Keep Charleston Beautiful, Charleston, SC

Keep Charleston Beautiful was awarded a $5,000 KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant to implement the Adopt-A-Stop: Bus Stop Litter Prevention Program in Charleston, S.C. Adopt-A-Stop (AAS) is a volunteer based litter prevention program geared at stopping litter at Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) bus stops located in the City of Charleston. In short, volunteers adopt a trash can at a local bus stop and service the can weekly, collecting the trash and cleaning any litter near the stop.

Thanks to the KAB/Lowe’s 2014 grant funds Keep Charleston Beautiful now has 12 stops adopted throughout the City and more under review for adoption. Grant funding provided the trash cans, lids, trash bags, pickup sticks, safety materials, and promotional items needed for this project to become a reality.

Why Adopt-A-Stop?
AAS was created to solve an issue. Litter along local roads with a focus on bus stops. Transition spots and areas where people stop are often hot spots for litter, more so when there are no receptacles for unwanted waste. Unfortunately, simply providing a trash can at such locations is the easy part of the solution. The harder part is servicing the trash cans. A trash can that is not serviced does nothing to solve the litter issue and quickly becomes a problem in and of itself. The AAS program in Charleston aimed to provide serviced trash cans at local bus stops. The catch was we had no budget or staff to service the cans. After testing our volunteers at four stops around the city, the Adopt-A-Stop program formally launched in the summer of 2014. We are continuing to expand and improve the program, but already this year our adopters have conducted 144 bus stop visits, collected 61 bags of trash from stops.

Who Adopts?
Adoption groups range from local real-estate businesses, restaurants, small businesses, individuals, families, nonprofits, schools, and local scouts groups. When thanking a the Charleston’s Boy Scout Pack 79, Den 6 for their adoption of the stop near their meeting place, the young men had a few winsome words to share. When asked how they could help prevent litter an 8-year-old responded, “Put trash in the trash can if there is one near you or just hold onto it until you see a trash can.” When asked what they thought litter was, Romney, a 7-year-old scout answered, “Plastic and tin and other stuff that people just get rid of without thinking.” These young men along with all our other volunteers are stepping up and acting as true stewards in the community.

We also involve local students to help decorate our AAS drum trash cans. The painted cans help draw attention to the cans and provide a fun way for local students to share their ideas on what makes Charleston beautiful. The students are asked to paint the cans with the theme “A Beautiful Charleston.”

KCB is thankful to CARTA, Lowe’s, Keep America Beautiful, and our wonderful Adopters for making AAS possible.

Keep Durham Beautiful, Durham, N.C.

Volunteers began work on a new project at Briggs Avenue Community Garden in Durham, N.C., on Friday, Oct. 31, thanks to a $10,000 KAB/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant in support of the mission of Keep Durham Beautiful. The Lowe’s Community Partners Grant will provide funding to create new demonstration areas, develop a vineyard, and improve accessibility for individuals with limited mobility.

Briggs Avenue Community Garden was founded to address issues of food security, to improve the diets of residents, and to provide Durham youth and families with resources and education to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables. Local Lowe’s employee volunteers — “Lowe’s Heroes” — are working at the garden alongside other volunteers and City and County staff (including Durham County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers).

Already, they have created accessible raised garden beds for plot owners with limited mobility and developed a vineyard with grapes and blueberries to teach vineyard cultivation and management for the community. In the next month, they will finish building a 400-square-foot mortared brick patio with lighting, fans, seating and cooking stations for public use in demonstrations and community gatherings.

The project is expected to be completed in mid-December 2014, making the space even more inviting for the many families and individuals who participate in the garden in 2015.

Keep Houston Beautiful, Houston, TX

Howard Rambin, Keep Houston Beautiful(KHB)  founder, receiving the 2014 Mayor’s Outstanding Proud Partner of the Year award from City of Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Jim Tates, KHB chairman and President, U.S. West Region & Latin America for The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. Rambin was honored by KHB on its 35th anniversary.

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.

Keep Cass County Beautiful, Louisville, NE

On Oct. 25, 36 local volunteers gathered to plant 34 new trees in the village park in Cedar Creek, Neb. The trees were made possible from a 2014 Lowe’s/Keep America Beautiful Community Partners Grant. The $10,000 grant was received by Keep Cass County Beautiful and helps support its mission to engage individuals in building and sustaining vibrant communities.

Twenty-four conifer trees were planted along the south side of the park to add a screen and noise barrier from the railroad tracks. A mix of Black Hills spruce, white pine, Douglas fir, Colorado spruce, Norway spruce, limber pine, and Swiss stone pines will create a beautiful backdrop. A variety of autumn blaze maples, shingle oaks and various crabapple trees were also planted in the 19-acre park and green space areas. Another 10 large deciduous trees (each of a different species) will be planted this week to complete the project. The addition of more trees will provide shade, shelter, habitat, cleaner air, and a beautiful environment that will encourage more use of park areas.

Thanks to Lowe’s, Keep America Beautiful, the Village Board of Cedar Creek, Charles Paukert, Kip Fuxa, many Cedar Creek and other volunteers, Eagle Nursery and Beck’s Tree Farm for their help with the completion of this project. Creating more shade in the picnic and playground areas of the park will encourage more events and attract more visitors. This project will improve the overall aesthetics and environment of Cedar Creek’s unique lake community increasing enjoyment for everyone.

Keep Akron Beautiful, Akron, OH

On Saturday Sept. 27, as 15,000 runners were running through the streets of Akron — and even more spectators were lining the streets watching — Keep Akron Beautiful was assisting the Akron Marathon with its recycling efforts!

Early in the morning, a crew of 15 made sure that the trash cans only had trash in them, and that the recycling bins were highly utilized. This group was sorting everything that people were throwing in the trash, pulling out water bottles, cans, and making sure the clothing was donated, not thrown away! Only 10 bags of trash were collected at the start line, and two large blue recycling totes were FULL of recyclables.

On the concourse and at the finish line of the race, our Green Team was collecting heat sheets and grocery bags, chip bags to be recycled, PowerBar wrappers to be recycled, bottles and cans, and banana peels to be composted.

The Akron Marathon, Keep Akron Beautiful and ReWorks rallied together to make recycling and composting a breeze for all runners involved in the festivities.

Thanks to a grant from Keep America Beautiful and The Coca-Cola Foundation, this is the second year we were able to utilize the 25 recycling bins designed specifically for placement at the race. These bins were placed on the concourse of Canal Park on Sept. 27.

A special thanks goes out to the “Green Team,” who worked together to make sure the recyclables and trash were in their proper places. From the start line to the finish line and everywhere in between, the volunteers did an amazing job! Congratulations Akron (AND ALL RUNNERS!) on another successful Akron Marathon!

The results? Twenty-five full bags of heat sheets were taken to the Blankets to Boards program; 3.41 tons of recyclables; and 630 lbs of clothing were donated to the Salvation Army. We are still waiting on numbers for our composting. It was a very successful recycling day at the Akron Marathon. We are proud to work with such great partners to make this happen in Akron!

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Flint, MI

Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s volunteer activity is attracting even more volunteers. Each day as they continue their painting and improvements in Sarginson Park, the Adopt a Park sponsors from West Flint Community Watch are being approached by neighborhood residents who want to join in and help complete the process.

Mary Severn, who co-chairs the Sarginson Park adoption team, was approached today while buying coffee and donuts for the hard-working volunteers in the park. A gentleman in line behind her asked a few questions and decided he wanted to volunteer as well. Whenever there are even two or three people interested in heading over to do some painting, Mary is willing to get them started with supplies and little direction. Scraping and painting begin at Delaware and Longway parks on September 13-14. Here’s to the volunteer spirit!

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Flint, Michigan

The scraping and prepping is complete and painting has begun at Sarginson Park. Devin Shroeder from the Lowe’s store in Burton, Michigan  stopped by to answer questions and encourage the volunteers from the West Flint Community Watch as they started the multi-day painting process. Just a week earlier, 18 community volunteers came out to finish scraping and prepping the park’s pavilion, benches, safety rails and playground equipment. This Saturday, the local Lowe’s team will conduct its second Scrape, Prep and Paint Training session at Mott Park where volunteers will spend the day applying what they learn.