Winter Events, Programs & Seminars – Oh My!

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern

Oh, winter! Although it seems as if temperatures are only continuing to drop and the snow may not be your best friend, our Dreamscape Vendor Partners have plenty of events in store for you! To fill your noggin up with more gardening knowledge and to help your imagination grow, here are some local winter programs, events & seminars you can attend!


Donzell’s Flower and Garden Center is hosting free garden seminars every Saturday in February 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 7, “Growing Orchids in Your Home” – Speaker: Dave Miller, President of the Greater Akron Orchid Society. Your gift orchid finally lost all its flowers. Your orchids from last year won’t bloom. The leaves keep falling off your orchid. What should you do? This seminar will answer these questions and more.

February 14, “Birds in Your Backyard” – Speaker: Joyce Pelz, Akron Audubon donzellsSociety. Joyce brings her audio & video presentation full of info on the birds we see in this area. You’ll hear bird calls & song and enjoy Joyce’s anecdotes.

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.

Graf Growers Garden Center located at 1015 White Pond Drive, 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

grafJanuary 31, Brightening up your Shade Garden Speaker: Pam Bennett, Horticulture Educator, OSU Extension and co-author of the newly released book Garden-Pedia. Living in the Greater Akron area, we are accustomed to having shade gardens full of hosta and ivy. It’s time to take back our gardens and reinvigorate them with shade loving plants that add unique interest.

February 7, Attracting Bees, Birds & Hummingbirds – Speaker: Laura Deeter, Professor at Ohio State University’s ATI Program. We’ve heard your requests for seminars on attracting bees, birds and hummingbirds to your garden and now we’re finally having one. Perennial expert Laura Deeter makes her return to Graf Growers and will teach us what perennials will bring all the bees and birds to the yard.

February 14, New and Underused PerennialsSpeaker: George Pealer, Owner of Millcreek Gardens in Ostrander, Ohio. Are you ready to add some excitement to your garden, but are tired of the same old perennials? Join George as he explores perennials that are often overlooked and underused in the garden. He’ll also cover using herbs in your garden beds as well as new perennials that will make their debut in 2015.

February 21, 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? Join horticulture expert Dr. Miller as he explores container gardening  by adding edibles to your traditional pots planted with ornamentals. We’ll also learn how to add tropical plants to container gar-dens that’ll add interest and beauty all summer long.

February 21, Add Excitement & Value to your Outdoor Living OasisSpeaker: Graf’s Landscape & Design Experts. Need to fresh 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 begin? Learn insider tips on gathering inspiration and getting started on your projects that will leave you excited about your home again.

Dayton Nurseries located at 3459 Cleveland-Massillon Road, 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

February 7,  A Common Bond: The Fascinating World of Insect & Plant Interactions – Speaker: Judy Semroc. This photographic presentation will focus upon the interesting and inventive methods by which insects and plants work together to make nectaring & pollination a reality. In addition, tips for enhancing these processes in your garden will be described and illustrated. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

February 14, A New Look To Old-Fashioned HydrangeasSpeaker: Tom Dayton. Today’s Hydrangeas are nothing like what your grandmother used to grow! From miniatures to re-bloomers, to those with amazingly large blooms, our very own Tom Dayton will discuss the Hydrangea family including topics such as pruning, feeding, and understanding soil amendments.

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.

We hope you are able to make it to some of these events! We know you’ll enjoy yourself as you get some inspiration for the upcoming spring time!

CSO Runoff Projects Win Prizes From Greenprint Akron at APS SMT Expo

By Cindy Pantea

Saturday, January 24, 2015, I had the pleasure of attending the 59th Annual Science, Math and Technology Expo (SMT Expo) at North High School. My job was as a volunteer sponsor judge tasked with picking winning projects that addressed Action Areas listed in Greenprint for Akron, a KAB facilitated program.

I worked with three outstanding individuals with different areas and levels of environmental expertise. These judges were:

  1. Carl Safreed, P.E., Air Pollution Control Division of the Canton City Health Department, who has also worked for the Environmental Protection Agency,
  2. Katie Dye of GOJO Industries, Inc., a company that was a Summit of Sustainability Awards winner in 2013 and known for their commitment to sustainability, Katie is also a KAB Board Member, and
  3. Kevin Lockett of Lockett Media, APS Substitute Teacher, KAB Board Member and Member of Summit of Sustainability Awards Committee

The judges were completely impressed with all the well-spoken, knowledgeable students at the SMT Expo, some of whom would get us sidetracked from time-to-time with their interesting projects that were out of our particular criteria, like “The Antibacterial Effect of Green Coconut Water,” a project by a student with the last name of Tankersley, from STEM, under the direction of Coach Hanna.

Choosing the Akron Greenprint Sponsor Winners

cso runoff project winners greenprint akron

We were able to return to the task at hand and chose three Greenprint Akron projects winners. As it so happened, the winning projects all dealt with the combined sewer overflow issue that our Akron community has been facing.

solutions for neighborhood cso runoff science project winner akronThe first place Greenprint for Akron $250 award went to Abby Strobel, 7th grade, National Inventors Hall of Fame (S.T.E.M. Learning). She developed her winning project under the supervision of Coach Justiss.

csi elimination stepsIn her project, Rain, Rain, Go Away; Neighborhood Solutions for CSO Runoff, Abby designed a permeable concrete drain and gave solutions for eliminating overflow in her neighborhood. She also left a good impression on judges as she answered questions about the waterways research conducted in the city of Philadelphia and noted the fact that Toronto Canada is at least one area of the world that is way ahead in rectifying runoff issues, as they have removed downspouting and incorporated changes for effective runoff. She also was able to recognize words such as bioswales and rain gardens – words that she came across in her research.

The second place $100 Greenprint award went to Deanna Green, a Buchtel High School CLC 10th grader in Coach Grindall’s class.  SMT Deanna She won with a project entitled, Rerouting Water: A CSO Dilemma. The judges were impressed with Deanna’s pictures, which showed actual runoff, as well as her scientific experimentation and acquired knowledge. She has been interested in the CSO issue ever since meeting and learning about the dilemma from City of Akron Deputy Service Director, Phil Montgomery.

The third place $50 Akron Greenprint award went to Cyanne Dabney, also a Buchtel High School CLC 10th grader in Coach Grindall’s class. Working also in the CSO dilemma topic area, Dabney used the runoff soil to start radish seeds in her project grow seed in cso runoff soil akron science greenprintentitled: How Fast Can a Radish Seed Grow in Polluted Soil: A CSO Dilemma. Dabney explained to judges that she would like to take the project a step further to see the radishes grow to harvest and document growth pattern.

On a side note, I had the pleasure of speaking with Coach Grindall’s assistant coach and mother, who is also a retired school teacher. She was so excited for Deanna and Cyanne and mentioned that they knew absolutely nothing about CSO runoff when they started their projects and ended up turning into CSO runoff experts.They were impressively well-versed on the subject.

Greenprint Sponsor Judges Notation

Speaking of impressive, the judges wanted to note that it wasn’t an easy decision at all to pick three winners at the SMT Expo. In fact, there were other favorites that had to do with Greenprint Action Areas in the running, and we thought you should know. These included:

  • Tabitha Anderson, Firestone HS, Coach Spak, “Microbially Influenced Corrosion” – a positive, bubbly student who worked with University of Akron professors on her project, appreciating every minute of this higher learning, and looking forward to majoring in microbiology at college.
  • Gabe DiFiore, National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM – MS, Coach Crews, “Water Absorption in Plants,” who put together a very impressive project that caught attention of judges.
  • Jeremiah Green Lewis, Litchfield MS, Coach Greene, “Filtration Frustration,” a thoughtful, smart young man who, in his project, contaminated distilled water and then used ionization and chlorination techniques to filter the contamination and compared this with untreated distilled water. Jeremiah is interested in environmental science as well as concerned about water quality.
  • Mica Heffner, Litchfield MS, Coach Greene, “Microbial Levels: Ponds vs Lakes,” who was excited to share her project, also mentioning that she learned time-management skills while doing the project, and was surprised to learn just how dirty lakes actually are.
  • Grace Julien, National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM – MS, Coach Kaffen, “The Effect of Green Roofs on Interior Temperature,” another positive student who enjoyed making her green roofs and comparing them for her project.
  • Maria McNutt, Litchfield MS, Coach Greene, “Litter Getter,” a bright student who knew her litter information gained by researching online and actually getting out there to compare litter in different parks around town. She definitely did a project that is close to our hearts here at KAB!
  • Nathaniel Slosson, Buchtel CLC – MS, Coach Starvaggi, “Solar Panels,” who spent time researching and gaining knowledge to share with judges about solar energy.
  • Selena Turner, National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM – HS, Coach Hanna, “Which type of roofing material is the most energy efficient,” who built bird houses, each one containing a different roofing material, and compared their heat and cool down times.
  • Audry Wytczyoczowski and Madison Wallace, Hyre CLC, Coach Hardwick, “How does different kinds of cigarette smoke affect bean plant growth?” Both students were interested in taking this project further and seemed to really enjoy their learning process on the subject matter. They are completely against smoking as it adds negatively to air pollution.

These are still just a fraction of the well-thought-out projects from our outstanding Akron students, coached by our superior teachers and all coming together through the dedication of Dr. Katrina Halasa and an army of helpers. We invite you to check out more pictures in our album on Facebook.

5th Annual Mixed Paper Drive in Akron Public/Private Schools Was A Huge Success!

By Jacqui Ricchiuti, Program Manager

 During the 5th annual mixed paper drive competition, Akron Public Schools (APS) and selected private schools in the Akron area proved that recycling does pay off!  St. Vincent Elementary, St. Mary School and Our Lady of the Elms were declared the winners of the month-long competition by recycling the most paper per pound, per student. St. Vincent Elementary recycled 21.34 pounds per student or 2.45 tons total of paper to win a school-wide pizza party and $250 cash prize courtesy of the River Valley Paper Company. St. Mary School came out strong, in the middle school division, and recycled 20.29 pounds per student which is equal to 2.09 tons total. Our Lady of the Elms recycled 16.38 pounds per student or 1.27 tons total to each win a $500 cash prize courtesy of the River Valley Paper Company and a field trip tour of the River Valley Paper Company plant for 50 students and faculty. For the second year since the birth of the paper drive, two new categories were added. With the most pounds of paper recycled overall, Kenmore High School was our Overall winner, with 2.57 tons of paper. Leggett Elementary School was the winner in our Most Improved Category, recycling 790 pounds more in 2014 than in 2013! Overall, we are proud to announce that 27.405 tons or 54,810 pounds of paper was recycled citywide, 1.785 tons more than in 2013!

To help celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15, 2014, Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) in conjunction with the River Valley Paper Company hosted the 5th annual mixed paper drive competition in 22 Akron public schools and 11 private schools in the Akron area. From October 20 to November 17, community residents and local businesses helped participating Akron schools attempt to win this competition by taking their magazines, phone books, paperboard, catalogs, junk mail, office paper, newspaper and cardboard to a school parking lot bin. Currently, bins are located at the following Akron Public School Locations: Betty Jane CLC, Buchtel High School, Case Elementary School, Crouse CLC, David Hill CLC, East CLC 7-8, East High School, Ellet High School, Findley CLC, Firestone Park Elementary School, Forest Hill CLC, Glover CLC, Hatton Elementary School, Helen Arnold CLC, Innes CLC, Jennings CLC, Judith A. Resnik CLC, Kenmore High School, Leggett CLC, Litchfield Middle School, McEbright CLC, Miller South Elementary School, North High School, Pfeiffer Elementary School, Sam-Salem CLC, Seiberling Elementary School, and Voris CLC.   The following private school locations are also included in our competition: Chapel Hill Christian School, Discovery Montessori School, Hoban High School, Imagine School, Middlebury Academy, Old Trail School, Our Lady of the Elms, Saint Mary School, St. Vincent Elementary School, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and The Next Frontier Academy.

For the third year, Keep Akron Beautiful and River Valley Paper Company sponsored a poster contest. Over 70 students submitted art for the poster contest. The winner was Shayla Elzholz, a student from Ms. Lisa Heinl’s class at Hyre CLC. Shayla received an American Express gift card, and Ms. Heinl received an American Express gift card as well. Shayla will be the featured artist for our 2015 America Recycles Day campaign.

Shayla Elzholz’s winning artwork.

This paper drive was designed to prove that Akron’s school staff and students, parents, community members and local businesses can help save trees, which purge the atmosphere of greenhouse gases just by giving our trash a second life. The receptacles are still in place and are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Filling up the collection bins helps the schools raise money for clubs, their recycling efforts or team uniforms. For more information on the competition or on paper recycling at the Akron school locations, contact Jacqui Ricchiuti at Keep Akron Beautiful, (330) 375-2116.

Successful Recycling Day at the 2014 Akron Marathon

By Jacqui Ricchiuti, Program Manager

On Saturday September 27, as 15,000 runners were running through the streets of Akron- and even more spectators were lining the streets watching, Keep Akron Beautiful was assisting the Akron Marathon with their recycling efforts! Early in the morning, a crew of 15 made sure that the trash cans only had trash in them, and that the recycling bins were highly utilized. This group was sorting everything that people were throwing in the trash, pulling out water bottles, cans, and making sure the clothing was donated, not thrown away! Only ten bags of trash were collected at the start line, and 2 large blue recycling toters were FULL of recyclables.

On the concourse and at the finish line of the race, our Green Team was collecting heat sheets and grocery bags, chip bags to be recycled, powerbar wrappers to be recycled, bottles and cans and banana peels to be composted.

The Akron Marathon, Keep Akron Beautiful and ReWorks rallied together to make recycling and composting a breeze for all runners involved in the festivities.

Thanks to a grant from Keep America Beautiful and The Coca-Cola Foundation, this is the second year we were able to utilize the 25 recycling bins designed specifically for placement at the race. These bins were placed on the concourse of Canal Park on Saturday, September 27.

A special thanks goes out to the “Green Team,” who worked together to make sure the recyclables and trash were in their proper places. From the start line to the finish line and everywhere in between, the volunteers did an amazing job! Congratulations Akron (AND ALL RUNNERS!) on another successful Akron Marathon!