The Keep Akron Beautiful Adopt-A-Site Program

Leah Heiser, Flowerscape Director

The Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) Flowerscape program, in 2018, consists of 33 agency maintained beds that are found throughout the City of Akron. Our Adopt-A-Site (AAS) program is a separate part of Flowerscape and allows neighborhood volunteers to plant and maintain beautification sites on public land, like devil strips and parks.

dusty millers

Karona Park Adopt-A-Site 2015 maintained by Parkway Estates

While many question the ability to put AASs on vacant lots, these areas are not considered public spaces due to ownership rights.

To become an KAB AAS, certain criteria must be met, but basically volunteer groups are able to choose their own public space location that is near a fire hydrant. The location needs to be determined by the volunteer group in the fall, rather than during the spring/summer, as KAB’s Flowerscape crew needs to ensure the topography is good for planting and also will help with the first year bed prep. The crew is unable to do this during their busy planting and growing season.

When it has been decided in the fall that an area is going to become a KAB volunteer-maintained AAS the following year, volunteer representatives (ideally the entire group) must attend the annual AAS Clinic in April of the following year to receive proper planting and maintenance techniques.

When the season begins, the KAB Flowerscape crew, as mentioned earlier, will assist the group in landscape planning and first-year site preparation. Subsequently, AAS signage will be ordered for the location. Each season, as an AAS, the group can purchase wholesale plant materials and have free hydrant connections for watering the site.

In addition, KAB provides bags for end-of-season bed cleanup as well as trash bag removal.

The AAS program currently has 64 sites throughout the City of Akron neighborhoods. If you are considering on becoming an Adopt-A-Site through Keep Akron Beautiful, it is recommended that you start getting your group of interested volunteers together now and choose your site. Then you will be ready to contact Leah Heiser with your site location and group by the fall.

 

Dreamscape Raffle 2017 Tickets On Sale Now

by Morgan Looney, Communications Intern

2016 Dreamscape Winner

Tickets for our 14th annual Dreamscape Raffle are now on sale! Tickets are $25 each of five for $100 and can be purchased online, at the KAB office in Akron, or at the following locations: Dayton Nurseries, Inc., Donzell’s Flower & Garden Center, Inc., Graf Growers Garden Center, and Suncrest Gardens.

All ticket sale proceeds will be used to fund Keep Akron Beautiful’s Flowerscape Program. The program has 34 Flowerscape sites that are planted and maintained yearly using more than 35,000 flowers at different public property sites around the City of Akron. The Flowerscape Program promotes civic pride and landscape beauty while helping to improve the quality of life for everyone in our community!

One of our beautiful Flowerscapes

The hard work and talent that goes into the beautification of our Flowerscape sites will be used in this year’s makeover as KAB Flowerscape Director Leah Heiser is the lead landscape designer for the 2017 Dreamscape Raffle. This marks the first time a Flowerscape director has taken on the role! Leah’s background, expertise, and eye for beautification will be a tremendous asset to the makeover team and we can’t wait to see what they come up with!

The winning ticket will be drawn on Thursday June 8, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at Alexander Park on West Market Street. In addition to the grand prize ticket, there will be three runner-up prizes which include 4 yards of mulch or compost blown into landscaped beds by TerraScape, LTD and a basket of gardening supplies courtesy of Graf Growers Garden Center.

Other sponsors and vendor partners for the Dreamscape Raffle are: Advanced Arboriculture, Cascade Lighting, Circle K, Graf’s Landscape & Design, Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, Inc., Main Street Gourmet, Naragon Irrigation, Nick’s Landscaping of Ohio, LLC, Pam’s Perennial Plant Farm, KB Bio Energy, Inc., R.G. Thomas Landscape and Design, Inc., Star Printing Co. Inc., Tim’s Custom Electric, Wilson Plumbing & Heating, Inc., W.L. Tucker Supply, YES Press Printing Co., Blooming Designs, and Lewis Landscaping.

Thank you to all of those who help make the Dreamscape Raffle a success. We cannot wait to see the transformation of the winner’s yard!

Keep Akron Beautiful Says: Please Try to Put Us Out of Work!

by Cindy Pantea

keep america beautiful logoJanuary 23-26, 2017, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Keep America Beautiful conference along with CEO, Jacqui Ricchiuti, and Helen Dauka of the Keep Akron Beautiful staff.

I was prepared for taking away ideas on how to engage more people to take responsibility for the community in which they live, work or visit. Keep America Beautiful did just that, so I want to share the main idea with you:

We want you to put us out of work!

Here’s what we mean:

People Litter with Intent

Part of day two of our conference involved listening to a panel discussion with social/behavioral psychologists who performed the nation’s largest study on littering behavior in 2009 and who are currently updating their findings. They have determined that most people who litter do so with intent. As such, it was clear to me that the responsibility of our agency remains important in reducing garbage in our public spaces.

Litter Pickup/Beautification Important

Why? Because even though individuals choose to litter, they are still more likely to trash an already littered environment, but by removing it promptly, it can help limit the littering and keep trash buildup from spinning out of control. In addition, beautification plays an important role in helping to control litter. Plus, constant reminders of what is expected of individuals, either by education, enforceable laws or public signage, has an effect on how much litter shows up in our public spaces…and it’s what we do.

Litter Requires a Behavioral Change

Unfortunately, the fact remains that the majority of litter is purposeful and reasons for littering can range anywhere from:

  • How you’re feeling that day to
  • Temperature or time of day to
  • Not knowing what to do with the item in hand to
  • Expecting that someone else will handle to
  • Pure laziness with regards to receptacle convenience to
  • No consequences for the crime

…and more!

Not Surprising/Surprising

cigarette butt litterNot surprising of the professionals’ findings is that cigarette butts remains the most littered item (seemingly due to the lack of available cigarette butt receptacles). This was followed by food wrappers or remnants and paper. What may be surprising is that public trash cans do not keep an area completely litter free. Take, for example, those who shoot, miss and leave their trash next to a receptacle. Yet, the placement of cans fewer than 10 feet from an individual did play a significant role in the amount of litter in the public space. This may be important for your next event litter and recycling needs, and we have the loan-a-receptacle program to help. Side note: I recently took a beach vacation where cigarette butt recycling and no cigarette litter signs were prominent and trash/recycling was less than. Result: No cigarette butts, but instead, a whole lot of empty water bottles at the sand volleyball courts!

Bad News/Good News

Bad news is that while you would think our youth are more environmentally conscious, those 30 and younger tend to litter more often. Also, people who believe that litterbugs should be held legally responsible for their actions actually have admitted that they themselves are guilty of littering! Good news is that there has been a reduction in overall litter over a 40-year span.

Your KAB

Keep Akron Beautiful helps to provide public litter control year round. In the winter months, the crews are out removing debris from highways, parks, and roadways. If there is heavy snow on the ground causing litter to become invisible, the crews are still busy helping the city to shovel sidewalks.

Knowing how littered the streets could be is why there are many folks who say to us frequently, “What would happen if you didn’t exist?!” Yet, we urge you to try to put us out of work by putting litter in its place and encouraging your friends, kids and neighbors to do the same.

Thank you for doing your part to end littering and to keep Akron beautiful. It’s up to all of us.

See key findings of 2009 litter study: https://www.kab.org/sites/default/files/News%26Info_Research_LitterinAmerica_FactSheet_LitteringBehavior.pdf

Read the 2009 litter study: https://www.kab.org/sites/default/files/News%26Info_Research_LitteringBehaviorinAmerica_2009Report_Final.pdf

 

Welcoming Spring 2017 KAB Intern

by Morgan Looney, Communications Intern

My name is Morgan and I’m currently a senior at The University of Akron studying Business and Organizational Communication. I grew up in a small town in Southwest Oklahoma, but I moved to Ohio three and a half years ago and have truly felt a sense of home since the moment I got here. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family and traveling whenever I can. I’ve been to a few different countries in the past few years, but my favorite is Ireland. My dad is originally from Ireland and his family still lives there, so I enjoy being able to go over to Ireland and see my aunts, uncles, and cousins, while also exploring a new part of the country each time I go.

I’m very excited to start my internship with Keep Akron Beautiful! I’m not entirely sure what I would like to do once I graduate in May, so the opportunity to work with a nonprofit organization is amazing. I can’t wait to see what I learn and see how I can contribute to the amazing work they do. I’m looking forward to learning more about the things KAB does in the community and having a hand in keeping Akron beautiful!

Morgan Looney Communications Intern