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!

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!

 

 

Recycling: When In Doubt Throw It Out

by Cindy Pantea

Our friends at ReWorks have updated us on the preferred methods in curbside recycling:

Milk, juice, broth, soup and other food and beverage cartons like those shown below are recyclable, but not their screwtop lids. The small lids from these containers cause problems for the recycling companies.

recyclable cartons

This is a sample of all the types of cartons which are recyclable. Throw away the lids in the trash.

Rigid plastics, such as detergent bottles, food containers (like those that contained whipped cream or sour cream) are recyclable after a quick rinse, but not the lids. Again, the lids, either due to size or material consistency can cause problems for the recycling companies.

plastics recycle

This is a sample of the types of plastic bottles that are recyclable. Plastic food containers are recyclable too, just remember to rinse. Throw away the lids before recycling.

Glass bottles and jars are recyclable after a quick rinse, and it is not necessary to remove labels. The lids, however, are not recyclable due to size or material consistency.

glass bottles and jars are recyclable

Here is a picture of glass jars and bottles ready for recycling. Notice there are no lids. (Labels left on bottles are okay.)

Aluminum and other metal cans are, of course, recyclable after a quick rinse, but if you remove the lids or pull tabs completely from the cans, it is best to throw them away. The lids can be too small or can be made of materials that are not attracted by the magnet that the recycling company uses to gather them for the recycling process. It is not necessary to remove labels. Take special care to avoid exposing sharp edges so that you as well as the recycler do not become injured.

metal cans are recyclable

Note: Aerosol cans and, as of December 2013, aluminum foil are not good for recycling due to possible food residue.

break down cardboard for recyclingPaper and cardboard are recyclable. This means includes envelopes and phone books. The only thing that is asked is that the cardboard be broken down flat (as shown in the picture to the left). Do not tie or bundle paper and cardboard.

recycle paper and cardboard

While everything pictured above is recylable, the following list tells us what is not recyclable:

NO used oil or oil containers. This means pizza boxes, too. Food contamination is one of the big problems for recycling companies.

NO egg cartons of any type because they contain styrofoam. Unless you purchase eggs in a plastic container, do not put in the recycling bin

NO electronics (including cell phones and appliances)

NO batteries or light bulbs (of any type).

NO hazardous wastes (paint pesticides or cleaners).

NO widow panes, mirrors or ceramics.

NO medical waste. Use the D.U.M.P. program.

NO auto parts, hardware tools or garden hoses.

NO hangers.

NO metal items, railroad ties/spikes, or chains

NO yard waste or food waste.

NO trash.

NO clothing, shoes, or toys.

If you have a question regarding recycling, contact ReWorks, or use this philosophy: When in doubt, throw it out.

 

 

 

Keep Akron Beautiful’s Flowerscapes are in FULL BLOOM!

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

All of the Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape and Adopt-A-Site beds are currently in full bloom, so we encourage you to go and check them out before it is too late, and the season is over! A huge thank you goes out to our AMAZING Flowerscape crew that handles all of the prep, planting and maintain of the KAB flower beds. Our Flowerscape crew consists of: Polly Kaczmarek, Flowerscape Director; Flowerscape Foreman, Chuck Gruenwald; Crew members: Tim Wilson & Sue Johns. All of the flowers look amazing all throughout the City of Akron thanks to these 4 people!

Did you know? Flowerscape began in 1982 when Judy Isroff, KAB’s Executive Coordinator, was confident that Akron could emulate Cuyahoga Falls, its neighbor to the North, and managed to convince the KAB Board of Trustees that a similar beautification program was worth pursuing.

KAB hired a part-time Flowerscape Director and contracted with the Portage Path Mental Health Center for the labor force. KAB planted approximately 17,250 flowers at 7 different sites and paid a flower bill of $2,020.12.

Throughout the years, the KAB Flowerscape program has grown from 7 sites to 39 and the annual cost of flowers has grown from $2,000 to over $18,000. Since the start of the program in 1982, over 1 million flowers have been planted to beautify the City of Akron!

Check out some of the beautiful Flowerscape and Adopt-A-Sites from the 2013 growing season! We are proud to keep Akron beautiful and full of flowers! A map of all of Akron’s Flowerscapes can be found here: 2013 Flowerscape Locations Map.

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