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“We gain a lot of ground when we both give a little, ain’t no road too long when you Meet in the Middle.” -Diamond Rio Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission (KMBBC) and Keep Warner Robins Beautiful (KWRB) launched the nationwide Great American Cleanup by hosting “Meet in the Middle,” a collaborative effort to clean Highway 247. The connecting state roadway is the daily route for more than 25,000 residents and visitors of Bibb and Houston Counties. KMMBC and KWRB were pleased when an estimated 75 volunteers attended a ceremony to kick off the program. Mayors Robert Reichert and Randy Toms welcomed volunteers and expressed appreciation to teams for their willingness to support beautification and litter eradication efforts. Guest speaker Sarah Visser, Executive Director of Keep Georgia Beautiful, commended the “… ground breaking and monumental efforts of neighboring communities willing to work together to help Keep Georgia Beautiful.” Following the ceremony, volunteers joined 29 teams and spent the day removing litter and debris from medians, roadways, bridges, and ditches along Highway 247. KMBBC and KWRB are proud to announce that 234 citizens from governments, corporations, businesses, organizations, and schools provided 729 hours to remove more than three tons of trash. Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, and GEICO provided corporate sponsorship; Advanced Disposal, Bibb and Houston County Law Enforcement Agencies, Choice Premiums, Macon Parks & Beautification, and Solid Waste Management provided services and in-kind support. WMGT Channel 41 and The Telegraph newspaper helped publicize the event. The purpose of this nationwide endeavor is to engage citizens to take pride in clean and beautiful surroundings. Locally, two communities joined forces to help residents and visitors enjoy a cleaner, safer, and more beautiful commute.

Keep Macon-Bibb/Warner Robins Beautiful, GA

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Keep Casper Beautiful had a very successful Arbor Day with UPS employee volunteers and students from University Park Elementary School. The tree planting and celebration had been delayed one week due to a spring snowstorm. But, Mother Nature provided a wonderful, 70 degree day for the volunteers. Students, UPS volunteers, and city arborists planted 20 trees in Eastdale Park. The park had lost 28 trees due to the Arctic Surge in 2014. The surge caused temperatures to plummet 70 degrees in one day, killing many trees that had not yet gone dormant for winter. Eastdale Park is one of many Casper parks that was hit hard by the surge. The UPS Foundation Community Tree and Recovery Tree Planting Grants program allowed Keep Casper Beautiful to restore the urban forest in the park.

Keep Casper Beautiful, Casper, WY

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On April 23, 2016, volunteers from all over the Akron area joined together to participate in a large scale cleanup at Summit Lake. Keep Akron Beautiful was joined by 166 volunteers that helped collect 5.07 tons of litter, as well as 14 tires, four propane tanks and one scooter, in just four hours. Families, groups of friends, neighbors and community groups like The University of Akron’s William’s Honors College students, Circles and Kent State University’s Super Service Saturday Students, Rare Divas Social Club, Starbucks, G. Stephens and Bridget Drill Team joined the cleanup effort on Saturday. When Julie Junker, a student at The University of Akron, was asked why she was participating in the cleanup, she said, “It’s our mess. We created it and it is our responsibility to clean it up.” Attitudes like Junker's were common at the lake that day. Many people felt they had a responsibility to take ownership for our community. While it may have been some volunteers first time cleaning up at the lake, other repeat volunteers, like 10-year-old Jaden and Ryan said they would keep coming to the cleanups until the lake is safe and clean. The cleanup is one of the largest projects that takes place during Keep Akron Beautiful’s Clean Up Akron Month. With the help of Ohio Erie Canalway Coalition, Keep Akron Beautiful, and a Kenmore United logistics and planning committee, a plan was created to effectively distribute volunteers around the entirety of the lake, identifying zones that were highly littered and in need of a higher volume of volunteers. Keep Akron Beautiful was able to be on site with its two community improvement trailers to man the volunteers with the tools they would need to get the job done: gloves, rakes, litter grabbers and GLAD trash bags, as well as recycling bags. Thanks to grant funding from the Ohio EPA, volunteers also received neon green tee-shirts helping to ensure the safety of volunteers as they embarked to collect litter from the lake. Safety was one of the top concerns during the planning process of the cleanup. The Akron Police Department was on site to assist with the disposal of portable meth labs, needles and other hazardous materials found during the cleanup. City Sanitation supported the cleanup efforts Saturday morning as well, and with the help of their packer truck, the 5.07 tons of litter collected by volunteers was able to be quickly disposed of. Volunteers were provided breakfast and lunch thanks to the generous support of the following local sponsors: Jubilee Donuts, Pierre’s Pizza, Regina’s Pizza, ACME, and the Kenmore Kiwanis’s Club. Keep Akron Beautiful, a local affiliate of the national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful, strives to empower individuals in our community through volunteer participation by collecting litter, illegal dumping, creating a more livable community during Clean Up Akron Month, now in its 35th year.

Keep Akron Beautiful, Akron, OH

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