Keep Mississippi Beautiful, Madison, MS

Cities today often operate on shoestring budgets, making the community improvement work of volunteer-based organizations like ours highly valuable. We plant trees, clean up litter, encourage recycling and enhance our surroundings – all efforts to improve the quality of life for Mississippians.

This year, as part of our Great American Cleanup State Kickoff, we worked with Keep Ridgeland Beautiful to transform a small park into a community resource.

Nestled in the historic McLaurin Heights neighborhood, Keep Ridgeland Beautiful board members discovered the park a few years ago and saw it as an opportunity for improvement by adding a picnic area, seating and improved recreation features. This cleanup helped Ridgeland take this park to the next level.

“We’re so thankful to all of the volunteers and partners who came together to make this project possible,” said Jan Richardson, chair of Keep Ridgeland Beautiful. “These upgrades to Midway Park are a blessing to the nearby neighborhood.”

One neighbor at the event told us, “I plan to keep an eye on this park and make sure its users keep it up.” It’s great to see how engaged the neighbors are.

During the cleanup, about 85 volunteers helped install grills, picnic tables, benches, trash, recycling receptacles and even a pergola. Students took the lead on building the pergola as part of a Technology Student Association construction challenge.

The basketball court was resurfaced leading up the cleanup, and volunteers striped new lines, cleaned backboards, put up new nets and added another goal. Volunteers also added wood chips to the park’s playground, where city employees installed to spring riders for young children.

We can’t forget our many volunteers with green thumbs. We spruced up the park with six new trees, dozens of shrubs and flowers, and fresh pine straw to enhance the aesthetics and soil of garden beds. They also picked up litter near the park, including a neighboring wooded area.

And finally, the park got an official sign, which will help ensure Ridgeland citizens know about this local place.

We’re thankful for the volunteers who gave their time and to our many sponsors who helped us make this work possible. Sponsors included: Keep Mississippi Beautiful, Keep America Beautiful, Keep Ridgeland Beautiful, City of Ridgeland, Bulldog Construction Company, Bufkin Mechanical Inc., Waste Management, Ad Camp Inc., Southwest Distributors, Troy-Bilt, Brown Bottling Group, MMC, Colonial Heights Baptist Church, Audubon Homeowners Association, First Ridgeland Baptist Church, Mississippi Railroad Association and Ridgeland City Garden Club.

It’s amazing how we can improve and enhance places, like Midway Park, when working together. Projects like this one are happening across Mississippi as part of the Great American Cleanup, a nationwide clean sweep. More than 200 Great American Cleanups will happen in Mississippi from March to May. Let’s keep up the good work in keeping Mississippi beautiful!

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, Albany, GA

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful sponsored an elementary school Arbor Day Celebration with 450 students enjoying a Tree Education presentation by Dr. Kay Kirkman, Chairman of the City Tree Board. Partners included the City Tree Board, two DAR Chapters, The Woman’s Club & Master Gardeners. Our mission was through education and hands-on involvement to instill a vision of conservation, preservation and a knowledge-base for our students regarding the important role that trees play in our everyday lives. The students planted two large Live Oaks.

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, Albany, GA

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful celebrated Arbor Day as 33 volunteers planted 30, 15-gallon new trees in downtown Albany on Saturday, Feb. 21, as well as 13 Chinese Elms, 14 Crape Myrtles and three Eastern Redbuds, which now visually enhance the downtown urban canopy. Job Corps students, citizens at large, City Tree Board members, a County Commissioner and a City Commissioner participated in the event.

Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful, Inc., N.C.

On October 25, 2014, nearly 400 trees were planted by over 500 volunteers in the Belview neighborhood of Winston-Salem, N.C., during the annual Community Roots Day tree planting event, coordinated by Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful. This was the 22nd year for this event! This was done in an area that was in need of the reestablishment of the urban forest canopy. Volunteers came from virtually every socio-economic background from throughout the city. All volunteers were fed breakfast and lunch and received t-shirts and hats. Many sponsors helped make this event possible, including grants from the KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant and the KAB/UPS Community Tree and Recovery Tree Planting Grant programs. It was a VERY successful event!!!

Montgomery Clean City Commission, AL

Montgomery Clean City Commission (MCCC) has been busy, busy, busy during the months of October and November working on preparations for the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Voting March. In March 2015, the eyes of the world will be on Montgomery, Ala., as the capital city celebrates this historic event. MCCC is doing everything in its power ensure Montgomery is looking good.

With the help of a KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant, one of our projects was painting and roofing a home along historic Oak Street and providing the Loveless Community Center with a facelift. To further enhance the streetscape of Oak Street, the path the marchers took into Montgomery from the St. Jude’s campsite, 35 red bud trees have been planted along the street, also a component of the Lowe’s/KAB grant.

This work was done with the help of volunteers from all walks of life: students, military, community service workers, City of Montgomery employees, staff from House to House and members of Rebuilding Together. Just as the citizens of Montgomery are pulling together to celebrate this momentous event, the citizens of Montgomery pulled together to realize the dream of beautifying and uplifting this significant neighborhood.

Montgomery Clean City Commission is grateful for the help and inspiration provided by Keep America Beautiful and Lowe’s. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Keep Tyler Beautiful, Tyler, Texas

Working with urban foresters from the Texas A&M Forestry Service, City of Tyler Parks Maintenance crew members and Lowe’s, Keep Tyler Beautiful (KTyB) has created a community fruit orchard in the City of Tyler’s Woldert Park. Our goals and objectives of this project are to create a source for teaching community members how to grow fruit and nut trees. Once the trees are mature enough to bear fruit, we will invite members of the community to come into the orchard to pick the fruit while learning more about care and selection of fruit trees in their own yards.

Keep Sevier Beautiful

With the funding from a UPS and Keep America Beautiful grant, Keep Sevier Beautiful partnered with the Sevierville Primary School to create an arboretum, a vision by two dedicated teachers with a love of the environment – Ms. Sarah Green and Mr. Mark Mundo.

The work began a week after school let out in June. Ms. Harriet Berrier, the school principal, and many dedicated teachers and staff (including the school resource officer!) spent their first Saturday of summer break planting and mulching 79 trees!

The community rallied behind the project with additional trees being donated by Diane August, Mulch & More Garden Center, and K&P Tree Experts. Seagle’s Landscaping Supply and Sevier Solid Waste donated mulch and compost. K&P also donated wood chips and their entire team came to volunteer. Even the City came out and dug holes with a backhoe to save some work! And City workers and community service workers spent hours throughout the summer watering the newly planted trees.

Once school commenced, Mr. Jack Boyles held an art contest for students to create the main ID sign. Four students drew winning pictures of the outdoor classroom – Jazzie Diaz, Alex Cook, Isaiah Frasier, and Jenna Nave. Another student, Christian Osorio, named the arboretum as the Adventure Trail & Arboretum.

On Make A Difference Day, volunteers met to finish up the arboretum. Additional trees and flower beds were planted, a rain and compost barrel were installed and the signs were installed. K&P Tree Experts came back to climb the trees to hang bat, squirrel, owl and other wildlife houses that were donated by Sevier County Co-Op or made and graciously donated by Eric Sobol.

Finally, on November 25th, the arboretum was ready for the ribbon cutting. All 800 students came out to watch the dedication and ribbon being cut by the winning students. Afterwards, the classes began to tour their new arboretum!

Keep Blount Beautiful Alcoa, TN

On Oct. 29, 2014, Keep Blount Beautiful, Alcoa Tennessee Operations and Community Volunteers, Rosalind Robinson and Sher Kelly, gathered to start the KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant project. KBB received $15,000 to beautify a low income area in Alcoa, TN. Rosalind Robinson lives in this neighborhood and wants to give back to the residents. Ten trees were planted and several yards of mulch were laid down. This is only the beginning!!

The project kicked off on Wednesday, Oct. 29, with the help of the Alcoa Inc.’s Worldwide Month of Service. Ten trees have been planted so far along with several yards of mulch laid. Alcoa’s annual Month of Service in October is the centerpiece of Alcoa’s Volunteer Program. Month of Service mobilizes Alcoa’s global workforce to make a positive difference in the communities where they live and work. This year, almost 500 Alcoa employees volunteered just over 1,600 hours locally, as they participated in 30 events ranging from tree plantings and Habitat builds to river cleanups and much more.