Goodbye from a Keep Akron Beautiful Intern!

By: Shelby Baker – Communications Intern

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Roughly seven months ago, I was given the option to intern at some place called, Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB). My initial thoughts were, this is going to be exciting and how in the heck am I going to help keep Akron beautiful? As it would turn out, over the next seven months, I would learn how to do just that and more. Now as I sit here typing up my last blog post, as an intern, I can reflect back on what a crazy ride it’s been interning at Keep Akron Beautiful.

Like Intern Lauren, I started my internship in the middle of summer and didn’t really know what to expect. My first week here, I learned that I would be blogging regularly, helping Helen manage volunteer projects, and working in the field during Dreamscape week. As a communications student, I was so excited to jump right in and “get my hands dirty”. I began visiting groups picking up litter with KAB trailers, I rode around the city with the team counting litter for the city’s litter index, and I even jumped in a car with Lauren and drove around Highland Square looking for houses to nominate for Beautification awards! Then came the famous Dreamscape week.

Looking back at it now, Dreamscape week feels like it flew by! For the majority of the week, the team was out on-site managing crews and helping out in any way we could.I definitely got a lot of experience working in the field that week! I even got the chance to use some of my ZTV experience and shoot the Dreamscape video with the crew and workers who made this year’s Dreamscape so beautiful!

It has been quite an experience interning at Keep Akron Beautiful these past seven months. I’ve made so many good memories, met so many wonderful people, and gained so much valuable experience. Meeting people like Sue Smith from Keep America Beautiful, Paula Davis, former CEO of Keep Akron Beautiful, and the many other people working with this organization was so inspiring. Now that I’m leaving, I can honestly say the best bit of advice I have gained from KAB, is to work in a field you are passionate about!

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Congratulations Bill on retiring from Keep Akron Beautiful after 30+ years of helping the city stay clean! You will be missed!

Anyways, thanks so much for the memories and so much more Keep Akron Beautiful. I will miss everyone so much and good luck to incoming interns Willa Neale and Jamie . I know Lauren and I left big shoes to fill, but you guys will do great things with the KAB team. This is intern Shelby Baker signing off, for the last time!

Waste In Place Training Seminar Proves to be a ton of Fun!

By: Shelby Baker – Communications Intern

On December 8th, 2015, Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) teamed up with Akron public schools to host a Waste in Place training seminar. Waste in Place is a Keep America Beautiful curriculum created and field tested by professional educators, used by schools across the country.

32 fourth grade science educators from Akron public and private schools showed up to learn ways to incorporate environmental topics, ranging from litter prevention to waste management systems, inside the classroom. The workshops consisted of creating paper, sorting trash, making garbage pizzas and much more that made for a pretty informational and awesome day!

Sue Smith, Affiliate Trainer and Director of Education at Keep America Beautiful, kicked the day of workshops off bright and early with a smile! Each workshop started with an informational session on Keep America Beautiful, followed by training for the Waste in Place curriculum guide. Each educator was able to have their own curriculum guide which includes 33 lesson plans on preventing litter, encouraging recycling, and methods for managing trash, that they will be IMG_0189able to use in their fourth grade classroom. Jennifer Williams, of Case Elementary, said that being able to keep the Waste in Place binder was one of the most useful things offered by the workshop. Along with providing Waste In Place activity materials, each workshop focused on implementing waste management lesson plans in the classroom, through hands on activities. As a former educator herself, Sue stressed the flexibility of the Waste In Place lessons. Waste In Place offers a variety of lessons and activities to accommodate a variety of time restrictions and classroom styles.

Sue Smith pointed out that the way we learn information tends to be how we teach that information. With that being said, Sue made sure that all the lessons taught during the seminar were hands on! This was a fun way for each group of educators to move about the room and experience teaching waste management first hand. Three stations were created for individuals to work from and they consisted of paper making, trash sorting and making garbage pizza.

Station One: Making Paper

At the first station groups were taught how to make paper from none other than, recycled paper. Although making paper from paper seems odd, it was fun and quite messy! Individuals used various colors of paper and ground them up in a blender before pouring them in water and dabbing them dry. The results were awesome, as we got to see many colors and shapes of paper!

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Station Two: Sorting Trash

This station was not as eventful as recreating paper that you can write on, but it was still very informational. Groups learned that not everything is actually recyclable. Instead they went through piles of trash, brought in by Sue, and sorted each item by it’s recycling number. This was an opportunity to learn the differences in plastic composition and to demonstrate the proper way of separating recycling.

 

Station Three: Making Trash Pizza

At station three each individual got a chance to make a pizza to take home. The only problem was, it was made of trash. As gross as this sounds, making trash pizza was arguably the most fun hands on station at the workshop! Slices of pizza represented different solid waste categories and the final product turned out to be a three-dimensional pie chart! KAB saw some pretty cool looking pizzas leave the workshop that day. Just check out the one Sue brought in for an example. It’s awesome!

 

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The whole day of Waste in Place seminars were great! KAB loved seeing educators become so passionate about teaching recycling and waste management in the classroom. Educator, Karen Hazlett, of Miller South, mentioned the workshop, “Reminded me of the fun I can have in the classroom and the need for this kind of education”.

Of course the day would not have been so great without the knowledge and passion Sue Smith has for teaching these lessons. Not only did we enjoy watching Sue teach, but the groups enjoyed having her as well. Katie Osborn of one Akron Public school said, “Every dollar you spent to have Sue here was well worth it!”, and we couldn’t agree more! Sue made each workshop enjoyable and fun while teaching some very important information.

Thank you to the Sisler McFawn Foundation and Keep Ohio Beautiful who helped sponsor this workshop for all fourth grade educators in Summit County.

The 2015 Recycle Bowl Results are in!

By: Lauren Brady – Communications Intern

Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) and River Valley Paper Company collaborated for the sixth year in a row to host the annual mixed paper drive competition: The Recycle Bowl. 23 Akron Public schools and 7 private schools in the Akron area competed against each other from October 20th to November 17th to see who could recycle the most paper in honor of  America Recycles Day. Residents and businesses in the area were also encouraged to do their part and recycle their old paper products in River Valley Paper bins located at participating schools.

The winners of our month-long competition are Voris CLC, Innes CLC, and Our Lady of the Elms. These schools secured their place at the top of the competition by recycling the most paper per pound, per student.

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The winning poster! Created by Ziya Wilson from Hatton CLC

Voris CLC recycled 9.1 pounds per student or 1.3 tons total of paper to win a school-wide pizza party and $250 cash prize courtesy of River Valley Paper Company. Innes CLC finished strong, in the middle school division, and recycled 4.6 pounds per student which is equal to 2.09 tons total. Our Lady of the Elms recycled 14.4 pounds per student or 1.1 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 25 students and faculty. WOAH!

St. Mary’s also secured a winning spot in one of our newer categories by recycling the most pounds of paper overall. The students were able to recycle 2.02 tons of paper and will receive a $500 cash prize for their school!

Hoban High School has also been recognized for their outstanding efforts in becoming our “Most Improved” school. They managed to recycle 730 more pounds of paper this year, compared to 2014 and will receive a $250 cash prize.

Over the duration of our Recycle Bowl competition KAB and River Valley Paper Company also sponsored a poster contest. With our highest participation to date, we received entries from four schools. Our winner this year is Ziya Wilson, a 3rd grade student from Hatton CLC. Ziya and her teacher were both awarded American Express gift cards for their participation in the contest. Ziya will also be our  featured artist for the 2016 America Recycles Day campaign and in the River Valley Paper Company calendar. We received a lot of amazing pieces of artwork from other winning students who will also be featured in the calendar next year!

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Overall, we are thrilled with the results and could not be more thankful for all of the participation that came from the students, faculty members, and their communities! It is wonderful to see educators encouraging younger generations to be proactive about the quality of their environment, and teaching them to adapt “green” habits at a young age.

Receptacles will remain on the schools’ properties and can be utilized 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Schools can raise money for their extra curricular activities by filling up these bins. We encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to recycle paper waste rather than throwing it in the garbage. Let’s give trash a second life and help save the planet together! RECYCLE!

 

Thanks for the Memories, KAB

By: Lauren Brady – Communications Intern

Has it really been five months since I sat down to write my first blog post as an intern for Keep Akron Beautiful?! It’s hard for me to believe that this amazing experience has officially come to an end, but I couldn’t be more thankful for my time with such an AMAZING organization.

As a Public Relations major, finding internship opportunities is one of the best ways to gain experience in the field and find what you’re passionate about in the world of PR. Not only did I get to utilize and enhance what I’ve been learning at The University of Akron, but I also discovered a new love for non-profit PR and my community.

I started this internship (my very FIRST internship) in early July, one of the busiest times for KAB. I was a little overwhelmed with all of the different projects going on, but Helen, Jacqui and Cindy all took me under their wings and helped me along the way. I immediately began updating social media, formatting newsletters, designing fliers, composing press releases, writing blog posts and preparing materials for one of our big fall events, America Recycles Day. I was even given the opportunity to design a logo for our newly introduced fundraiser, Bulbscape.

– My last day at the office with everyone! (They got me purple flowers; my favorite color!)

Aside from all of the invaluable experience I gained being a part of the staff here, I was also given numerous opportunities to get involved with the community and help KAB in their mission to enhance our city! I tagged along on the Community Appearance Index to help rank each ward in Akron based on the litter in specific areas, and (slowly) adventured through the streets of Akron as my fellow intern, Shelby, and I nominated houses for the Beautification Watch Awards. I even got to help Helen manage a Make a Difference Day project at Summit Lake with a group of volunteers!

One of my favorite experiences was attending the Summit of Sustainability Awards (SOSA) in October. I was completely blown away by all of the influential organizations in the Akron area that received awards that morning. It was truly inspiring to see how many professionals in the Akron community are so passionate about maintaining sustainable practices as well as educating others around them about their efforts. I was so inspired by all of the amazing people recognized that morning and I felt even more proud to be a part of KAB, since we also strive to implement sustainable and eco-friendly practices in the community!

My time here has not only helped me grow as a professional, but also as a member of the community. I’ve learned so much about living an environmentally friendly life and how important it is to give back to community you’re a part of. I’m already looking forward to volunteering with KAB in the future!

Saying goodbye is such a bittersweet feeling, as I am going to miss you all so much! Thank you KAB for all you have done for me over the past few months! This has been an experience that I will never forget!