Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, Oklahoma City, OK

Located in Edmond, Okla., St. Mary’s Episcopal School’s Beyond the Classroom program offers special morning and afternoon childcare in an effort to provide children with a safe, secure, “home away from home” atmosphere. Beyond the Classroom students (BTC) focused their Great American Cleanup (GAC) efforts on 60 acres of school grounds. The students worked to expand the nesting boxes trail for bluebirds, cut down invasive pears in the native grasses with easy-to-use tools provided by Troy-Bilt. They also installed two outdoor classrooms of stones that are sustainable, low maintenance and will last forever.

Students cleaned up ponds as the water levels dropped, trail litter clean ups each visit, monitored the nesting of birds at St. Mary’s and earned national recognition as Advanced Bird Sanctuary by National Wildfire Federation. Donna Mackiewicz is the Director of Beyond the Classroom at St. Mary’s Episcopal School and is constantly participating in Keep Oklahoma Beautiful’s programs. We appreciate everything she is doing to help students grow. Way to go BTC!

Keep Moore County Beautiful – Carthage, N.C.

On April 24th, 2014 Keep Moore County Beautiful celebrated Earth Day at the Pinehurst Elementary School’s “Earth Day Expo.” Executive Director, Chad Beane, had 500 kids participating in his interactive Recycling Game and was able to distribute recycling and anti-litter stickers and tattoos to the kids from our booth.

Keep Westmoreland County Beautiful

Keep Westmoreland County Beautiful received a $10,000 WM Think Green Grant to implement a multifamily dwelling (apartment) recycling program for up to 500 apartment units. Three apartment complexes were chosen to test the pilot program. Educational material on single stream recycling (2 complexes), and a municipal recycling program (1 complex) were developed unique to each facility; apartment-sized recycling totes were purchased for each unit and hand-delivered to each resident. Waste Management assisted with selection of the appropriate collection method and schedule for each facility. After some initial skepticism, residents seem to have really taken to the recycling program and are anxious to see it continue. Apartment managers seem pleasantly surprised by the reaction and participation of their residents.

Keep Charleston Beautiful

The City of Charleston’s Keep Charleston Beautiful (KCB) strives to maintain the beauty of Charleston via numerous efforts, particularly public awareness and education. To reach our goals of a cleaner tomorrow through education KCB offers school based education programs free of charge to both elementary and middle schools in Charleston.

The award winning Clean City Clara Program is a wonderful way to introduce litter prevention and recycling to young students. The program takes elementary aged children on an imaginative journey, from a cup littered on the ground, down a storm drain, and out into the harbor where it impacts wildlife. The children then help clean up the littered stage and learn about recycling while engaging with Clara, the litter prevention pelican mascot of KCB.

At the conclusion of the program, students receive a storybook highlighting the adventures of Clara, an activity book, and a pencil made from recycled materials. Last school year KCB saw 4,458 elementary school students, hosting 45 programs in 30 different elementary schools. KCB’s Talking Trash Program, a sister program to Clean City Clara, is tailored to teach middle school students numerous environmental topics, including: proper waste management; stormwater quality; marine debris and its impacts on wildlife, the community, and habitat; and school and student involvement in the community.

Twenty-two Talking Trash programs were presented during the 2012/2013 school year, reaching a total of 470 middle school students. KCB strives to maintain continuous contact with school and teachers through free education and community involvement programs. So far in the 2013/2014 school year, KCB has presented 27 programs, at 13 different schools, reaching a total of 1,113 elementary and middle school students. Providing free, fun, informative litter prevention messages to local youth is crucial for preventing future litter in our community. Litter prevention education programs are funded through support from Friends of KCB, PalmettoPride, the City of Charleston, and Keep America Beautiful.

Captain Planet Foundation, Atlanta GA

As a recipient of a KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant, the Captain Planet Foundation would like to thank KAB and Lowe’s for supporting the expansion of the Captain Planet Learning Gardens (CPLG) Program into Ventura County, Calif. elementary schools. The CPLG program is a comprehensive and innovative approach to the school garden concept that invites schools to consider their garden as an extension of the classroom. The school garden serves as a living laboratory that is embraced and utilized by the entire school community across multiple disciplines and school subjects.

The CPLG program aims to address the high obesity and low nutrition rates among under-served children, while helping them to develop a connection to nature and a sense of place in their communities. School gardens have been proven to build an ethic in students (and often times their families) for environmental stewardship — leading to a deeper understanding of the natural world and creating a desire to implement beautification efforts at school and around their communities. The CPLG program ensures that every student has an opportunity to increase their time outdoors while learning about and tasting fresh fruits and vegetables each month during the school year — building an appreciation and palate for healthy food options.

To KAB and Lowe’s — we deeply appreciate your dedication to our mission of building an educated generation of eco-visionaries and environmental change-makers. As Captain Planet says, “The Power is yours!”

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Tampa, FL

The Florida Learning Garden, a project of Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB) in partnership with the Florida State Fairgrounds, is a permanent one-acre interactive educational experience. From ‘right-plant, right-place’ to best practices for water conservation, the Florida Learning Garden educates residents on multiple growing techniques and sustainable practices to utilize in their own homes and gardens.

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful was proud to partner with Lowe’s for a grant assisting with completion of several Phase II projects at the Florida Learning Garden. The garden is unique in that it reaches a wide scope of people through its accessible location and multiple community partnerships. By housing donated plants and starter seedlings in our greenhouse and storing extra tools and supplies at the garden, KTBB will continue to support the efforts of community gardens throughout the area.

So much growth has happened in the garden during the past few months, thanks to the Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant! The soil on the site lacked nutrients, so funding for mulch, garden soil, and fertilizer has been vital in creating the overall success of edible crops at the garden.

In April 2013, KTBB held a KAB National Day of Action on the site, during which 44 trees were planted. Teams of volunteers from the surrounding community and universities picked up their shovels and set to work digging, planting, mulching and watering the beautiful fruit trees to line the garden. KTBB also partnered with the Home Builder’s Institute (HBI), an organization that teaches construction skills to at-risk or previously incarcerated individuals. Part of the grant funding enabled us to purchase building supplies so that HBI volunteers could build four workbenches for the greenhouse to provide a workspace for educational programs for youth visiting the site. Kids are now able to line the tables in the greenhouse and see, touch and smell the plants, as well as plant their own seedlings to take home.

On Oct. 19, local Lowe’s Heroes volunteers came to the Florida Learning Garden to construct a gazebo and install a butterfly garden on the property. The implementation of this beautiful structure was by far one of the most creative and greatest successes at the garden so far! The addition of a second butterfly garden by another volunteer group has created a new home for a host of butterfly species, and the rainbow of native flower species has created a flourishing, inviting space for both kids and adults.

Finally, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful is thrilled that our 20 grow beds are now filled to the brim with winter crop vegetables! After re-planting in October, the first batch of produce has been successfully harvested and donated to a local charity to provide nutrition for homeless teens. We are so pleased to be giving back to our community in meaningful ways, and believe this site will help create new individuals stewards for the environment in our community.

Keep Charleston Beautiful, Charleston, South Carolina

The Green Heart Project is a community-based volunteer organization that integrates school farms as outdoor classrooms in an effort to teach students the virtues of hard work, respect and success and reiterate classroom curriculum while connecting students and volunteers to fresh, healthy, locally-grown produce. The City of Charleston’s Keep Charleston Beautiful is dedicated to promoting a cleaner more beautiful Charleston through education, awareness, and community involvement. In 2013, these two groups came together through a Lowe’s grant to improve a school based garden in the heart of Downtown Charleston.
The Green Heart Project was founded in 2009 with its pilot garden built with students and volunteers at Mitchell Elementary School in downtown Charleston. Over the past 5 years, the garden has grown from 5 small raised beds in the schoolyard to encompass over 12,000 ft of garden space, including a 5,500 ft vegetable garden, a native species and herb garden, and a 35 tree fruit orchard including citrus, papaya, figs, pomegranate and blueberries. The garden is utilized by the entire school as outdoor learning laboratory where students, alongside volunteer mentors, partake in every part of the growing cycle, from seed, to harvest, to tasting!
Although the entire garden functions as a an outdoor learning space, one component has been on the wish list for many years, an outdoor classroom – a covered place for our students, teachers and volunteers to gather to discuss the concepts taught between the vegetable rows. Working in conjunction with the Keep Charleston Beautiful, an affiliate of KAB, the Green Heart Project was able to secure funding and volunteers through a Lowe’s Charitable & Education Foundation grant to build and install not only a beautiful outdoor classroom complete with benches and tables, but also a 1500 gallon cistern to harvest all of the rain captured on the roof. The rain-water harvesting system will not only function to help irrigate the surrounding garden beds, but will be a lesson in and of itself teaching sustainable gardening practices and touch on the importance of sustainability in the times of today. Even though the community volunteer day landed on one of the coldest and windiest days this year, a small group of dedicated, hard working volunteers came out to help. Though they could not feel their fingers or faces, a lot of progress was made and the outdoor garden classroom began to take shape.
Our Farm-to-School program at Mitchell, students are ecstatic to begin using the outdoor classroom in the spring season of 2014 and are grateful for the partnership and volunteers at KAB and Lowe’s for their support and help in making our outdoor classroom a reality! Volunteers from Keep Charleston Beautiful and local Lowe’s stores are invited to continue working with the Green Heart team and the school garden throughout the year. This is an ongoing, ever growing, project that brings the students and community together.

Keep Allen Beautiful, Allen Texas

There’s a new greenhouse in Allen courtesy of a $5,000 Lowe’s/KAB Community Improvement Grant. Keep Allen Beautiful and the City of Allen’s Urban Forestry Division teamed up with the local Lowe’s Heroes to purchase and install a much-needed and greatly anticipated greenhouse. The City of Allen is a growing suburb in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex that takes great pride in providing high-quality public amenities for its 88,600+ residents. Allen’s Urban Forestry Division maintains the City’s urban forest as well as all public park and open space landscape beds consisting of 63 public sites that total 876 maintained public acres, with an additional 225 undeveloped acres to be landscaped and maintained in the future.

The new greenhouse will give failing plants a place to recoup when the ever-changing Texas weather puts them under too much stress, as well as providing a place to grow new plants and nurture plants that have been removed for road expansions. Of course, getting a jump-start on spring plants during the winter instead of purchasing plants is also a rationale for the new structure. Putting the greenhouse to work stretches public tax dollars in sustaining the City’s public landscapes. The Urban Forestry Division is currently working on the final plans for an educational component, hoping to open the greenhouse for educational purposes in the coming months.

Thanks to Lowe’s corporate funding and local Lowe’s Heroes’ installation assistance, the City of Allen Urban Forestry Division and Keep Allen Beautiful have a much-needed greenhouse purchased, installed, and fully operational!