Litter Letter Ask WHY at Pigeon Forge Middle School
Six-foot letters stuffed with litter have been placed in front of the Pigeon Forge Middle School along Wears Valley Road asking “WHY” to encourage by passers to rethink littering.
The letters debuted at the commencement of Litter Awareness Month and Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup. Students from Robert Satterfield’s class have been working on the letters as part of a class project in conjunction with Keep Sevier Beautiful. The students designed the shapes of the letters, cut the rebar and wrapped them in chicken wire. All the litter inside the letters have been collected along Sevier County roadways by the County’s litter cleanup crew; a crew funded by TDOT.
“This has been an incredible partnership between the Pigeon Forge High School, Mr. Satterfield and his students, the County and TDOT,” said Laura Howard, Keep Sevier Beautiful executive director. “Not only can we raise awareness about litter by working together, but we can end it as well.”
The letters are part of a larger project — The Litter Letter Project — developed by Rachael Hatley for her MFA thesis to raise awareness about how deeply an environmental issue litter is in Louisiana. As a graphic designer and educator she created a series of letters using litter as the message. There are currently seven large litter letter installations on display in several locations around Washington Parish, La.
By displaying these large-scale visual messages in public places the hope is to provoke a response, thought and action. As the primary gateway to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, litter in Sevier County not only has an environmental impact, but an economic one as well.
“The cost of littering is staggering,” Howard said. “As a County and through our municipalities, we spend over $369,000 picking up litter.” The cost is more than that figure – research shows litter decreases property values, negatively impacts revenue in shopping districts, discourages new businesses to develop in a community, and attracts additional litter and crime.
For more information about litter, how to volunteer or more about the Litter Letter project, visit Keep Sevier Beautiful’s website at KeepSevierBeautiful.org.