Braxton resident Evelyn Copeland received a prestigious leadership award from Keep America Beautiful, one of several Mississippians the organization recognized last week at the national conference in Washington, D.C.
Copeland, affiliate director of Keep Simpson County Beautiful, received the Sue Smith Leadership Award for her dedication and service to litter prevention, beautification and recycling efforts across Simpson County. She is the fifth Mississippians to receive this award over its 26-year history, including Keep Mississippi Beautiful’s Sarah Kountouris, who received it last year.
“Evelyn is a creative problem solver who knows how to bring together volunteers, resources and new ideas to positively impact Simpson County,” Kountouris said. “We are so proud of Keep Simpson County Beautiful’s accomplishments.”
Copeland joined the group in 2008. Since then, it has created a number of community gardens and parks as well as created the first roadside wildflower project on a U.S. highway in Mississippi.
Meanwhile, several other Mississippi individuals and organizations were recognized by Keep America Beautiful, including:
- Becca Blair, who received the Youth and Education Award for her contributions to the Ross Barnett Reservoir community and Keep the Rez Beautiful. The 9-year-old started a recycling program in her neighborhood, which has recycled 3,000 pounds of materials since March 2016. She has also volunteered on numerous occasions with Keep the Rez Beautiful, her local affiliate.
- Keep Mississippi Beautiful, which received the Innovation Award for the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi project. Since 2015, the project has established 22 plantings along roadways and in other public places, harnessing the many benefits of wildflowers, including improved pollinator habitat, more beautiful places and roadside maintenance benefits.
- Keep the Rez Beautiful, which received the Award of Excellence for its Great American Cleanups (both on the land and in the water), beautification efforts and many other programs.
- Mississippi Department of Transportation, which received the State Agency Partnership Award for its ongoing support of the Keep America Beautiful network in Mississippi.
Additionally, Keep Mississippi Beautiful as well as 27 affiliates were recognized for their continued commitments to Keep America Beautiful. Keep Mississippi Beautiful received the Diamond Level designation, the highest a state affiliate can receive. The following state affiliates received the President’s Circle designation:
- Keep Cleveland Beautiful
- Keep Clinton Beautiful
- Keep Copiah County Beautiful
- Keep Corinth-Alcorn County Beautiful
- Keep Desoto County Beautiful
- Keep Diamondhead Beautiful
- Keep Flora Beautiful
- Keep Greenville Beautiful
- Keep Harrison County Beautiful
- Keep Indianola Beautiful
- Keep Jackson Beautiful
- Keep Kosiusko Beautiful
- Keep Leake County Beautiful
- Keep Lincoln County Beautiful
- Keep Madison the City Beautiful
- Keep Meridian/Lauderdale County Beautiful
- Keep Mississippi Beautiful
- Keep Natchez/Adams County Beautiful
- Keep New Albany/Union County Beautiful
- Keep Oxford/Lafayette County Beautiful
- Keep Pascagoula Beautiful
- Keep Pearl Beautiful
- Keep Pike County Beautiful
- Keep Ridgeland Beautiful
- Keep Simpson County Beautiful
- Keep the Rez Beautiful
- Keep Yazoo City Beautiful
“The President’s Circle Award recognizes exemplary performance by Keep America Beautiful affiliates of in creating clean, green and beautiful communities,” Kountouris said. “I’m proud at how many of our affiliates continue to work tirelessly to benefit their communities.”