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!!!

Keep Virginia Beautiful, Richmond, VA

Keep Virginia Beautiful’s inaugural Shiver in the River, which took place on Jan. 31, was an enormous success.

This past Saturday, when it was just a smidge under 42 degrees and the James River was running a cool crisp 37.8, around 400 people showed up to Give 60 and help KVB do a cleanup. The northern bank of the James around Tredegar Iron Works hadn’t looked this good in a long time. With so many volunteers showing up, KVB split off almost 75 brothers from the University of Richmond’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon to head over to Pony Pasture for an auxiliary cleanup. These young men collected 10 pretty decent-sized bags of recyclables and 10 decent-sized bags of trash.

After the Cleanup, 150 hearty and crazy souls stripped down to Speedos, vintage suits, and costumes to wade through chest-deep water, give a shout-out to Richmond Fire & Rescue, and scramble back across and up the shore. Big hugs to the guys and gals at RF&R for being there with their boats. They didn’t save any lives, but they were lifesavers. Our James River Jumpers then shivered over to the heated tent where they enjoyed delicious BBQ and dumplings from Lunch/Supper skipper Rick Lyons.

There were a few take-aways from the Shiver in the River. First is that our job (and by that we mean all of us) is never done. Pony Pasture is one of the most popular spots along the James in Richmond, and it was obviously in need of care. Same goes for the areas around Tredegar. Second is that we need to do a better job of spreading our message. One of our main goals with the Shiver was to raise funds to do that. And we still need your help. As a nonprofit, we only exist because of your donations of time and money. Lastly, we realized that acting crazy to help keep Virginia beautiful can be a blast. We didn’t expect as many people to show up as did, and really appreciate that. So, our Second Annual Shiver in the River is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. Just saying.

If you’d like to be a part of planning this wacky thing next year, head over to our Make a Difference page, click “Education/Other,” and tell us you want to be a part of the Shiver crew.

Those of you who played with us this year – You Rock.

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 Tampa Bay Beautiful, Tampa, FL

Every year during our annual Community Appearance Index, the rural farming community of Wimauma has scored as a 4 – which is the highest level of visible litter. Over the last few months, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, in partnership with Hillsborough County and other local service organizations, has been working on developing community engagement and assistance programs specifically for this isolated area of the county.

Wimauma has a very serious problem with illegal dumping and is comprised of a low-income, mostly non-English speaking Hispanic population. It has been very challenging for Hillsborough County and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to educate the residents on waste and recycle procedures due to the cultural differences and language barrier.

We are beginning to see the start of changing attitudes in the community as we continue developing stronger ties with community leaders and spreading awareness among area residents. Now it is time for action to begin! So, we started with a litter removal/ beautification project around one of the local elementary schools.

Keep Vienna Beautiful, Vienna, GA

Keep Vienna Beautiful (KVB) recently received a $20,000 KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant. The funds were used to refurbish and beautiful George Busbee Park and Ruth Ryner Lay Tennis Court. The grant money was used to replace sod, trees, refurbish the park gazebo, refurbish the playground, and tennis court fence. The goal was to refurbish the existing facilities to entice local citizens as well as travelers to utilize the facilities and enjoy the park located adjacent to downtown Vienna — to make it one of Vienna’s showplaces for all to enjoy.

The playground area really needed the mulch to be upgraded so that children could enjoy the equipment and their parents wouldn’t be worried about them falling on the hard ground. The new PVC piping around the perimeter of this area and the cedar chip mulch make it a much safer area for our children, stated Larista Thompson, Executive Director of KVB.

The gazebo has been rewired so that the facility will be accessible at night for those wanting to have after-dark activities in the park. A new roof was also installed on the gazebo and preservative paint was used on all exposed areas of the gazebo.

This has been a very rewarding project for KVB as well as the City of Vienna. A special thanks to Keep America Beautiful, Lowe’s, Keep Vienna Beautiful, City of Vienna Public Works Department, Mayor and City Council for their contributions to the success of this project.

Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Clean & Beautiful Commission, Pine Bluff, AR

The Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Clean & Beautiful Commission was very honored to have received the KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant for $20,000 to implement the “Safety is Beautiful” project focusing on two large, heavily-trafficked areas in Pine Bluff: 8th Street medians in front of the Convention Center and the main Post Office and also on Harding Avenue.

With the grant award, Clean & Beautiful was able to install four new walkways, trim back hedges, shrubs, and trees, and put in new landscaping for beds that were in disrepair. Even with the crazy and unpredictable weather of Arkansas, we were able to put in the four walkways; replace old, torn, and warped metal edging with stone pavers; level out the brick walks in the turnaround areas; remove dead trees and debris; plant over 1,000 daffodil bulbs, 250 irises, 250 or more day lilies, 10 to 20 azaleas, over 100 hosta, 25 ferns, 20 pencil hollies, 40 boxwood, two large crepe myrtles, 40 ornamental grasses, and the list goes on. These beds were in need of major revitalization and the efforts that Lowe’s afforded us to make were invaluable to the safety of motorists, pedestrians, and surrounding communities who use these areas everyday.

We had around 450 volunteers in total and were able to build new community bridges of communications with organizations who have never been able to work together. We had volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. Our youngest volunteer was Gabriella Ogles, age 4, who is pictured here. Her favorite thing to do was dig holes to plant the bulbs and small plants, although as seen here, she really wanted to be like the big people in helping carry the mulch! She was a true reminder of what these projects help to instill in our community and its youth, when presented with the opportunities! We are thrilled with the success and improvements that this grant was able to make in our community!