By Helen Dauka
On Friday, July 10th the office staff from Keep Akron Beautiful travelled to Franklin Park Conservancy and Botanical Gardens in Columbus Ohio for the 2015 Annual Keep Ohio Beautiful meeting & Awards Program! One of the best parts of the day was how much information was shared from a national, state, affiliate and sponsor level. The variety of programs given from the speakers was as diverse as their backgrounds!
Bill Dawson from the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens shared his thoughts on Partners & Projects. He encouraged the crowd to, “think outside of the flowerbox” when it comes to planning events. Successful collaborations bring opportunities for shared resources.
Jennifer Jones of Green Youngstown spoke to fighting blight and crime. Green Youngstown is currently concentrating their efforts on one street, South Avenue. While only one street, South Avenue makes a large contribution to the crime rate in Youngstown. Fortunately, Jones along with the City of Youngstown are working to engage the South Avenue residents and business owners to take advantage of a variety of services that can help turn the area around.
One of the ways Green Youngstown has been able to accomplish their goals on South Avenue is thanks to RUBY (Revitalization and Urban Beautification of Youngstown). Jennifer obtained funding for RUBY after hearing about KAB’s Community Pride Trailer during a Keep Ohio Beautiful meeting two years ago!
John Woodman, Community Program Specialist II of Montgomery County Environmental Services spoke on their County Tire Buyback Program. Patty Fowler of Keep Wickliffe Beautiful shared about their Annual Clothes collection & Distribution. Linda Holterhoff of Keep Cincinnati Beautiful spoke on partnering with your local government.
Jeff Griffiths spoke on utilizing volunteers as leaders to manage projects. Griffiths who is now heading Keep Cleveland Beautiful brought his expertise from his work with HandsOn Northeast Ohio. Keep Akron Beautiful’s own Jacqui Flaherty-Ricchiuti presented on how to expand the RecycleBowl through your local school district. Jennifer Jehn, President & CEO of Keep America Beautiful spoke to all in attendance of the outlook for the affiliates from the national level.
Finally, former intern, Nalee Vang received the Keep Ohio Beautiful Student of the Year award, presented by Jehn. Nalee was unable to accept her award, however it was clear she was deserving of the award not only because of her professional development but for her development as an environmental steward in the community. After a day-long share-a-thon, Keep Akron Beautiful is bringing back lots of information and fresh ideas!
According to the Keep Ohio Beautiful 2014 Annual Report:
KOB & its affiliates removed 4,420,421 pounds of litter and debris saving the state approximately $400,000 annually on highway cleanups. Ohio affiliates saved 561,000 gallons of gasoline by recycling 374 tons of plastics and kept 10,844,222 pounds of solid waste out of landfills. Our state recycled enough paper to save 9,435 trees, 210,900 gallons of oil, 1,665 cubic yards of landfill space, 2,220,000 kilowatts of energy and 3,885,000 gallons of water. If you volunteered with Keep Akron Beautiful, you contributed to the 184,258 Ohio residents that participated in community beautification programs. KOB volunteers return $24 in measurable benefits!
Keep Akron Beautiful would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to all of our volunteers and community members who helped make 2014 such a successful year for Ohio!