Keep Sevier Beautiful, Sevier County TN

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.

Keep Charleston Beautiful

The City of Charleston’s Keep Charleston Beautiful (KCB) strives to maintain the beauty of Charleston via numerous efforts, particularly public awareness and education. To reach our goals of a cleaner tomorrow through education KCB offers school based education programs free of charge to both elementary and middle schools in Charleston.

The award winning Clean City Clara Program is a wonderful way to introduce litter prevention and recycling to young students. The program takes elementary aged children on an imaginative journey, from a cup littered on the ground, down a storm drain, and out into the harbor where it impacts wildlife. The children then help clean up the littered stage and learn about recycling while engaging with Clara, the litter prevention pelican mascot of KCB.

At the conclusion of the program, students receive a storybook highlighting the adventures of Clara, an activity book, and a pencil made from recycled materials. Last school year KCB saw 4,458 elementary school students, hosting 45 programs in 30 different elementary schools. KCB’s Talking Trash Program, a sister program to Clean City Clara, is tailored to teach middle school students numerous environmental topics, including: proper waste management; stormwater quality; marine debris and its impacts on wildlife, the community, and habitat; and school and student involvement in the community.

Twenty-two Talking Trash programs were presented during the 2012/2013 school year, reaching a total of 470 middle school students. KCB strives to maintain continuous contact with school and teachers through free education and community involvement programs. So far in the 2013/2014 school year, KCB has presented 27 programs, at 13 different schools, reaching a total of 1,113 elementary and middle school students. Providing free, fun, informative litter prevention messages to local youth is crucial for preventing future litter in our community. Litter prevention education programs are funded through support from Friends of KCB, PalmettoPride, the City of Charleston, and Keep America Beautiful.

Keep Cuero Beautiful

KCB placed these characters in the park to indicate some of the goals of Keep Cuero Beautiful, Keep Texas Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful: litter abatement, tree planting and beautification. This year, we added elves disposing of E-Waste, participating in neighborhood cleanups, and properly maintaining trees. Cuero’s Christmas in the Park is a lighting display that runs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Approximately 30,000 cars/85,000 tour the lights annually. The tour is free but CIF accepts donations for future displays and maintenance.

Captain Planet Foundation, Atlanta GA

As a recipient of a KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant, the Captain Planet Foundation would like to thank KAB and Lowe’s for supporting the expansion of the Captain Planet Learning Gardens (CPLG) Program into Ventura County, Calif. elementary schools. The CPLG program is a comprehensive and innovative approach to the school garden concept that invites schools to consider their garden as an extension of the classroom. The school garden serves as a living laboratory that is embraced and utilized by the entire school community across multiple disciplines and school subjects.

The CPLG program aims to address the high obesity and low nutrition rates among under-served children, while helping them to develop a connection to nature and a sense of place in their communities. School gardens have been proven to build an ethic in students (and often times their families) for environmental stewardship — leading to a deeper understanding of the natural world and creating a desire to implement beautification efforts at school and around their communities. The CPLG program ensures that every student has an opportunity to increase their time outdoors while learning about and tasting fresh fruits and vegetables each month during the school year — building an appreciation and palate for healthy food options.

To KAB and Lowe’s — we deeply appreciate your dedication to our mission of building an educated generation of eco-visionaries and environmental change-makers. As Captain Planet says, “The Power is yours!”

Keep Brunswick County Beautiful, Bolivia, NC

This Keep Brunswick County Beautiful project has transformed a ¾-acre, partially fenced-in rough field area in an undeserved geographical area into a fully supplied community garden that is aesthetically pleasing.

The garden area includes: 30 raised beds, including six that are potentially wheel-chair accessible; a garden shed with gutters and two rain barrels; a composting area; two picnic tables; a bench; four water hydrants for water accessibility; and an outdoor enclosed bulletin board. Some key points of interest include two keyhole beds that are especially low on water consumption and are great educational tools for sustainability; a shed that includes individual storage bins for gardeners that can also function as a communication tool; dry-erase boards inside the shed doors also for communication; and compost bins made from recycled pallets. We also landscaped the outside perimeter of the fence.

The project was funded by a KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant, with many different organizations, local contractors, and individual volunteers participating in the physical construction of the garden. We hope that our project will aid local residents in areas of community pride, healthy nutrition, movement for healthy lifestyles, supplying local food pantries with fresh produce, and social interaction and integrative activities.

The community has been extremely positive about the project. People have personally told us that they used to “just not drive in that area.” Now they do so purposefully, just to look at the garden. One person said it makes her feel happy when she drives by. When we are working in the garden, an increasing number of people just stop by to chat or ask questions or request information. It is extremely rewarding. I have also seen neighboring properties taking more pride in the appearance of their yards and homes.

I Pledge to Recycle More – America Recycles Day

This year, to help celebrate America Recycles Day (ARD), Keep America Beautiful invited people to give their garbage another life and pledge to recycle more by taking the “I Recycle” pledge online via the ARD website or QR Code.  More than 8,000 people accepted that invitation and shared what they plan on doing to recycle more in 2013 and beyond.

To help educate people about how recycled materials can be transformed into exciting and useful things, all pledges taken online from Jan. 1, through Nov. 30, 2013, were entered into a drawing for one of 10 park benches made from recycled plastic, courtesy of Plastic Recyclers of Iowa Falls! These recycled content park benches are a great example that material can become something new and valuable when it is recycled.

One of the recipients, Bill Roscoe, a teacher from Avenue Elementary School in Illinois, plans to use his new four-foot park bench as the centerpiece in his school’s new garden. The bench will serve as a reminder for the students about the impact recycling can have on their community – and the world. Another winner, David Watson, decided to donate his park bench to his local KAB affiliate, Keep Pearland (Texas) Beautiful.

Additional winners include:

  • Hanover Park Regional High School in New Jersey
  • Metairie Park Country Day School in Louisiana
  • Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia
  • John Vinson from Van Buren, Ark.
  • Radford University in Virginia
  • Teresa Rouse from North Carolina
  • Phyllis Weiss from Georgia
  • Prince William County Government

Congratulations to all our 2013 ARD Pledge Drive winners. Don’t forget to come back and take the “I Recycle” pledge in 2014!