Schools are assigned to four divisions, with an award given for the most beautiful campus in each division. Keep Moore County Beautiful conducted its 2015 Spring Clean and Green Campus Contest. Volunteer judges from the Keep Moore County Beautiful Board inspected public and private school campuses. Schools are placed into four divisions, with an award given for the most beautiful campus in each division. Schools selected as first place winners received signs to display on campus. The schools received a monetary gift of $100 for 1st Place, $75 for 2nd Place and $50 for 3rd Place, to be used for further beautification projects.

Division I Aberdeen Primary School – 1st Place
Southern Middle School – 2nd Place
Southern Pine Elementary School – 3rd Place

Division II West End Elementary School – 1st Place
Pinehurst Elementary School – 2nd Place
West Pine Middle School – 3rd Place

Division III Cameron Elementary – 1st Place
Crains Creek Middle School – 2nd Place
Sandhills Farmlife School – 3rd Place

Division IV Pinckney Academy School – 1st Place
Carthage Elementary School – 2nd Place
Robbins Elementary School – 3rd Place

Keep Vienna Beautiful, Vienna, GA

Keep Vienna Beautiful (KVB) recently received a $20,000 KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant. The funds were used to refurbish and beautiful George Busbee Park and Ruth Ryner Lay Tennis Court. The grant money was used to replace sod, trees, refurbish the park gazebo, refurbish the playground, and tennis court fence. The goal was to refurbish the existing facilities to entice local citizens as well as travelers to utilize the facilities and enjoy the park located adjacent to downtown Vienna — to make it one of Vienna’s showplaces for all to enjoy.

The playground area really needed the mulch to be upgraded so that children could enjoy the equipment and their parents wouldn’t be worried about them falling on the hard ground. The new PVC piping around the perimeter of this area and the cedar chip mulch make it a much safer area for our children, stated Larista Thompson, Executive Director of KVB.

The gazebo has been rewired so that the facility will be accessible at night for those wanting to have after-dark activities in the park. A new roof was also installed on the gazebo and preservative paint was used on all exposed areas of the gazebo.

This has been a very rewarding project for KVB as well as the City of Vienna. A special thanks to Keep America Beautiful, Lowe’s, Keep Vienna Beautiful, City of Vienna Public Works Department, Mayor and City Council for their contributions to the success of this project.

Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Clean & Beautiful Commission, Pine Bluff, AR

The Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Clean & Beautiful Commission was very honored to have received the KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant for $20,000 to implement the “Safety is Beautiful” project focusing on two large, heavily-trafficked areas in Pine Bluff: 8th Street medians in front of the Convention Center and the main Post Office and also on Harding Avenue.

With the grant award, Clean & Beautiful was able to install four new walkways, trim back hedges, shrubs, and trees, and put in new landscaping for beds that were in disrepair. Even with the crazy and unpredictable weather of Arkansas, we were able to put in the four walkways; replace old, torn, and warped metal edging with stone pavers; level out the brick walks in the turnaround areas; remove dead trees and debris; plant over 1,000 daffodil bulbs, 250 irises, 250 or more day lilies, 10 to 20 azaleas, over 100 hosta, 25 ferns, 20 pencil hollies, 40 boxwood, two large crepe myrtles, 40 ornamental grasses, and the list goes on. These beds were in need of major revitalization and the efforts that Lowe’s afforded us to make were invaluable to the safety of motorists, pedestrians, and surrounding communities who use these areas everyday.

We had around 450 volunteers in total and were able to build new community bridges of communications with organizations who have never been able to work together. We had volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. Our youngest volunteer was Gabriella Ogles, age 4, who is pictured here. Her favorite thing to do was dig holes to plant the bulbs and small plants, although as seen here, she really wanted to be like the big people in helping carry the mulch! She was a true reminder of what these projects help to instill in our community and its youth, when presented with the opportunities! We are thrilled with the success and improvements that this grant was able to make in our community!

Keep Pike County Beautiful, McComb, MS

Thank you for the $10,000 KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant awarded to Keep Pike County Beautiful in McComb, MS! Without it we could not have built our above-ground, organic garden at St. Andrew’s Mission in McComb, which serves Southwest Mississippi through its Food Pantry, Men’s Shelter and Soup Kitchen.

The Garden has also been a teaching model for the Jr. Garden Club, called the Busy Bees, who helped to do the initial planting of our fall/winter crop and helped with the first harvest. Thanks to the Boy Scouts for helping to build it. We are hoping that the Garden will be a model for more to come!

City of Hammond/Keep Hammond Beautiful

The City of Hammond/Keep Hammond Beautiful received a $10,000 Lowe’s/Keep America Beautiful Community Improvement Grant to revitalize Clarke Park, a municipal park located in one of Hammond’s older and lower-income neighborhoods.

About 20 volunteers and City employees assembled in the park on a cloudy December day just after Thanksgiving to plant a new garden near the front of the park, restore a natural buffer between active and passive parkspaces, and install picnic tables, park benches, and a new water line in the park. City employees also replaced sprinklers within the park’s baseball field.

The picnic tables will provide families a place to gather to celebrate holidays, neighborhood and community events, reunions, and birthdays. Park benches will offer visitors, especially, seniors, places within the park to sit, comfortably relax, and watch their grandchildren play—or simply enjoy the outdoors. And the water line will make maintaining park grounds easier—in addition to permitting the installation of an outdoor drinking fountain for playgroundgoers.

Neighbors of Clarke Park and residents of the surrounding community have been quick to compliment the City of Hammond, Keep Hammond Beautiful, and volunteers on the work that was done.

For his part, the outgoing Mayor of Hammond, Mayson Foster, is also quick to express his and his city’s gratitude for the Lowe’s/Keep America Beautiful partnership that made the improvements to Clarke Park possible.

“It’s made a real difference here,” he observes, surveying the completed project, “and we couldn’t be happier.”

Keep Highway Park Beautiful, Lake Placid, FL

It is the belief of Keep Highway Park Beautiful that change begins with education followed by action. The Highway Park Community is a low income, primarily minority community outside the city limits of Lake Placid, FL. The community was surveyed and asked to prioritize the issues they felt could be most beneficial. The lack of a community park was among the top 3 issues identified. Keep Highway Park Beautiful selected and purchased 100 x 160 foot vacant lot that was filled with trash, overgrown with vegetation, and an abandoned/dilapidated building. The location was ideal for a park due to its proximity to the commercial district and its ease of access. It is within easy walking distance for most residents.

KHPB applied for the KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement grant and was awarded $10,000. With these funds, KHPB immediately began work on the park beginning in September of 2014. A professional landscape design was procured that meets county environmental codes and protects the habitat of certain endangered species such as the blue tailed mole skink and sand skink. County right of ways and underground utilities were validated. Our group of volunteers worked diligently for two months. The teams cleared trash and debris, removed deeply rooted tree stumps, graded land, planted palm trees, laid sod, mulch, flowers, created walking paths and installed one of two fountains. Heavy duty equipment as well as a lot of manual labor was involved. Seventy five (75) percent of the park was completed by November 30, 2014.

Keep Highway Park Beautiful is extremely grateful to KAB and Lowe’s and our many volunteers for their help. This grant went a very long way toward ensuring that our dream of a community park will soon become a reality. What was once vacant, trash filled property at 104 Washington Street in Lake Placid (Highway Park), FL has now become an oasis of beauty even though it is only 75% completed. This park’s design includes green space, children’s butterfly garden, two fountains, and more. The park will include recycling bins to encourage recycling of cans, bottles, & paper as well as cigarette ash receptacles.

Feedback from the community has been extremely positive. We have had residents stop by and just pitch in because they saw how the area was improving and making such a positive difference. It is important to note that this park is visible from U S Hwy 27, a major transportation artery through the county. What was once an eyesore is now becoming one of the treasures of the community.

Keep Houston Beautiful, Houston, TX

Howard Rambin, Keep Houston Beautiful(KHB)  founder, receiving the 2014 Mayor’s Outstanding Proud Partner of the Year award from City of Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Jim Tates, KHB chairman and President, U.S. West Region & Latin America for The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. Rambin was honored by KHB on its 35th anniversary.

Sarah Visser, Keep Georgia Beautiful, 2014 40 Under 40

Sarah Visser, 37

Executive Director

Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation


Visser keeps environmental awareness all in the family. As executive director for the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation, Visser works with a personal and professional passion to keep Georgia’s environment sustainable for generations to come – even her own. She describes her 4-year-old daughter as a “serious recycler” and takes her to community cleanup events, which Visser attends even on her own time on weekends.

Visser and the foundation provide training and resources for litter reduction, community cleanups and environmental sustainability to the more than 75 Keep Georgia Beautiful community affiliates, the largest network of its kind in the nation.

“Our goal is to help them be successful and change attitudes around environmental issues in communities,” she says.

Clearly, it’s something she’s working hard at in her community, in her work and in her home. – ES