Revisiting Dreamscape 2013: Akron Rotary Camp

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern

Spring has sprung, which could mean many things here at KAB: clean-up projects, volunteer programs and fundraisers. One event, in particular, involves an ultimate outdoor makeover. For 11 years, the Dreamscape Makeover Raffle has served as our annual fundraiser to support our public land beautification program, Flowerscape. Valued at $10,000, the lucky winner of this raffle receives a front or back yard makeover professionally designed by talented local landscapers.

Dream01In 2013, Ivette Immormino of Rocky River drew the winning ticket but transferred the prize back to the KAB Board of Directors and ultimately to the Akron Rotary Camp at Rex Lake. Running the camp for emotionally and physically challenged children is camp director, Dan Reynolds. At the time, the camp was just finishing up their capital campaign renovations, making it the perfect timing for an outdoor makeover! The gateway at the Akron Rotary Camp

dreamscape 2013went from a grassy, dirt drainage ditch to a large flower bed planted with annuals and perennials, outlined by landscaping rocks to improve the water runoff issue at the camp. Topsoil and compost were donated and blown into the beds and after prepping the two large new planting beds and crews from a canoe rack with lumber were donated by National Industrial Lumber Company. The canoe rack served a larger purpose of freeing up the picnic tables in the pavilion at the camp, which were housing the canoes when not in use. Now, the children can safely put the canoes away and launch the canoes from a new beach the crews added. Lead landscaper was Nick Roth of Nick’s Landscaping of Ohio, LLC, who transformed the camp into a more functional, accessible environment. You can find more details on the makeover here.

Recently, we got in touch with Dan to talk about the Akron Rotary Camp’s Dreamscape experience and what it’s like today:

Nalee Vang: What was your initial reaction after finding out that you won the Dreamscape Makeover?
Dan Reynolds:
We were extremely grateful!  As a grassroots nonprofit in the community, we put most of our resources into serving our kids.

NV: It was really cool to see the transformation in the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures.  What was your favorite part of the makeover?
DR: The best part of our makeover was creating some functional spaces for our campers.  Our new boating area not only looks good but works well too.

NV: How has the makeover changed the Akron Rotary Camp?
The makeover happened at the tail end of our capital campaign renovations. We had some great new indoor spaces for our campers but the area that was made-over was very overgrown.  Now, we look great inside and out!  Most importantly, we have another accessible area at camp where we can work with our campers to help them accomplish something that they never thought they could do or would have the opportunity to do.

Dream02NV: Has there been any challenges keeping up with the renovations?
DR: Most of the areas are low maintenance and have required little TLC.  With the help of volunteers, we are able to mulch and sand our dreamscape design annually.

NV: How was the reaction from the kids and/or staff after revealing the makeover?
Everyone loved it!  Our campers are always so happy to see something new and different at camp. The staff is always grateful when we make accommodations that can help make their jobs easier.

NV: Looking back at the whole process, what are some reflections or thoughts you have that you want to share with us? Were you pleased with the results?
We are very pleased with the results and have identified future areas for the next Dreamscape. I just really want to thank Keep Akron Beautiful and all of the volunteers that made the project possible.  I know it is a big commitment every year to do a yard make-over but it means so much to the property owners and in our case, our campers, staff and camp volunteers.  It’s a shot of self-esteem and pride.

NV: What is some advice for future winners? Would you recommend purchasing a ticket to for the Dreamscape Makeover?
Of course, everyone should buy a ticket for a chance to win – no matter where you live! Advice to future winners: have fun and enjoy the process.  Have an idea for what you want to fix up or change and then let the designers work their magic. It’s a blast!

Dream03It was so much fun to have worked with the Akron Rotary Camp in 2013 on their well-deserved Dreamscape makeover. Here at KAB, we are thrilled to see the kids enjoying camp after the big transformation! Remember, this could be you!

Buy your tickets to enter the drawing for your very own Dreamscape makeover NOW!

Gardening Tips from KAB Adopt-A-Site Clinic

by Cindy Pantea

adopt a site clinic volunteers Wednesday, April 8, 2015, KAB Flowerscape Director, Polly Kaczmarek, gave a presentation on Adopt-A-Site (AAS) bed preparation, planting tips and site maintenance to a crowd of some of our wonderful volunteers at her yearly AAS clinic.

polly kab flowerscape directorPolly’s Powerpoint, filled with blasts of blooming color, showed examples of our amazing KAB Flowerscapes and volunteer Adopt-A-Sites. These pictures went along with her planting advice for beautiful beds and long-lasting blooms.

Since these volunteers told us how much they learned from our knowledgeable Flowerscape Director, we wanted to share some of her gardening tips with KAB blog readers.

Adopt-A-Site Clinic Takeaways

Along with Polly’s written planting tips, which are located on our Adopt-A-Site website page, here are some further explanations of those tips or additional takeaways from last night’s clinic:

  • Make sure to loosen root balls before planting, otherwise the roots might not spread out. (This was an actual issue at a site location, Polly explained.)
  • Hoe around plants to get air to roots.
  • Using PREEN (be certain to get the type for flowerbeds) after weeding will provide a barrier to weeds in your bed.
  • Edging makes a big difference to beds!–Just use a straight edge shovel.
  • Take the advice of the spacing requirements included on the card with your flowers. Though it looks sparse in the beginning, they fill in fast. – Just a couple of weeks is all it may take!
  • Downy Mildew is still a problem with impatiens, yet some stores are still carrying these flowers. Until the Downy Mildew is no longer a problem, Polly’s advice is to stay away from impatiens and use other flowers for the shade like begonias.

Some of the AAS volunteer guests even had tips…

Laura, a volunteer who assists with the Friends of Schneider Park site said that planting catnip intermittently in her personal garden attracts cats, which in turn keeps out the bunnies and rodents.

Keep Akron Beautiful AASs

For those of you who don’t know. Our KAB Adopt-A-Sites are flower garden sites which are planted and maintained by volunteers. For anyone wishing to start an AAS through KAB, you must first meet the basic criteria:

  • metro rta keep akron beautiful adopt a siteMust have a piece of public land in mind for a site
  • Site must have close, convenient access to a fire hydrant
  • Must be a location that is visible to the public
  • Topography must be suitable for planting
  • Site must be safe for those doing the gardening
  • Start small and grow with success
  • Must have a group of 5 volunteers with one contact person in mind
  • The volunteer group’s commitment must be for more than one growing season

Then, if you meet these basic criteria, the next step is to call or email Keep Akron Beautiful between January and March. Each March, the Flowerscape Director checks the site location. If all is okay, the Flowerscape Director will invite you to the next Adopt-A-Site clinic, usually in April.

2015 Adopt-A-Sites

We want to thank all of our Adopt-A-Site volunteers, some of whom have been helping to beautify Akron for ten years or more.

The Akron Masjid – at corner of Old South Main and Main
APS Administration Building – at 500 E. North St.
BARC – at the Akron Dog Park
Bella Dora Mgt. – at 525 Carroll St., NE corner of Fountain St. and Carroll
Blooming Designs – at Fairlawn Heights Island (Brice & Hampshire)
Bravo! United Disability Services – at Chief Memorial / Fire Station #4 – 24 E Thornton St
Brooklands Triangle – at Brooklands and Tonowanda
Brookshire Garden Club – at 1840 Brookshire Rd
Cadillac & Storer Neighbors – at corner of Storer and Little
The Canyon Trail Garden Club – at end of Canyon Trail (circle)
Castle Blvd. Garden Club – at Castle Blvd Median
Donnie Kammer and Neighborhood Friends – at Brown St. and Wilbeth
People of Dodge and Payne – at corner of Dodge & S. Portage Path (N.E. corner)
Dorothy Francis and Sylvia Martin – at Ely Rd & W. Fairlawn Blvd triangle
Fairlawn Heights Neighborhood Association – at E. Fairlawn median @ Stockbridge intersection (2 sites)
FDR Group – at Manchester Rd Pump station in front of Nesmith Lake
Friends of Boss Park (a UA Off-Campus Student Svcs div under NEOBio) – at Boss Park on Allyn St side
Friends of the Circle – in Hadden Circle grassy area (in the bed)
Friends of Schneider Park – Mull and Crestview Schneider Park
Friends of Teagle Park – at Highland Square
Goodyear Heights Community Church – at Reservoir Park
Hartford/Greenwood Block Club – at the Schumacher School marquee corner of Lawton & Hartford
Hereford Park Neighborhood Association – Hereford Park
Residents of HertfordShire – Paddock and Revere Rd. (HertfordShire Development)
Highland Square Garden Club – Highland Sq. library (both sides Market St. Driveway)
Indian Hills Condominium Association – at Smith Road
Summit County Juvenile Court Community Service – at Juvenile Court on Dan St.
The Kane Family – at Glenwood & Fouse
Friends of Parkway Estates (Karona Park) – at corner of Karen and Barcelona
Lillie Hill-Robbins and Neighborhood – at Romayne Blvd at Portage Path
Mason CLC – at Mason CLC
Mayfield & Market by the Foltz House – at Mayfield & Market
Mayfield Avenue Homeowners – at Mayfield & Twin Oaks
Merriman Hills Garden Club – at Letchworth and Canyon Trl
Merriman Hills Garden Club – at Delaware & Mayfair
Merriman Hills Garden Club – at Lafayette & Malvern
Merriman Hills Garden Club –at Merriman & Palisades
Merriman Hills Garden Club – at Palisades & Lafayette
Merriman Woods – at Kingswood & Rocky Hollow
Metro RTA Employees – at 416 Kenmore
Mineola Ave. Block Club – (Forest Lodge) at Park Mull Ave & Hawkins near lodge
Moms Club of West Akron – at Braewick Circle
Morgan Park Lovers – at Morgan Park
North Howard Street Neighborhood – Triangle at Avon / N. Howard
Northwest Akron Block Watch Club – 444 N. Hawkins across from Armory and Methodist Church
Staff of the Ott SDC – at Ott Staff Development Center
Overwood Neighbors – at triangle at Brookshire and Overwood Rd
Overwood Neighbors – at N. Wheaton & Overwood
Project Ujima – at Kerr Park
Residents of Parkway Estates – at corner of Coral & Portage Path
Ridgewood Road Neighbors – at Ridgewood & Halifax Triangle
Rising Meadow – at Rising Meadow
Crouse School Neighborhood Group – at Diagonal & Grace
Peerless, Cordova Block Watch Club – Storer/Bellview/Mercer/Peerless Block Club
St. Sebastian Knights of Columbus Council #14255 – at rotary at Mull & S. Hawkins/circle island near Forest Lodge
The Sunnyside Neighbors – at Sunnyside & Merriman (Sunnyside Ave Triangle)
Triangle Garden Club – at Highland & Edgerton
Turfscape – at Resnick School
Waters Park Renewal Society – at Shuffle Board courts
Westover & Kenwick Neighbors – at Kenwick, Westover & Sheldon Streets
Woodbrook Place Neighbors – at entrance to housing development in Akron (at the sign)
Woodland United Methodist Church – at Northwest Akron Comm Ctr (along driveway off Shatto Ave Entrance)
Haven of Rest – at Grace Park (entrances)
First Congressional Church – under the UPA at UAK (middle of Perkins)
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church – at Flagpole

These sites are eligible for Beautification Watch Awards. If you like a site, remember to nominate in July.

Green Fair in Akron

by Cindy Pantea

green fair akron summit county dapIn an effort to educate the Akron workforce, business friends and residents on using green products that are not only environmentally friendly but help improve our quality of life, the City of Akron, Summit County and Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) partner will host another Green Fair.  What has become a yearly event, this upcoming green fair will be held

Friday, May 1, 2015, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

at Lock 3 (200 S. Main St.)

The event will take place in conjunction with DAP’s Annual Green & Clean Day, when typically more than 300 volunteers clean, mulch and paint the downtown Akron neighborhood.

If you are a green vendor who wants to display environmentally friendly products or services, you are welcome to register by clicking on and downloading the pdf: Green Fair Letter and Registration-15.

Return registration to Jerry Roberts, Purchasing Agent, at 166 S. High St., Rm. 501, Akron, OH 44308, by April 17.

Questions? Call Jerry Roberts, City of Akron, 330.375.2174; Jon Holland, County of Summit, 330.926.2492; or Suzie Graham, DAP, 330.374.7676.

Look for Keep Akron Beautiful at the Green Fair

Whether you are vendor or a visitor who plans to attend this event, look for Cindy and Helen at the Keep Akron Beautiful vendor booth. We will be showing how you can keep your summer outside events litter free.

Looking for unique ways to be green? Follow us on Pinterest or other social media channels or sign up for our informative newsletter. All this is found on our homepage at

See you at the Green Fair!


Keurig Inventor Regrets His Own Invention?

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern


Yes, that’s right! The Keurig’s own inventor, John Sylvan, is regretting ever inventing the easy, time-saving machine. For most coffee lovers, the Keurig was the best invention to ever exist, but to Sylvan, it’s anything but “the best”. Sylvan believes that the coffee system’s K-Cups are too expensive, addictive and wasteful. “It’s like a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance,” he said, according to The Atlantic.

The biggest problem here? K-Cups are NOT recyclable. The tiny K-Cup may seem harmless but will undoubtedly have a massive environmental impact. Journalist Murray Carpenter estimated in his book, Caffeinated, that a row of all the K-Cups produced in 2011 would circle the globe more than six times. To update that analogy: In 2013, Green Mountain produced 8.3 billion K-Cups, enough to wrap around the equator 10.5 times. Keurig also admitted to selling 9.8 billion pods last year.

“I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it,” Sylvan said. He no longer owns the product. Having sold it in 1997 to Keurig Green Mountain brewing company for $50,000, he also admits that he regrets making that decision, too. Sylvan told the Atlantic that since he handed the company over, “I told them how to improve it, but they don’t want to listen.”

The company released a sustainability report last year, announcing its K-Cups will be recyclable by 2020. “No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable,” Sylvan concluded.

So, where do we go from here? If you are a Keurig owner (like myself, unfortunately), there are ways that you can reduce, reuse and repurpose K-Cups.

Refill your old K-Cups or use a reusable K-Cup


Make frozen herbs in perfect serving sizes. enhanced-buzz-26211-1417499400-4

Make tiny seed starters. 


Organize small craft & sewing items, hair accessories or office supplies. 


Craft them during Christmas time.


Make tiny tabletop planters.


Make popsicles.


 To see how all of these DIY’s were achieved, read Buzzfeed’s 33 Genius Ways to Reuse Your K-Cups! Have fun and reduce or reuse K-Cups!