Keep Houston Beautiful, Houston, Texas

During the Great American Cleanup, Keep Houston Beautiful teamed up with the Houston Housing Authority and more than 200 youths from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to replenish the Historic Oaks of Allen Parkway Village. The youths planted more than 140 native trees, generously donated by the Apache Foundation, throughout the property. Thank you to our community partners, the Apache Foundation and the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company who each contributed generous in-kind donations of materials. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful, Winston-Salem, NC

On October 26, 2013 a record number of volunteers, over 550, from virtually every socio-economic background from across the city came together to plant over 400 trees in the Castle Heights neighborhood in southeastern Winston-Salem as part of the annual Community Roots Day event. This was the 21st year this event has been conducted with approximately 10,000 trees being planted over those years. All volunteers received t-shirts, hats and plenty of donated food and drink. Nearly 40 corporate and individual sponsors provided monetary or in-kind support to make this event happen. This event helps to instill a sense of pride in the community, improves property values, stabilizes the soil and helps prevent erosion. Some have said that planting the trees creates a “shield” to “protect the neighborhood from forces that threaten to overwhelm it – crime, decay and a sense that no one cares.”

Dow volunteers plant 146 trees to create new forest at Chippewa Nature Center in Midland, MI

It’s not an easy task to plant a forest and save one all in a day’s work; however, a group of Dow volunteers made it look simple. As part of Dow’s 2014 Great American Cleanup, volunteers planted 146 trees to create the new forest at Chippewa Nature Center in Midland, MI, on May 14. The group was also busy saving an existing forest by removing garlic mustard seed, an exotic invasive species. In total, 14 different species of trees were planted by 30 volunteers.

The work put in by the volunteers will have a lasting effect on the local environment and the community will be able to enjoy it for years to come.

“The diverse trees planted will allow a place for birds and other wildlife to nest and eat,” said Tom Lenon, director of land and facilities at Chippewa Nature Center. “Plus, it will bring beauty to the region as the season change and the fall colors are in full bloom.”

Community outreach has been an essential element to Dow since its founding in 1897. The Great American Cleanup is a key initiative of Dow’s Contributing to Community Success objective as part of the company’s 2015 Sustainability Goals.

“Giving back is part of who we are at Dow,” said Mike Witt, global leader at Dow. “My team and I are always excited to volunteer, and projects like this allow us to have a lasting effect on our community that generations of people can enjoy.

The tree planting initiative is one of more than 60 Great American Cleanup events that Dow will host across the U.S. this year. A national sponsor of the Great American Cleanup since 2008, employees from Dow sites across the U.S. collaborate with local organizations and volunteers in cleanup, recycling, beautification and education initiatives to improve their communities through sustainable solutions for a cleaner and greener tomorrow.

Cedarville 4-H Club and Girl Scouts, Cedarville, AR

The Cedarville 4-H Club and Girl Scouts hosted “Keep Cedarville Beautiful”, a cleanup to engage and involve Cedarville’s youth in efforts to clear litter in their community while learning about environmental responsibility. Their team of 75 volunteers helped clean 20 miles of roadways and 10 acres of parks around Cedarville! They also cleaned and beautified trails and waterways in their community, planting 4 trees and 34 flowers! Way to go, Cedarville 4-H & Girl Scouts!

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.

Keep McAllen Beautiful, McAllen, Texas

Keep McAllen Beautiful has completed it’s sustainable irrigation pilot project! Thanks to the KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant, and with some great help from the City of McAllen, KMB and its volunteers installed a beautification project on a major thoroughfare in McAllen, Texas. The project is particularly special as it demonstrates an innovative new method of irrigation which uses solar-powered pumps and stormwater runoff to irrigate the plant matter that was installed for the project.

The project was accomplished with help from high school volunteers, professional architects and engineers, and the dedicated employees from the City of McAllen. It represents an innovation in water conservation and environmentally sustainable urban beautification projects. “Project Grove,” as the effort has been dubbed, includes 23 native trees and over 600 climate-adapted plants on a major thoroughfare in the McAllen cityscape. It reuses stormwater runoff captured in a city drainage canal and re-utilizes this water to maintain the plants and trees planted along the side of the street.

Keep McAllen Beautiful thanks all the volunteers, Lowe’s, Keep America Beautiful, and the City of McAllen for making this project possible! We hope it helps to establish a new standard of environmental responsibility and innovative conservation in our community!

GET (Green Explorer Trails) Outdoors in Houston, TX

We were thrilled to find out that Lantrip Elementary and Lantrip Blooms (our parent support group) was awarded a $20,000 Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant. We were the only elementary school out of the entire list of grant recipients. We felt honored and overwhelmed at the task that lay ahead!

Our aim was to engage students and adults in outdoor activities by having many visible and intriguing outdoor projects. We wanted to bring nature into an urban area. Our greatest success is that the Lantrip campus has been entirely transformed. The mulch trails and decomposed granite paths we created help to clearly define the space and better frame its features. Huge cypress trees that were barely noticed now stand out and line the pathway. The path is about one-quarter of a mile; they’re used almost daily because our students participate in Marathon Kids (they complete 26 miles over the course of six months). The 12 raised garden beds are symmetrically placed in a grid and sit on top of a decomposed granite pad that also serves as a new outdoor classroom. We now have two areas of outdoor seating with picnic benches. Our goal is to line the pathways with interactive learning stations where the children can explore various aspects of environmental science and connect to the outdoors with more information through signage and QR codes.

Our project generated enthusiasm and engaged more parents at Lantrip than ever before. Historically, the PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) had been largely dysfunctional and had alienated parents. The GET Outdoors project demonstrated to parents that our parent support group had changed, and being awarded this grant clearly signaled this to the entire school. Even more than that, the successful implementation of this grant had generated enthusiasm in nearby schools and created enthusiasm far beyond the Lantrip community. Many partners participated in the implementation of this grant including: the USDA Forest Service, The Friends of the National Forests and Grasslands of Texas, The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, Texas A&M Forest Service and Agrilife. Our newest partner, the Lowe’s Heroes, volunteered in rain and mud; their contribution to this project was indispensable.

There remain several small tasks to complete, but the overall vision of this project was actualized. The buzz this project created locally was likened to the momentum of a runaway train, by Houston Independent School District Board Member Juliet Stipeche. She also mentioned that this project was unlike anything in recent memory. This project has brought together the entire community and encouraged other area schools to try their hand at grant writing and to participate in ongoing “green” efforts. Additionally, our school and several other East End schools are being tested as a pilot model for the USDA Forest Service GreenSchools! to create a Greenbelt of participating area schools. The KAB/Lowe’s grant facilitated the progression of all these projects.

Keep Opelousas Beautiful, Opelousas, Louisiana

The impact we hope to achieve is change in attitude about the neighborhood where the trees and shrubs were planted. Our project committee feels it immediately began to meet some of our community’s needs the moment the work started on this project. Simply cleaning up the litter found in this four block area was a huge start. The reaction to our project has been overwhelmingly positive from both residents and passerby. Softening the effect of the railroad tracks that run through the area by planting the flowering trees and shrubs has definitely helped meet the needs of our community to have a more beautiful neighborhood in which to live.