Affiliates from Mississippi and Alabama Meet to Share Ideas

For Evelyn Copeland, this month’s joint meeting of Keep Mississippi Beautiful and Keep Alabama Beautiful proved a great opportunity to share ideas on community improvement.

“We come home rejuvenated, our batteries charged and ready to take on new challenges,” said Copeland, director of Keep Simpson County Beautiful, one of Mississippi’s 40 affiliates.

Copeland was one of about 100 attendees of the annual gathering held in Tupelo, Miss. Attendees received training from Keep America Beautiful’s (KAB) Susan Burkhardt and learned about KAB’s emerging and classic programs, ranging from Cars to Donate to the Great American Cleanup.

“Susan Burkhardt’s sessions were such a help to me and other affiliates,” said Andrea Rose, director of Keep Corinth-Alcorn County Beautiful.

“The Mississippi-Alabama state conferences are always a great way to network and learn from other affiliates and also hear from our national organization,” Rose said. “It always helps me feel more connected with Keep America Beautiful national organization and my fellow Mississippi and Alabama affiliates.”

Tupelo is home to Universal Asset Management, a company that buys airplanes and recycles and rehabilitates airplane parts. What can’t be recycled, they transform into art and furniture. Their office has boardroom tables made of airplane wings.

“The most unique part was the visit to aviation afterlife,” said Judy Keenum, coordinator for Keep the Shoals Beautiful, one of the KAB affiliates in Alabama. “Their business of dismantling and reusing aircraft is incredible. Equally impressive is the quality and precision of the workmanship used.”

Keep America Beautiful at Troy-Bilt Showcase event in Brooklyn, NY

On Friday, June 14, Troy-Bilt made a very generous product donation to Keep New York City Beautiful Coalition members including New York Restoration Project, Citizens Committee for NYC, and Grow NYC, and the Powell Street Community Garden. The donation of machinery will help the community garden and volunteers tremendously. Troy-Bilt, a 2013 Great American Cleanup National Sponsor, has donated machinery to over 110 organizations during this year’s Great American Cleanup, making an incredible impact on communities across the nation. In addition to 2013, Troy-Bilt has made generous donations of lawn and garden equipment to our affiliates nationwide for 15 years, and has enabled our local organizations to create cleaner, greener, more beautiful and vibrant places in which to live, work, garden and play.

We would like to thank all the organizations in attendance, including Troy-Bilt, Keep New York City Beautiful, New York City Department of Sanitation, New York Restoration Project, Citizens Committee for NYC, and Grow NYC.

Keep Evansville Beautiful, Evansville, IN

In December 2012, Keep Evansville Beautiful (KEB) , along with a number of representatives from the City of Evansville, University of Southern Indiana, United Way, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, Evansville Signature School, YMCA, State Farm, and Republic Services, as well as Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winneke and student representatives from the area high schools, met to discuss how best to celebrate and participate in the 2013 Global Youth Service Day.

Shortly thereafter, the Mayor instituted the Clean Evansville Initiative. KEB and the City of Evansville are partners in this program and conduct a litter cleanup every first Saturday of each month. A neighborhood or section of the city is selected, volunteers are recruited, teams are formed, materials are supplied by KEB, the cleanup is conducted, the litter collected is quantified and KEB reports the results to Keep America Beautiful as part of our GAC activities.

It was the decision of all present that we would conduct a large, multi-neighborhood litter cleanup on April 27, to be patterned after the Clean Evansville Initiative model. The planning and organizing process was conducted from January through April. The volunteer groups carried out this initiative as part of Global Youth Service Day and as part of KEB’s Great American Cleanup.

Other Global Youth Services Day activities were conducted as part of the overall celebration, but the litter cleanup was the focal point. Although the entire community was invited to participate, we focused on our youth from kindergarten age through college-aged students. The University of Southern Indiana coordinated the overall program, but KEB had the responsibility for the litter cleanup and coordinated that entire portion.

KEB recruited volunteers, designated the areas to be cleaned up, created maps, formed teams, trained team leaders, assigned volunteers to the teams, provided supplies, acted as liaison with the rest of the organizations and volunteers, and ensured that the cleanup went as planned. Five neighborhoods and areas of Evansville were designated, 24 teams were formed, the teams each had a USI student co-leader as well as a second adult co-leader, all of the students were recruited along with their adult leaders, volunteers from the entire community and the Mayor of the City of Evansville. The event was a tremendous success.

Over 600 volunteers participated and several hundred bags of litter were collected. Planning has begun for 2014 whereby another large, community-wide litter cleanup will be the prime activity to be conducted by our area youth and others on Global Youth Service Day. All of this is just a portion of the activities that Keep Evansville Beautiful conducts throughout the year in support of the Great American Cleanup, resulting in a better, healthier community in which to live and work.

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Contributes to Vibrant Community Impact Goal

On Saturday, April 27, over 3,000 Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB) volunteers participated in Great American Cleanup activities at 84 different sites throughout the community.  While there were numerous projects taking place, most volunteers focused on litter abatement.

During the event, volunteers contributed to Keep America Beautiful’s 2013 Vibrant Communities Impact Goals by collecting 65,000 pounds of trash, cleaning up more than 25 illegal dump sites and removing almost 100 littered scrap tires. They also planted 250 flowers and 940 trees. Together, the volunteers restored more than 400 acres of parks, 100 miles of roads and 50 miles of shorelines throughout Hillsborough County.

Patricia DePlasco, KTBB’s community education liaison, said this year was most meaningful because there were so many different people engaged at such a wide array of sites. She explained that because of this, “We were able to interact with volunteers and explain to them why what they were doing is so important.”

As part of KTBB’s “Keep Our Schools Beautiful” program, high school students were encouraged to mentor, partner, and assist others with their community improvement efforts.  For example, Jesuit High School students partnered with individuals with disabilities during the Great American Cleanup beautification project.

“The students took their cleanup responsibilities very seriously at the ‘Down and Dirty at Lowry Park’ site,” DePlasco said. “They’re determined to keep the Hillsborough River clean – even by climbing into the vegetation to pick up debris.”

Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful of Rome, Rome, NY

Great American Cleanup National Sponsor Troy-Bilt has announced that Keep Mohawk Beautiful of Rome is the winner of Taking Root! The Keep America Beautiful affiliate will receive $10,000 in grant funding and $2,000 in Troy-Bilt products to complete the Grow Rome project. Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful of Rome plans to create new community gardens throughout Rome, N.Y. It targets youth, low income and at-risk citizens and encourages them to grow and harvest their own food.

In addition, each of the five Keep America Beautiful finalist organizations (Keep Carbondale Beautiful in Carbondale, Ill.; Keep Hammond Beautiful in Hammond, La.; Keep Indianapolis Beautiful; Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful in West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Shreveport Green in Shreveport, La.) will be awarded $3,000 to help complete a local gardening projects this year.