Pam Ray, Education Specialist at KAB, Talks Arbor Day

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern

“Arbor Day is just a reminder for them to plant a tree, to help the environment”

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance day that encourages tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, it is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April. Here at Keep Akron Beautiful, we have been celebrating Arbor Day for over 20 years.

Pam Ray, the woman behind it all, is our Education Specialist at KAB. Known as “The Tree Lady” by students, Pam has given seedlings to every public, charter and private school fourth grader in the City of Akron for 26 years. Students not only receive complimentary seed packets but also pencils made from denim and recycled currency for answering questions in a format Jeopardy game. “The most important thing about Arbor Day that we, at KAB, would like for students to know is that trees are very important to their lives,” Pam said. “Without them, they would not be able to live and breathe, and Arbor Day is just a reminder for them to plant a tree, to help the environment.” Year after year, fourth graders have proven that they are not too young to learn about this very important day. “We chose fourth graders because we felt they are mature enough to fully understand the importance of trees and their duties; they reduce air pollution, conserve energy and also add beauty and color to the world,” Pam said.

Although an event as big as this one can be exciting and fun, it is also a detailed process that requires hard work and a lot of organization in order for it to occur. First, all schools, administrators, principals and teachers must be contacted via email, letters and phone calls. Next, we have to go over all details about our program and schedule presentations to go into the schools. Then, we must order the trees (seedlings) and contact seniors and volunteers to help pack and deliver them to the schools.

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Harris Elementary, 2014’s Arbor Day Slogan Contest Winner

 

Now, that’s a lot of work, but it doesn’t stop there! We also have an Arbor Day Slogan Contest, in which we choose a statement about trees, and have students write a slogan in 10 words or less. Then, five judges will choose the three best slogans to win a tree donated by local landscapers. We help plant the trees on Arbor Day and the Mayor is always present to help the first place winner. “The success of the program is organization and caring people who not only love Akron, but also love the people of Akron, especially our youth,” Pam said.

Since we have been celebrating Arbor Day for such a long time, there have been quite a few changes to the program. “We have come a long way since 1989 when I first started,” Pam said. From PowerPoint presentations to viewing slides from a Smart Board digital screen, technology has also played a huge part in the success of it all. Teachers are given an evaluation after each presentation which allows them to give us feedback, suggestions and any new ideas they may have. At the end of each season, an overview is done to correct any mistakes and review, or add ideas that may work for the program in the future.

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Hope Academy University

 

“I love students; they know if you’re a real believer of what you’re speaking about” Pam said. “I love their reaction to slides they viewed and places they have visited.” Arbor Day gives students a chance to learn all about trees so that the next time they see that tree, they can remember and know what they learned with “The Tree Lady”.

How about you? Do you remember Pam’s presentation about Arbor Day when you were a fourth grader? Share your story with us!

Apartment Recycling Made Easy

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern

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Living in an apartment can be both beneficial and challenging all together. A smaller space means less energy usage, like gas and electricity, which is great for the environment.  However, having your own space or just enough space for yourself could also prove to be a bit of a hassle once it comes to recycling. Curbside recycling has become the norm, but there are still some apartment complexes that don’t offer recycling pick up at all. It is often up to the landlord to make the decision for your rental.

If you live in one of these apartment complexes, you might understand the struggle.  Not only do you have to find space for your recyclables in your apartment, you also have to figure out how and where to get them recycled. A friend of mine collected tons of things to recycle, but never got to dropping them off and ended up just throwing all of it away. What a waste, literally.

Don’t end up this way! Apartment recycling is possible and can be made easy by utilizing some of these helpful tips on organization and finding recycling centers near you.

  1. Because space is so limited in an apartment, using stackable bins to separate
    Courtesy of Buzzfeed.com

    Courtesy of Buzzfeed.com

    your recyclables will take up less space than putting them side-by-side. You can label each bin to its appropriate material and fill them up until recycling day.

  2. Do you have friends or family members with curbside recycling? Ask them if they’ll allow you to add your items to their bins. It’s important to be courteous and respectful with your recyclables if they will allow you to do so. Make sure to rinse out all recyclables and keep your items as neat as possible, so it’ll be less work for them.
  3. Do some research and find a recycling center in your area. If you cannot find one that is near you, try looking for centers that are closer to places you commute to often i.e. work, school, friends & family’s homes, your favorite store. If you’re not sure how to get started, Earth 911 is a great place to start!
    • Here are some places in the Akron area that can help you out with your recyclables:
      • Neoshred – Paper recycling
      • Pinnacle Recycling – Paper & plastic recycling
      • Victim Assistance Program – Used cell phone (in any condition) recycling. This program accepts used cell phones & smart phones as part of their individual safety plans, as phones without an active service provider can still be used to dial 911. Damaged phones or phones that no longer work will still be accepted and are shipped to a recycling company, in which the company will send a check to support the program.
      • Waste Management Recycling Drop-Off Site – For Akron residents only. Accepts most recyclables.
      • City of Cuyahoga Falls Recycling Drop-Off – For Cuyahoga Falls residents only. Accepts most recyclables.
  4. Start a recycling drop-off rotation with your neighbors. It could become a bit of a hassle having to go to the center multiple times. Even if going door-to-door to ask for participants isn’t your thing, you could always leave a note in a place where all residents can see, like the mailboxes. Leave any contact information that you are comfortable sharing with details about starting a recycling drop-off rotation and wait for replies. From there, you can come up with a schedule that best suits everyone involved.

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Even though it may be obvious to research nearby recycling centers, you never know if your neighbors are thinking the same thing. So, why not work together and make recycling easier for everyone?

Are you currently living in an apartment complex that doesn’t offer recycling? Have some more tips to add to these? Let us know! We’d love to hear more!

More Winter Gardening Seminars Coming Your Way

By: Nalee Vang,  Communications Intern

Our wonderful Dreamscape Vendor Partners are still at it with their winter gardening seminars. If the winter’s got you down, they can lift you right up with gardening tips to get you ready for spring! Who wouldn’t want to think spring?! Check out the list of upcoming seminars below!

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Located at 1015 White Pond Drive, Graf Grower’s will present a series of winter gardening seminars on Saturday mornings beginning at 9:30 a.m. until approx. 11:30 a.m. Seminar costs are $12/person. Enrollment is limited & registration is preferred, walk-ins are welcome. To register, call 330.836.2727 or go online at www.grafgrowers.com. Upcoming seminars include:

February 21st, Container Beauty: Peppers and Palms Among the Petunias
Speaker: Dr. Mark Miller, Education Manager at Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens In Columbus, Ohio
Ready to spice your container gardens with a plant other than geraniums?! Craving a look that is different and will WOW everyone that stops or drives by? We’ll learn how to add tropical plants to container gardens that’ll add interest and beauty all summer long.

February 28th, Add Excitement & Value to your Outdoor Living Oasis
Speaker: Graf’s Landscape & Design Experts
Need to freshen up your patio or front porch, but are having reservations about the investment? Craving new ideas to revamp your current outdoor space, but aren’t sure where to being? Join our Landscape & Design experts as they give you new ideas and techniques that will add both beauty and value to your outdoor living areas.


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FREE garden seminars are held every Saturday this month at 11 AM. All of the seminars are located at their Garden Center (937 E. Waterloo Road in Akron). You must register for the seminars by calling 330.724.0550, ext. 110. The following presentations are planned:

February 21,“Seed Starting Basics” – Speaker: Lee Paulson, Master Gardener. Whether you start out with a few seeds or go big with dozens of trays, Lee has some great tips and techniques from his many years of experience. Stating plants from seed is economical, fun for the family, and a great way to get a jump on the season.

February 28, “Beekeeping in an Urban Environment” Speaker: Geoff Westerfield, Summit County Beekeepers Association. Many people don’t realize they have beekeepers close by, even in the city. Geoff covers beekeeping facts, shows some of the equipment, and discusses some of the challenges of urban beekeeping. You’ll be able to try some local urban honey, too.


 

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Located at 3459 Cleveland-Massillon Road, Dayton Nurseries will present the following seminars which will begin at 11 a.m. and usually last about two hours. The cost is $10, or $6 for garden club members. Dayton will provide coffee, tea and a light lunch at no additional cost. Seating is limited to 70. To signup, call 330.825.3320 or email info@daytonnursery.com.

February 21, 52 Weeks of Bloom and Color – It Can Be Done!Speaker: Michelle Riley, All About You Landscape Design. Did you know there is something blooming with interest each week of the year?  Even in the winter? Join us for 52 weeks of bloom and interest and discover new ideas to enhance your landscape gardens appeal!  Colorful power point presentation included.

February 28, Mums The Word Speaker: Bill Aulenbach. Barberton’s annual Mum Fest is a wonder to the eye! Secrets about Barberton’s Mum Fest and tips on how to grow and over-winter better garden mums will be discussed by Bill Aulenbach, a member of Barberton Beautification who has worked with chrysanthemums for Yoder Brothers (now Aris Horticulture) for 58 years.

Thank you to our friends at Graf’s, Donzell’s and Dayton Nurseries for being a part of our Dreamscape team! We hope you can make it out to these seminars and get excited for spring. Check back for more updates on March seminars!

Keep America Beautiful Conference Wrap-Up

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern

Keep America Beautiful 2015 Annual Conference

In January, Keep Akron Beautiful’s (KAB) CEO, Jacqui Flaherty-Ricchiuti, attended the Keep America Beautiful National Conference in Washington, DC. There was so much to do, see and learn. Coming back from the conference, Jacqui shared lots of new ideas and information that she obtained from the training forums with affiliates from all over the country!

Keep America Beautiful 2015 Annual Conference

Keynote speaker, Peter Kageyama, originally from Akron, Ohio.

The Keynote Speaker at the conference was Peter Kageyama, whom we are proud to say is originally from Akron, Ohio. Author of the book “For the Love of Cities: The love affair between people and their places.”, Peter spoke about the relationship between a person and their city. Our city is one of the most powerful influences for us but often times, we don’t think about it in terms of a relationship.

“If cities begin thinking of themselves as engaged in a relationship with their citizens, and if we as citizens begin to consider our emotional connections with our places, we open up new possibilities in community, social and economic development by including the most powerful of motivators-the human heart-in our toolkit of city-making.”, he said. In “For the Love of Cities”, Peter features many cities and showcases some examples of their efforts. He also talks about unofficial “co-creators” that may be the key to community development in the future and discuss how they can be identified, recruited and engaged by these cities. KAB is so proud to have also been a part of Peter’s presentation, in which he showed photos of Akron and KAB and thanked us for what we do every day. Right back at ‘cha, Peter!

 

Some more exciting news comes from the fact that KAB was recognized with two awards at the Awards Dinner: 2nd Place Affiliate Award and the Storytelling Award. We are thrilled to have received these awards and to be recognized among the 600+ affiliates of Keep America Beautiful, nationwide.

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The two awards that Keep Akron Beautiful won at the Keep America Beautiful National Conference.

Keep America Beautiful 2015 Annual Conference

 

Lowe’s, a national sponsor of Keep America Beautiful and who has also sponsored Keep Akron Beautiful, also had a “Build And Grow” event at the conference. During this event, Jacqui was able to work alongside other affiliate leaders to build picnic tables for children in an after-school program in Prince George’s County, VA.

Keep America Beautiful 2015 Annual Conference

 

To sum it up, Jacqui said, “Keep Akron Beautiful is so proud to be a part of a national organization that has been building and sustaining vibrant communities for over 60 years and we look forward to working hard for the next year on many goals and initiatives we learned at the National Conference.”