Keep Georgia Beautiful’s annual “Bring One for the Chipper”

When the Christmas season comes to an end, Keep Georgia Beautiful is working hard to host it’s annual Bring One for the Chipper Christmas tree recycling event.  With nearly 300 collection sites throughout Georgia, it is the largest Christmas tree recycling in the nation.  Through a partnership with Earth-911 and the support of Home Depot, The Davey Tree Company and WXIA11-Alive, Keep Georgia Beautiful has successfully hosted Bring One for the Chipper for the past 23 years.

Since the program started in 1991, Georgia has been successful in recycling over 6 million trees with an average of about 200,000 trees each year. “It is a great way to divert [the trees] from landfills and an easy way to close the loop. A lot are used for mulch and some trees are sunk into rivers for fish and wildlife habitat,” explained Kanika Greenlee, the director of programs and development for Keep Georgia Beautiful.

According to Keep Georgia Beautiful, the mulch from these trees has been used for playgrounds, local government beautification projects, and individual yards. Mulched landscapes help absorb runoff and prevent erosion during times of heavy rainfall.

This year, the Bring One for the Chipper event will take place on Saturday, January 4, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Georgia residents can visit www.KeepGeorgiaBeautiful.org for a list of drop-off centers by zip codes throughout the state.

Keep Ohio Beautiful and the Home Depot Foundation Create Outdoor Refuge for Veterans

Keep Ohio Beautiful and The Home Depot Foundation visited the Chalmers P. Wylie Columbus VA Ambulatory Care Center on Oct. 17 to create a peaceful green space for veterans and their families. The Columbus VA initiative is among several similar projects funded by a grant to Keep Ohio Beautiful from the Home Depot Foundation.

Approximately 80 Home Depot associates from 14 Home Depot stores in central Ohio worked to help enhance outdoor space for the veterans. The volunteers installed multiple projects, including: 1) A paver patio with a pergola, which will be used for entertainment and education for outdoor programs and events; 2) A patio with seating and plantings for veterans and their families to relax and visit while they are at the Medical Center for treatment; 3) Two raised planters where veterans can plant and care for annuals and vegetables; and 4) A buffer zone comprised of 25 arborvitae trees around the grounds to make it an inviting space for veterans and their families.

“These projects provide veterans with increased access to new and improved gardens, but also an opportunity to be actively engaged in horticultural activities with the introduction of raised beds and planters, and have peaceful visiting areas with the addition of the patios,” explained Michael Mennett, executive director of Keep Ohio Beautiful.

The green space around the Columbus VA Ambulatory Care Center is used for a variety of activities, such as exercise, picnics and patient rehabilitation through horticulture therapy practices. A comprehensive garden program was developed to allow veterans to grow plants from seed and distribute the grown vegetables to other veterans. With the new raised beds, veterans who are physically compromised will now have an easier time participating in this activity.

“I would characterize the veterans’ sentiment towards this project as one of gratitude, and when individuals and organizations honor their service through projects like this, there is a genuine sense of appreciation for their efforts,” said Keith Sullivan, director, Chalmers P. Wylie Columbus VA Ambulatory Care Center. “With the help of Keep Ohio Beautiful and the Home Depot Foundation, the new greening projects add to our ongoing Relationship Based Care Initiative that aims to care for the veterans’ mind, body and spirit through a caring and healing environment.”

After the work was completed, Keep Ohio Beautiful held a dedication ceremony with remarks from speakers Dan Weisenbach, vice president, Keep Ohio Beautiful; Frank Graves, RPSM, Ohio Valley northern division, Home Depot; Keith Sullivan, director of the Chalmers P. Wylie Columbus VA Ambulatory Care Center; Rick Isabel, Mayor Coleman’s cabinet member and veterans affairs coordinator; and Mayor Kim Maggard, The City of Whitehall.

“The Home Depot Foundation shares a passion with Keep Ohio Beautiful to help make a difference in the lives of the veterans at the Columbus VA Ambulatory Care Center,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation. “We were thrilled to be part of their efforts by lending a hand for this project that will benefit so many veterans and their families.”

Keep Austin Beautiful dives into Lake Travis Underwater Cleanup

In partnership with Travis County and the Colorado River Alliance, Keep Austin Beautiful held the Annual Lake Travis Underwater Cleanup in Texas on September 15. New lake levels may have changed the shorelines of Lake Travis, but thanks to the 1,015 volunteers who came out last Sunday morning, every mile of Lake Travis was cleaned. Volunteers geared up with wetsuits, oxygen tanks, trash bags, and gloves to clean Lake Travis above and below the surface.  The value of their time totals $56,086 — Not including the $20 bill found during the cleanup at Starnes Island!

From the shoreline to the depths of Lake Travis, volunteers found everything from common keys, an old bike, glasses, cell phones (including iPhones), a boat motor, and shoes to more uncommon items such as tweezers, a 20-year-old cassette tape, a crankshaft, men’s underwear and a stainless steel grill. But the most unusual shoreline item of all was a pink flamingo cemented in a bucket found by Pack 205, who won a two-hour chartered sailing trip prize for their find. After the cleanup, volunteers headed over to The Oasis on Lake Travis for the Volunteer Appreciation Party featuring free lunch, live music, Finley the Fish’s dance moves, kids’ activities, and door prizes!

Follow the fun with #cleanlaketravis on Facebook and Twitter!

Keep America Beautiful at Troy-Bilt Showcase event in Brooklyn, NY

On Friday, June 14, Troy-Bilt made a very generous product donation to Keep New York City Beautiful Coalition members including New York Restoration Project, Citizens Committee for NYC, and Grow NYC, and the Powell Street Community Garden. The donation of machinery will help the community garden and volunteers tremendously. Troy-Bilt, a 2013 Great American Cleanup National Sponsor, has donated machinery to over 110 organizations during this year’s Great American Cleanup, making an incredible impact on communities across the nation. In addition to 2013, Troy-Bilt has made generous donations of lawn and garden equipment to our affiliates nationwide for 15 years, and has enabled our local organizations to create cleaner, greener, more beautiful and vibrant places in which to live, work, garden and play.

We would like to thank all the organizations in attendance, including Troy-Bilt, Keep New York City Beautiful, New York City Department of Sanitation, New York Restoration Project, Citizens Committee for NYC, and Grow NYC.

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Contributes to Vibrant Community Impact Goal

On Saturday, April 27, over 3,000 Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB) volunteers participated in Great American Cleanup activities at 84 different sites throughout the community.  While there were numerous projects taking place, most volunteers focused on litter abatement.

During the event, volunteers contributed to Keep America Beautiful’s 2013 Vibrant Communities Impact Goals by collecting 65,000 pounds of trash, cleaning up more than 25 illegal dump sites and removing almost 100 littered scrap tires. They also planted 250 flowers and 940 trees. Together, the volunteers restored more than 400 acres of parks, 100 miles of roads and 50 miles of shorelines throughout Hillsborough County.

Patricia DePlasco, KTBB’s community education liaison, said this year was most meaningful because there were so many different people engaged at such a wide array of sites. She explained that because of this, “We were able to interact with volunteers and explain to them why what they were doing is so important.”

As part of KTBB’s “Keep Our Schools Beautiful” program, high school students were encouraged to mentor, partner, and assist others with their community improvement efforts.  For example, Jesuit High School students partnered with individuals with disabilities during the Great American Cleanup beautification project.

“The students took their cleanup responsibilities very seriously at the ‘Down and Dirty at Lowry Park’ site,” DePlasco said. “They’re determined to keep the Hillsborough River clean – even by climbing into the vegetation to pick up debris.”

Matt McKenna Takes the Stage at Conference

At Tuesday’s Fortune Brainstorm Green conference, Waste Management CEO David Steiner challenged the audience when he asked, “How do we double America’s recycling rate in five years?”

Later that afternoon, key thought leaders across the public and private sectors met in a recycling session to address this very question. As a session discussion leader, Keep America Beautiful (KAB) President and CEO Matt McKenna served up a strong solution: a first-ever, national multi-media ad campaign about recycling. The campaign’s goal would be to educate and motivate people to recycle more and turn recycling into a daily social norm. Keep America Beautiful is partnering with the Ad Council to release the campaign this summer.