Keep Martin Beautiful, Palm City, FL

We began the Indian Mound Cemetery Beautification Project earlier this year thanks to in part to the support we received from the Lowe’s Charitable & Educational Foundation, Keep America Beautiful and many community supporters. The cemetery has been neglected for many years, and Keep Martin Beautiful felt the need to help beautify this historic piece of the community. So far, fencing has been repaired, mulch has been placed, weeds and invasive plants have been removed and benches have been installed.

In addition to what has already been done, we are preparing to replace damaged grave markers, plant flowers and we also have plans to repair an old well that is at the location. Keep Martin Beautiful is dedicated to preserving and improving the quality of life in Martin County, and we believe that this project will allow us to continue preserving our county’s history while creating an attractive, comfortable environment for those visiting family members buried in Indian Mound Cemetery.

Keep America Beautiful at Kitsap County Fair, WA

Have you ever thought about what kind of recycling happens at a rodeo? KAB found out this past week at our third and final fair visit of the summer. KAB and Alcoa Foundation provided bins, boots on the ground, and technical expertise at state and county fairs as part of a Clinton Global Initiative commitment. This week in Washington State, the Kitsap County Fair included a rodeo, and we did not know going into the fair what this would mean for recycling. What did we learn? Rodeos are ripe with recyclables! Even though the adult beverage vendors were doubtful that customers would recycle, when we gave them bins and came back to them the next morning, the bins were filled with aluminum cans! We also provided bins in the bleachers, VIP cookout area, beer garden, and even behind the scenes where the cowboys, cattle wranglers, and barrel racers were camping and taking care of their animals.

As we walked around with labels for recycling bins, a man barbecuing with his family called out to “bring one of those over here!” He was eager to have a label for the recycling bin in his cookout area. Later in the fair, when our volunteers went to check on a bin by the cattle wrangler’s shed, a man wanted to know how they were doing with recycling. The bin was completely filled with recyclables, so we were happy to tell him that he and his friends were doing great! It was exciting to see that fairgoers had a very positive response to not only recycling, but a composting pilot as well! KAB is thrilled that people are passionate about reducing waste and recycling right. Did you find recycling at any outdoor events this summer?

Keep America Beautiful and Keep Prince William Beautiful

Staff from the national Keep America Beautiful recycling office visited the Keep Prince William Beautiful, Va., landfill and recycling center. Two summer interns from KAB and the Keep Prince William Beautiful interns learned all about the highly engineered solid waste management facility and where their garbage goes. Prior to the tour we had a great networking event with some of the affiliate’s board members. A heartfelt thanks goes out to Keep Prince William Beautiful for a fun and informative tour and visit. Have you been to a landfill? If not, you should visit one. Seeing “the end of the line” for garbage is a great reminder to help recyclable materials become something new by placing them in the recycling bin instead of the trash.

Keep Phoenix Beautiful, Phoenix, AZ

Keep Phoenix Beautiful was the recipient of a 2013 Keep America Beautiful/Coca-Cola bin grant. These bins were placed in downtown Phoenix at Cesar Chavez Plaza, a park that has not had any recycling containers previously. This park is a very busy area for the downtown Phoenix area as residents cross through the park to get to government buildings. The city of Phoenix installed the bins and will take care of the recyclable materials. See all the photos and video in this short clip!

“Through our support of the Bin Grant program and our long-standing partnership with Keep America Beautiful, we are helping to bring sustainability to life in local communities across the country,” said Lori George Billingsley, vice president, community relations, Coca-Cola North America Group. “By increasing access to recycling today, we build sustainable communities for the future.

Keep Phoenix Beautiful was one of 156 local government, schools, colleges and other community groups nationwide to receive a grant. Recipients were chosen by KAB based on a number of criteria including level of need, recycling experience and the ability of applicants to sustain their program in the future. In its seven years of operation, the Bin Grant program has placed more than 29,000 recycling bins in more than 500 communities in 48 states and the District of Columbia. A full list of the spring 2013 Bin Grant recipients and further information about the grant program is available at bingrant.org.

National Pollinator Week 2013

It seems more common than ever that we are hearing stories of how the honeybee populations, as well as other pollinators, are losing ground to many different diseases, habitat loss and pesticides. Keep America Beautiful , our affiliate network  and partners are working in several ways to help these affected populations through some of our programs (i.e. National Planting Day) and educational materials.

The predominant theory offered by the EPA and experts from the global scientific community is that the declining health of honeybees is related to interactions among multiple stressors, including scarce food sources, diseases, habitat loss and bee management practices, as well as pesticides. Relative to the potential role of pesticides in pollinator health declines, the science is still progressing as we become more educated about what changes, if any, may be operative. Visit epa.gov to read more about this and other important pollinator information.

In Cartersville, Ga., Adairsville High School (AHS) has built a five-acre outdoor classroom and works with a beekeeper who houses several hives in a fenced in area of the garden.  Multiple partners, including Keep Bartow Beautiful, are collaborating with AHS to ensure the success and sustainability of the area.  The classroom, which is located behind the local high school, was built by the environmental science, construction, and the special education classes for use by BartowCounty school students grades K-12.  It contains an outdoor amphitheater, both raised bed and field planting areas and solar panels. It also contains a wind turbine that powers a well for pumping water to the garden and plant areas, as well as for operation of a simulated gold-panning operation, nature trails and bird-feeding stations.

The bee hive is a recent addition, and education programs are being developed.  The future expansion of this project will establish a honeybee colony to provide models for studies of pollination, genetics, and entomology.  The designated wildflower and flower garden areas will serve as excellent places for the pollinators to inhabit.

As National Pollinator Week comes to a close, let us keep in mind that not just bees, but bats, birds and ants are also critical to the pollinator population. Remember to protect these vital insects and animals.

*Photo provided by Keep Bartow Beautiful.

Keep Terrebonne Beautiful, Houma, LA

The Keep Terrebonne Beautiful Lowe’s/KAB Community Improvement Grant project took place in April. Middle-school students, volunteers of all ages, and, of course, our local Lowe’s Heroes showed up to take part in this amazing wetland restoration project called Floating Islands Marsh Creation. BioHaven Mats made from 100% recycled plastic bottles with pre-cut holes were planted with 210 wetland plants each. The mats were then hauled by volunteers to the water, where they were then anchored to the bottom in about 18 inches of water along a degrading shoreline. The plant roots grow through the BioHaven mat in a short time and anchor to the water bottom, creating a new shoreline. As waves wash over the mats, sediment is captured between the mat and shoreline, thus filling in behind the mat also. The plants continue to multiply and grow beyond the mat filling in the voids. This is a proven method of shoreline restoration, and a project of which all partners are very proud: Lowe’s, Shell Oil, Louisiana Coastal Conservation Association, Terrebonne Parish Government, and local schools. Thanks so much to Lowe’s and Keep America Beautiful for believing in this fantastic project!

Keep Phoenix Beautiful Activates Public Art at PHX Renews

Volunteers endured the scorching 110 degree temperatures on June 8 to install a 1,280-foot public art mural at PHX Renews, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s vacant lot initiative located at Central Avenue and Indian School Road in Phoenix. Local artist Hugo Medina coordinated this giant public art mural in December 2012 when he had artists and the public come together to create this art. There were only two rules: it had to be positive and it had to be inspired by downtown Phoenix. The end result was 160 eight-by-four-foot panels that would become a gigantic 1,280-foot-long mural that flows continuously.

PHX Renews is the largest transformation of vacant land happening in the country and sits in the heart of Phoenix on the northeast corner of Indian School and Central, at the historic Steele Indian School Park. The initiative is a partnership between the City of Phoenix, KAB affiliate Keep Phoenix Beautiful, and Barron Collier Companies, owners of the property.

Want to get involved? Visit PHXRenews.org or call 602-262-4820.

Keep Arkansas Beautiful

Arkansas currently has three communities undergoing the process to become certified local affiliates of Keep America Beautiful, to join the organization’s expanding network of statewide and community-based affiliates. These cities are Bryant, El Dorado, and West Memphis.

“As part of the Keep America Beautiful network, these communities have pledged to act as a catalyst for positive community change, with the goal of improving the quality of life for every resident,” said Robert Phelps, director of Keep Arkansas Beautiful. “We welcome Keep Bryant Beautiful, Keep El Dorado Beautiful and Keep West Memphis Beautiful to our affiliate network, which is keeping both Arkansas and the U.S. clean and green, one community at a time.”