Orange County Coastkeeper, Costa Mesa, CA

Thanks to a KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant, Orange County Coastkeeper opened the Coastkeeper Garden, a demonstration garden featuring six native plant communities, drought-tolerant vegetation, and a natural playground. The grant helped us establish an active docent program, launch a series of free workshops, and complete construction on our natural playground. The garden sits on a parcel of land behind a community college that was previously vacant, untended and unused. The space is now flourishing and vibrant, helping to connect youth to the natural environment and inspiring local residents how to save water and reduce water pollution.

The natural playground, in particular, has been a positive and meaningful addition to the community, providing a unique venue for children to play and explore. We’ve had hundreds of young visitors come to enjoy the deer grass maze, willow tree tunnel, and log pathways. We’ve also hosted a number of events designed to promote nature connection and creativity, including adobe brick building, pumpkin painting, and for older kids, making succulent arrangements.

Our sustainable landscaping workshop series has had a great start. These hands-on workshops are offered free of charge, and inspire local residents to plan, design, and maintain their own drought-tolerant gardens. Our vision is that every visitor to the garden will carry away the message that water and energy conservation can be simple, cost-efficient, low-maintenance, and beautiful.

Keep Genesee County Beautiful – Flint, MI

It was a cold and rainy 37 degrees on Nov. 11 when the final touches were completed at the KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant-supported baseball field in Hardenbrook Park. The  press conference and thank you’s started at 11:30 a.m. with managers from the Flint Township and Burton Lowe’s store on hand as well as a half dozen alumni from the park’s sponsor, the Flint Northern Class of 1974. We watched as the final layer of ball diamond meal was worked into the ground. The bleachers, players’ benches and trash receptacles were in place, and repairs on the backstop had been completed. Now that most of the leaves had dropped, we could clearly see the 450-foot fence line that was the result of the labor of Lowe’s Heroes and Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s community volunteers in September.

The talk quickly turned to planning a ribbon cutting event in the spring at the first baseball game. This generated talk of future baseball tournaments, kick ball games and tee ball games. And, of course, the alumni group added that this means there should be a party and a cook out and other reasons to gather the surrounding community together to celebrate. After the media had left and the bulldozer continued to finish the job, the rain turned into snow, reminding us all that we had the whole winter to plan for the spring kickoff and the renewal of another City of Flint park!

-View a YouTube video of images taken during the Hardenbrook Park cleanup and park improvement project.
-Watch local news coverage of the event on ABC12
-Read local news coverage of the event at the Flint Journal

Keep Akron Beautiful — Akron, OH

On Aug. 21, 2013 after months of planning, the Lowe’s Heroes from Fairlawn and Alliance, Ohio, banded together to carry out a park spruce-up project at two City of Akron parks: Davenport Park and Erie Island Park. In just a few hours many tasks were completed.

At Davenport Park, Lowe’s volunteers replaced lumber and stained all of the dilapidated benches by the park restroom and on the t-ball fields. Children were virtually unable to sit on these benches, so we completely refurbished them. Next, the Lowe’s Heroes volunteers stained all of the picnic tables, benches and bleachers in the entire park. They labored alongside City of Akron Arborist Bill Hahn and planted 10 trees. As if that wasn’t enough, they proceeded to spruce up all of the park signs! The Lowe’s team ripped out all of the old, dying plants, tilled and added more soil, and planted a beautiful array of flowers. The park sign spruce-up also included a new coat of brown and yellow paint to make the City of Akron park sign POP!

At the Erie Island Park ball fields, the Lowe’s Heroes spread gravel around the new picnic tables so that the area would be easy to walk through. They also created a new planting bed, roto-tilled, added new soil and planted alongside the Keep Akron Beautiful crew.

Six City of Akron parks received new trash and recycling receptacles, including Davenport Park and Erie Island Park/ball fields, where the projects took place. These receptacles will encourage recycling and were exclusively placed in parks that have youth sporting activities happening in the park. The six parks receiving these receptacles include: Copley Road Soccer Complex, Davenport Park, Erie Island Park/ball fields, Lane Field, Patterson Park and Prentiss Park. All of the sports teams that practice or play in these parks were given an education about what to deposit into the trash container and what to deposit in the recycling container. Keep Akron Beautiful is encouraging players, coaches and fans to make the right choice in depositing their waste and NOT littering in the parks! Educational materials were given out, and all of the recycling bins have a sticker affixed to them to remind citizens what is appropriate to throw in the bins. Each team was also given a supply of trash and recycling bags, so they are able to do a litter sweep after each practice or game.

Keep Akron Beautiful appreciates all of the assistance of the City of Akron Parks Department, as well as the Fairlawn Lowe’s store. We are so proud to show off all of the good being done in our community! Thank you, Lowe’s for funding our $20,000 Community Improvement Grant and to the Fairlawn Lowe’s store for choosing us as your “Lowe’s Heroes” project. We are so proud of the work we have accomplished, and will continue to accomplish through our new recycling program.

Keep Genesee County Beautiful – Flint, Michigan

The excitement is growing as we begin the countdown for a new baseball field via our KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement grant. Two years ago, this park was nothing but waist high grass where no one could play. The Flint Northern Class of 1974 alumni decided to adopt the park that was in their neighborhood when they were children. The grass was mowed, the playground and basketball courts were painted and they started to hold community events and programs for children at this inner city park.

This year, this volunteer group became Park Tenders with Keep Genesee County Beautiful. Then we received additional funding through the Lowe’s grant and the plan moved forward. This grant will pay for a new baseball field (including bleachers, player benches, waste receptacles and bases), repair the backstop and basketball court and replace the fence at the park entrance. On Sept. 14, volunteers from Lowe’s and Park Tenders will work side by side to remove overgrown brush and invasive trees from the fence line, creating a “see-through” park, making it safer for everyone.