through greening projects, building stronger bonds with their neighbors and contributing to the vitality of their community. We look forward to working with this engaged neighborhood in the future!