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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 Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB) was a recipient of a 2013 Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant. KTMB, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, partnered with the Lowe’s Store (#3034) located in Sparks, Nev., to provide community improvement projects located in close proximity to the store involving Lowe’s associates working side-by-side with community volunteers. The project is comprised of two KTMB’s signature programs: Adopt-A-Spot and Adopt-A-Park.
KTMB’s Adopt-A-Spot program is a grassroots roadside litter abatement program is widely popular here in the Truckee Meadows. Through the Community Improvement Grant, the Lowe’s store in Sparks adopted a stretch of road along Sparks Boulevard, a major artery road which leads directly from the city’s residential areas into Legends Shopping Center where Lowe’s is located. The road is also one of the major arteries leading to the I-80 freeway entrance/exit. A sign was installed by the City of Sparks stating that the stretch of road has been adopted by Lowe’s. Lowe’s associates coordinated with KTMB for three cleanups, and KTMB provided all the cleanup supplies (rakes, trashbags, and gloves).
The Adopt-A-Park project with Lowe’s took place at the City of Sparks’ crown jewel, the Sparks Marina, which is located in close proximity to the Lowe’s store. The picturesque Sparks Marina accommodates swimming, boating, fishing, scuba diving and picnicking facilities, and breath-taking views of the nearby mountains. With a two-mile walking path, trees and sandy beaches surrounding a 77-acre lake, the Sparks Marina is a perfect setting for family fun; there were more than 350,000 visits last year alone. The Sparks Marina officially opened in 2000, and 13 years of use has taken its toll. The much-loved park has been in need of repairs as the City of Sparks has had to reduce its maintenance budget because of the economic recession. The Community Improvement Grant allowed for much-needed repairs, weed abatement and trash pick-up to occur at the Marina on KTMB’s Make a Difference Day on Saturday, Nov. 2. Tools were purchased from the Lowe’s store for the Sparks Parks and Recreation Department and for this project with grant funding. Fifty-five community and Lowe’s Heroes participated in cleanup and beautification efforts at Sparks Marina with 85 bags of Russian Thistle and other invasive weeds being collected and 10 bags of trash filled.
KTMB looks forward to an ongoing partnership with the Lowe’s store in Sparks. Thank you to Assistant Store Manager, David Berntzen, for your help and support. Thank you Lowe’s and Keep America Beautiful for this grant opportunity.
Each year on the first Saturday in October in the City of Riverside, CA , Keep Riverside Clean & Beautiful organizes the Santa Ana River & City Waterway Cleanups. The project is in its sixth year as partnership project with the Riverside County Flood Control and local law enforcement. It started out as a small river bottom cleanup with about 75 community volunteers and has grown to 500 volunteers with an expanded footprint of 17 waterway cleanup sites which collected over 34,000 lbs. of waste and bulky items this year. This project has noteworthy impact on the community from an environmental perspective because it prevents so much litter and debris from going into our city waterways, which would ultimately end up in the Pacific Ocean, and all the while preserving the natural habitat that lives within the river bottom. Thank you Lowe’s and the City of Riverside!
Brightside was once again blessed with volunteers making it their civic duty to keep Louisville clean and green by cleaning up around the community. This fall, Brightside had more than 6,000 members of the community serving the city by picking up trash along the roadways and green spaces. An estimated eight tons of garbage was picked up during the Fall Community-Wide Cleanup, or the equivalent to what 11 Americans go through in an entire year!
Cleanups are an integral part of the Brightside mission and without the help of these volunteers groups, and many other volunteers throughout the year, we could not achieve our goals of a cleaner, greener Louisville. We sincerely thank all who participated, and those who showed their support in other ways. Together, we can continue to improve our already wonderful city!
Rachael Hatley, who will be graduating with a MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in mid-October, developed The Litter Letter Project as her graduate thesis project in response to an issue of strong personal interest.
“I grew up in England where littering is shameful, so it is disappointing to see how big of an issue litter is in Louisiana, a state that is so beautiful in so many ways,” she said. “I felt compelled to do ‘something’ and believe using design as a tool and combining it with community collaboration as well as educating youth and using a positive message can be a very powerful driver for change.”
Hatley’s concept — to create three-dimensional inspirational messages using chicken wire filled with litter collected from roadways and highways — was well-received in Louisiana. So much so that Keep Louisiana Beautiful awarded a grant to Keep Washington Parish Beautiful (KWPB) to construct six installations throughout the parish.
After prototyping the two-foot-tall CARE letters (above), Hatley helped facilitate the six-foot installations. Residents of the Rayburn Correctional facility created the six-foot letters that are on display in the parish. Troy Barber, the Chairman of KWPB, organized the local community leaders to make the project come to fruition.
Hatley is using litter to deliver a visually powerful anti-littering message in the hope that it will inspire people to change their behavior. Read more about the project, including how Hatley constructs her “litter letters” and view additional installations here.
Five Keep America Beautiful affiliates in Tennessee teamed up to create a mobile classroom to teach students about litter and recycling. Sponsored by Republic Services, this rolling education unit will reach thousands of school children across east Tennessee!
Keep Australia Beautiful (another KAB!), has launched a Littering is Wrong Too campaign to coincide with Keep Australia Beautiful Week. The litter prevention campaign, created by Keep America Beautiful, intrinsically links littering with wrongdoing by asking people to ‘Write your Wrong’ and taking a lighthearted approach to get attention and be remembered. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to change perceptions of those who litter and the act of littering, to induce a long-term change in behavior and lead to cleaner communities. But first, the campaign needs to get your attention, and then get you talking and thinking about litter. Many people don’t regularly talk about the problem of litter, or even perceive it as a problem, and the Littering is Wrong Too campaign aims to change that. By comparing littering to other wrong (and ridiculous) behaviors like “networking at a funeral”, the campaign communicates just how wrong it is to litter.
People in Australia are being asked to enter their ‘wrong’ on the campaign website www.litteringiswrongtoo.org.au. The most original, quirkiest, humorous entry selected each week over five weeks will receive a cash prize and be featured in future Keep Australia Beautiful publicity campaigns.
Keep America Beautiful is excited to see the program adapted by our friends down under, and looks forward to hearing their wrongest wrongs!