Hard Work Pays Off For Past Intern

By Helen Dauka

Keep Akron Beautiful would like to take another moment to congratulate 2015 intern, Nalee Vang, for receiving the Student of the Year Award for 2015! Nalee was recognized statewide for her achievements at The Keep Ohio Beautiful Awards Luncheon held on Friday, July 10, 2015, at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio. Nalee was unable to attend the Awards Luncheon, so KAB CEO, Jacqui Flaherty-Ricchuiti, and Communications & Volunteer Project Manager, Helen Dauka, met with Nalee at Alexander Park to present her award.

Jacqui, Helen & Nalee Vang

 

Nalee Vang volunteered 165 hours at KAB during her senior year at The University of Akron. Starting in January 2015, Nalee assisted with Clean Up Akron Month, the Adopt-A-Site Program, the Dreamscape Raffle, and helped to plan Keep Akron Beautiful’s first-everWaste In Placeseminar. She wrote press releases, helped with mailing campaigns, and attended community involvement fairs to represent the agency. She was immersed in all aspects of social media, helping to run the 2015 spring social media campaign which meant she was covering Keep Akron Beautiful’s busiest season on multiple platforms! In addition to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the Keep Akron Beautiful newsletter and blog, Nalee took on the responsibility of spearheading a new social media initiative. After Jacqui Flaherty-Ricchiuti, KAB CEO, returned from the Keep America Beautiful National Conference, it was Nalee who was able to take the social media ideas that other affiliates were already implementing, and turn them into a reality in Akron. Nalee also accompanied KAB Educational Specialist to her Arbor Day presentations, where the agency teaches fourth grade students about the importance of trees. Nalee herself participated in those same presentations 14 years ago as a fourth grade student at Glover CLC.  Nalee organized a group of more than 30 volunteers from HOOT, Hmong Ohio of Tomorrow, to participate in Clean up Akron Month.
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Group #9

 

Throughout her internship, Nalee truly encompassed the type of community member KAB values most: one with an understanding of her own environmental responsibility and a desire to make things better.

 

Nalee Vang #2

Nalee graduated in May 2015, and is currently employed at the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio as the Community Recruitment Executive. We wish her the best of luck! KAB appreciates all the time and efforts put forth in helping beautify Akron, and would like to congratulate Nalee once more on her achievement!

Three Reasons You Need An Office Plant

By Shelby Baker – Communications Intern

Having plants in and around your home is common, but have you ever thought about having plants in your office? Researchers have found that adding a plant to your office space can really make a change to many things, some of which you might not expect. Here are three reasons why you should really think about adding a plant to your office space.

 

Improve the Air Quality

Other than looking pretty, plants are used to improve air quality and even remove chemicals from the atmosphere. For those of us who work in offices without windows, this is really valuable. Over time the air in your office will become stale and hot. Rather than asking your boss to spend a lot of your hard-earned money on a ventilation system, place a plant at your desk. As a result of photosynthesis (done by the plant of course) your office will start to feel cooler and less dense. Not only does this help you breathe but it might make your office feel a little less like a box.

 

Reduce StressGrumpy Coworker

Dogs have been known to relieve stress from our lives. However, not many workplaces will allow you to bring your helpful companion to the office with you. As a substitute to this, bring in your plant. Recent studies have shown that being around plants can reduce stress levels and even improve optimism! This can come in handy for those who might have grumpy desk mates or colleagues. Bring a plant into your office space or give them out as gifts. This way your office air will be cleaner and you might get happier coworkers!

 

Enhance Productivity

We all have those moments where we’re stumped on a project or can’t think of the right words to use. To help with inspirational matter you could get a plant. Scientists have found that as a result of changes in attitudes and environments brought on by plants, overall productivity increases. So the next time you find that you’re worried about getting a project done by deadline, consider adding a plant to your work life. You never know. Your new plant might give you the inspiration that you need!

plants-in-officeInvest in office plants to help with creativity, stress, and overall air quality today! The results might surprise you and your coworkers!

Beautification Watch Begins: A Trip of Two Interns

By: Lauren Brady and Shelby Baker – KAB Communications Interns

From the Passenger Seat:
Riding Shotgun With Shelby Baker

On Wednesday, July 22, fellow Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) intern, Lauren Brady and I set out to cover our first Beautification Watch route. As we started driving down West Market towards Highland Square, I had no idea what to expect. After a couple of hours weaving in and out of side streets, Lauren reading the map while navigating the roads and I jotting down addresses while scanning houses, I can honestly say that I am impressed.

Most properties on the route were well maintained and beautiful. Just driving down the street you can really tell how much Akron locals and businesses take pride in their properties! We saw a few properties that really stood out from the others and some that were subtle but still lovely! As a result of the weather we also witnessed a number of gardeners putting more hard work into their lawns.  It’s always nice to see people working hard to keep their property and the community beautiful!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t give out an award to every property we saw. Many properties on our route were very close to being award worthy but missed some of the criteria. Remember that having numerous flowers or shrubs does not secure you a nomination! Lawns also need to be well maintained with no weeds and really stand out from other lawns on the street!

I know that I definitely had fun picking properties from the passenger seat! I really got to see more of Akron and even picked up some tips from good-looking properties. This volunteering opportunity inspired me to get outside and get to work! Or, at least write some of those inspirations down for when I actually have a lawn of my own someday! Thanks Akron and keep staying beautiful!

Interns, Shelby and Lauren, looked very excited to start their first Beautification Watch route

Interns, Shelby and Lauren, looked very excited to start their first Beautification Watch route

From Behind the Wheel:
Pedal to the Metal With Lauren Brady

Covering the Highland Square portion of the Beautification Watch route was a lot of fun and I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised by how many beautiful yards and businesses Shelby and I passed on our drive through Akron.

Trying to scope out houses that met all of the criteria was a little hard from behind the wheel, but luckily Shelby was able to write down all of the addresses I saw and check that they really did meet all of the qualifications. We put together a system to make the watch more successful, and hopefully more accurate, so we didn’t miss out on any houses that were qualified for the award. Shelby watched the houses on the right side of the road, while I tried to keep an eye on the left hand side without taking my eyes off of the road too much! I’d say we did pretty well at marking down all of the beautiful yards in the Highland Square area!

The majority of the drive was spent going between 15 and 20mph; fortunately, we were able to put signs in my car to let other drivers, and residents, know why we were slowly rolling down residential streets. So, thank you, to all of the drivers who may have been stuck behind us for being so patient!

Driving down the side streets in Akron really opened my eyes to how much pride residents take in the appearance of their homes. Like Shelby said, I too feel inspired by all the hard work that I saw and I’m even more excited to one day have a yard of my own to make as beautiful as all of the homes I saw on our Beautification Route!

Thank you for all of that hard work and helping keep our community beautiful!

Yards can still be nominated for The Beautification Watch Awards until Friday, July 31st!

BULBS 101: Planting and Planning

By: Shelby Baker – Communications Intern

With the newest Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) fundraiser, BULBSCAPE, coming up, you might be curious to know more about bulbs. Whether you are new to bulbs or a seasoned bulb gardener, here are some quick facts about bulbs and how to plant them!

Getting Started:

Once you have your bulbs picked out and a plot in your garden to plant them, you’re ready to begin. For those who are new to planting bulbs, the strange appearance of these future flowers may be a little off-putting. While preparing these slightly unattractive plants (because let’s face it, they look like garlic cloves you find in your mother’s kitchen) for planting, you might be a little skeptical that they will bloom into a gorgeous garden of flowers. Although they might look like something out of the kitchen like garlic cloves or onions, bulbs are still in fact plants. So try not to worry because these ugly ducklings will eventually bloom into attractive flowers including Tulips, Daffodils, Tiger Lilies and Hyacinths, but first they need some planning and proper planting!

Identifying Your Bulbs:

One quick fact about bulbs is that they spend the entirety of their lives underground storing water and nutrients they need to bloom later. Two true types of bulbs, turnicate and imbricate, are told apart by the coating that surrounds them. If the coating is flakey and paper-like then your bulb is a turnicate bulb. This paper-like substance helps to protect bulbs against elements that cause damage. The other type of bulb does not have any coating to protect it, which makes it an Imbricate bulb. So now that you are able to identify which bulb is which, you need to know how to plant them!

Turnicate Bulbs

Turnicate Bulbs

Imbricate Bulb

Imbricate Bulb

 

 

Turnicate bulbs (pictured left) have an onion or garlic like coating on the outside of their skin to protect them from drying out. Imbricate bulbs (pictured right) do not contain a protective coating over their skin.

 

 

 

Planting A Future Garden:

Planting bulbs might sound like an intimidating task, but with a little preparation your garden will look great when it’s blooming season. The first thing you need to know about planting your bulbs is, which end is up! The bottom of a bulb is usually flat-like with a few dry roots stretching out. This is the end that you want to face downward into the soil. The top of the bulb is usually pointed or rounded out from the base of the bulb. Since this is the end where flowers will stem, you want this part of the bulb pointed upwards. Some bulbs can be planted downwards as well, so make sure to refer to the instructions on the package to know for sure how you should be planting your bulbs.

BulbOnce you have established which way to plant your bulb you will then need to judge the depth of the hole to dig. The hole you will be placing the plant in should be roughly two times the size of the bulb itself. In other words, if your bulb is two inches long you will want to plant it as deep as four inches. It is recommended that your soil has a pH of six to seven for optimum bulb health. Also, although not necessary, you may add a layer of fertilizer underneath your bulb to help feed it more during dormancy as well. Just make sure you add a layer of dirt between the bulb and fertilizer.

Preparing For A Season Of Bulbs:

After understanding what type of bulb you have, figuring out how to plant it and measuring out your hole depth, you are finally ready to plant your bulbs! However, the key to having your bulbs bloom is to understand which seasonal bulb you have. If you have spring bulbs you will need to plant them in the fall. If you have fall bulbs then you can plant them in the spring for a beautiful garden during the summer and fall months. Bulbs are planted a season in advance to give their roots time to spread out and grow. By better understanding which seasonal bulb you have you can guarantee that your garden will look great by the following season. Just remember to hang on to your bulb packets, or create signs to place next to the flowers, while they are in dormancy. This will help you to prepare for the following seasons by showing you which flowers bloomed best and what flowers you planted where.The addition of any bulb will certainly add color and gorgeousness to your garden and home. For the best results make sure to pay attention to the packaging and directions!

Want to know more about bulbs? Make sure to check in on the KAB blog throughout the upcoming weeks. We will be sharing more on bulbs and lead up to the unveiling of KAB’s, Bulbscape!