Keep Mississippi Beautiful Launches New Anti-Litter Campaign

30697854_1811692125558562_816570263331143680_nAs a professional athlete, Dak Prescott understands that small things can make a big difference.

So it came as no surprise to those who know Prescott when, during a nationally televised football game, he was seen automatically placing his own trash into a receptacle. That small gesture spoke volumes to thousands of fans about Prescott’s character and his sense of personal responsibility, both on and off the field.

That’s why Keep Mississippi Beautiful (KMB), the state’s leading community improvement nonprofit organization, selected Prescott as the Honorary Champion for its upcoming Anti-Litter Campaign. The campaign will focus on keeping the highways and roadways litter-free, advancing the fight to End Littering in Mississippi.

The best leaders know that actions speak louder than words. “Don’t Litter… Can It, Mississippi!” is the key campaign message that KMB will use in this special anti-litter campaign that launched in April 2018 and promotes personal responsibility and leadership.

“We are delighted to have Mr. Dak Prescott serving as Honorary Champion of this campaign. Dak sets an example for not only our youth but for all Mississippians to put litter in the proper place. We believe his endorsement can positively influence the actions of others,” said Sarah Kountouris, Executive Director for Keep Mississippi Beautiful.

“Pepsi and Dak have teamed up with Keep Mississippi Beautiful to raise awareness that it’s up to each of us to change our behavior. Litter hurts our state’s image, is a drain on our resources and negatively impacts our quality of life, economic development and jobs. Through Dak’s vivid example, we believe that this new campaign can make a positive difference,” said Shelley Brown Floyd, Chief Marketing Officer at Brown Bottling Group and President of the Miss. Beverage Association.

The image of Prescott, a graduate of Mississippi State University, will appear on outdoor billboards throughout the state for one year. Broadcast radio spots, reminding drivers not to litter, will complement the outdoor campaign.

“Dak Prescott is a fine role model for our youth and young adults. As a great athlete, he understands that we each have duties to perform. Acceptance and ownership of those duties is necessary for the team’s success, and also for the good of the entire community and our state. By his example, Dak is challenging each of us to make a difference by making an effort to put litter where it belongs – in the trash can or recycled,” said Ron Aldridge, KMB Board of Directors and Exec. V.P. & General Counsel for the Miss. Beverage Association.

Daily, on our nation’s roadways, thousands of people casually toss out litter, and that adds up to a big, costly problem for our nation. Litter cleanup is costing the U.S. taxpayers billions each year.

What’s changed in 40 years since Keep America Beautiful started in 1969?

Below are highlights from Keep America Beautiful’s 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study:

  • Visible litter on our nation’s roadways has decreased approximately 61% in the past 40 years.
  • Paper, metal, glass, and beverage container litter has decreased by 74.4% since the 1969 national study.
  • However, the incidence of plastic items in the litter stream has increased over 165%. This reflects a 230% per capita increase in use of plastic packaging over the past 40 years. This plastic has the ability to end up in storm drains and eventually in our waterways, causing significant harm to marine life or on land to wildlife.

Keep Mississippi Beautiful is part of the Keep America Beautiful network, which includes 40-plus local affiliates in Mississippi.

“We attribute the dramatic decrease in litter to the education and ongoing clean-up efforts of Keep America Beautiful and their affiliates throughout the country. Plastic litter has increased by 165% since 1969. These changes in the packaging materials leave many opportunities for improvement,” said Kountouris.

How You Can Help!

Keep Mississippi Beautiful encourages Mississippians to be good stewards. Here are a few tips:

  • Carry and use a car litterbag. When these are full, empty them into a trash and/or recycling receptacle.
  • Use a car or portable ashtray to dispose of cigarette butts and lighting material.
  • Do not throw any litter out of vehicle windows.
  • Once litter is on the ground, it attracts more litter. A clean community discourages littering and improves the community’s appearance and quality of life of its citizens.

“Everyone has a right to be proud of their community. A clean community helps preserve property values and economic development prospects. We want people to get into the habit of not littering, so doing the right thing becomes as automatic to them as it is to Dak. Start today. Can it, Mississippi!” concluded Kountouris.

Keep America Beautiful Recognizes Mississippians with Top Awards

Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2018, recently presented its top awards for litter prevention, recycling and beautification. Keep Mississippi Beautiful, and its network of partners and volunteers, received several prestigious awards.

Ron Aldrige, Iron Eyes Cody Award

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KAB President Helen Lowman presents Ron Aldridge with the Iron Eyes Cody Award.

Ron Aldridge received the Iron Eyes Cody Award in recognition of his decades of community service devoted to advancing Mississippi as a cleaner, greener and more beautiful state. The award was created in honor of Keep America Beautiful’s landmark public awareness campaign of the 1970s, which is credited with awakening the environmental consciousness of an entire generation of Americans. The award is given to a man who demonstrates exceptional leadership in raising public awareness about ending litter, improving recycling and beautifying communities, as well as the need for citizens to participate in activities that help transform public spaces into beautiful places. Read more.

Waste Management, Carolyn Crayton Award

Waste Management received the Carolyn Crayton Award, which recognizes an organization, board member company or individual board member of a local Keep America Beautiful affiliate for its long-standing service and contributions to the sustainability of the affiliate. Waste Management was nominated for the award by Keep Mississippi Beautiful. Buford Clark, a district manager with Waste Management has awarded nearly $80,000 in grants to Mississippi affiliates. The Carolyn Crayton Award was created in honor of the longtime Keep America Beautiful board member who is credited with advancing Keep America Beautiful’s community-based affiliate network, having started the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission in Macon, Georgia, in 1974.

Keep Canton Beautiful, William Nash Award

Keep Canton Beautiful received the William “Bill” Nash Award, named for a pioneer in establishing the national Keep America Beautiful Affiliate Network from the 1970s through the 1990s. The Keep America Beautiful William Nash Award recognizes a new Keep America Beautiful affiliate (completed affiliation within the last three years) for its outstanding achievement. Keep Canton Beautiful, which was nominated for the award by Keep Mississippi Beautiful (KMB), is operated and managed solely by unpaid volunteers, became an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful in December 2016. The organization is primarily funded by private contributions, which are helping Canton become more environmentally healthy, socially connected, and economically sound. It’s also one of three affiliates in Mississippi which has received the William Nash Award in the past five years, with Keep Ridgeland Beautiful and Keep the Rez Beautiful receiving the award in 2016 and 2013, respectively.

Mississippi State University Extension Service, State Partnership Award

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KAB President Helen Lowman presents Dr. Brett Rushing with the State Partnership Award.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service was award the Partnership Award for its close work with Keep Mississippi Beautiful on the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi, which is working to plant wildflowers in public places, including roadsides and parks. Wildflowers provide habitat for insects and wildlife, enhance aesthetics, and can generate tourism and economic development. With this project, our goal is to bring the “Disney effect” to our state, where our roadways are too beautiful to litter, and where we bring together people to make our state a cleaner, more beautiful place to live.

Mississippi Department of Transportation, State Partnership Award

Mississippi Department of Transportation, which received the State Agency Partnership Award for its ongoing support of the Keep America Beautiful network in Mississippi, including litter cleanups and cigarette litter prevention project at rest areas.

 

Ron Aldridge Receive Keep America Beautiful’s Iron Eyes Cody Award

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Keep America Beautiful President Helen Lowman presents Ron Aldridge with the Iron Eyes Cody Award.

From Keep America Beautiful

Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2018, recently presented Jackson, Mississippi’s Ron Aldridge with its Iron Eyes Cody Award in recognition of his decades of community service devoted to advancing Mississippi as a cleaner, greener and more beautiful state.

Aldridge, who was nominated for the award by Keep Mississippi Beautiful (KMB), was presented with Keep America Beautiful’s top volunteer honor at its annual National Awards Ceremony, held during Keep America Beautiful’s National Conference in Dallas, Texas, from Jan. 17-19.

The Iron Eyes Cody Award was created in honor of Keep America Beautiful’s landmark public awareness campaign of the 1970s, which is credited with awakening the environmental consciousness of an entire generation of Americans. The award is given to a man who demonstrates exceptional leadership in raising public awareness about ending litter, improving recycling and beautifying communities, as well as the need for citizens to participate in activities that help transform public spaces into beautiful places.

“Affiliate directors from across the Keep America Beautiful network in Mississippi describe Ron Aldridge as the ‘hardest working volunteer’ and a ‘joy to have around,’” said Keep America Beautiful President Helen Lowman during the awards presentation. “Ron’s leadership and volunteer efforts have helped Keep Mississippi Beautiful and our local affiliates better serve their communities.”

Aldridge, who serves as the executive vice president of the Mississippi Beverage Association, has served on the KMB board of directors since 1992 and as a past chairman. His close working relationship with Mississippi legislators has provided great visibility for many of KMB’s projects, including Keep Mississippi Beautiful Legislative Day, where he’s rallied legislators to sign the leaders against litter pledge. In 2015, he worked with Mississippi lawmakers and state officials to pass a bill that exempts the purchases by KMB and all of its affiliates from state sales taxes. Under Aldridge’s guidance, a partnership with the Mississippi Department of Transportation has been vital to raising KMB’s visibility and effectiveness throughout the state.

Every year, he provides tremendous support to the success of KMB’s Great American Cleanup State Kickoff. And Aldridge has been a significant supporter in training affiliate leaders.

“Mississippi is blessed to have Ron Aldridge, who works tirelessly to advance cleaning, greening and beautification efforts in Mississippi,” said Sarah Kountouris, Executive Director, Keep Mississippi Beautiful.

His contributions to KMB and Keep America Beautiful affiliates in Mississippi spurred KMB to honor him with the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2016. In fact, KMB renamed the award – the Ron Aldridge Volunteer of the Year Award – to commemorate his contributions.

In addition to Aldridge’s leadership and service to KMB’s board, he was one of three original organizers of the Mississippi Recycling Coalition (MRC) and has served on its board of directors since 1997. Additionally, Aldridge has served during many cleanup and recycling efforts with his residential neighborhood association, his local business community, and other communities throughout the state. Aldridge has served on Keep Jackson Beautiful’s board of directors, former Gov. Haley Barbour’s environmental task force, the Mississippi Scenic Byways Advisory Committee, as a member of the Mississippi Environmental Educators Association, and the State Recycling Task Force. Keep Mississippi Beautiful also selected Aldridge in 2003 for its highest honor, the Louise Godwin Award, for his many efforts to advance Keep America Beautiful’s mission in Mississippi.

Aldridge was one of more than 80 individuals and organizations from communities across America to receive national recognition. Keep America Beautiful’s National Awards recognize the passion, dedication and impact of Keep America Beautiful’s affiliates from across the nation as well as partner organizations and individuals who share Keep America Beautiful’s vision of a country in which every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live.

Start Planning Your 2018 Great American Cleanup

Keep Mississippi Beautiful invites neighborhood associations, churches, youth groups and other organizations to join us for our Great American Cleanup each March, April and May.

To help with your cleanup, Keep Mississippi provides Glad trash bags and other supplies (while they last). To request supplies, please fill and submit a request form. Following your cleanup, be sure to fill and submit a wrap-up report. (Affiliates, please request supplies through Keep America Beautiful.)

Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest community improvement program, engaging more than 5 million volunteers and participants every year to create positive change and lasting impact in local communities.

Entering its 20th year in 2017, the Great American Cleanup offers structured service projects – experiential environment education, organized volunteer events and employee engagement opportunities – in more than 20,000 communities across the country. Our volunteers’ work returns, on average, $175 million in measurable benefits across participating communities over the past five years. Keep America Beautiful affiliates and participating organizations coordinate events and programs to renew parks, trails and recreation areas; clean shorelines and waterways; remove litter and debris; reduce waste and increase recycling; and plant trees, flowers and community gardens, among more than 40,000 events annually to inspire a new generation of community stewards.

KMB Now Accepting Award Nominations for Best in Cleaning, Greening & Recycling

The Keep Mississippi Beautiful (KMB) Awards Program recognizes the best of the best among our network of community-based affiliates, leading corporate partners and individual volunteers across the country who have committed to delivering cleaner, greener and more beautiful communities.

KMB is now accepting nominations for its 2018 awards, recognizing accomplishments in 2017. Nominations are due March 16, 2018. Awards will be presented at Keep Mississippi Beautiful Awards Ceremony on April 12, 2018 in Jackson, MS.

Complete and submit the nomination packet, which includes the nomination form, the narrative and three supporting materials (photos, articles, etc.). More information on the packet is found on the nomination form.

The packet can be emailed to neeley@keepmsbeautiful.com or mailed to: 208 Key Dr., Suite B, Madison, MS 39110. Emailed packets must be received no later than midnight March 16, 2018. Mailed packets must be postmarked no later than March 16, 2018.

 

Individual Achievement Awards

  1. Mayor of the Year Award: Honors a mayor in Mississippi who supports the KMB mission.
  2. Law Enforcement Official of the Year Award: Honors a law enforcement official in Mississippi who supports the KMB mission.
  3. Pat Fordice Award: Honors a leader of beautification, recycling and litter cleanup in Mississippi. This award is given in honor of the former First Lady who was a dedicated supporter of Keep Mississippi Beautiful.
  4. Louise Godwin Award: Honors a leader of beautification, recycling and litter cleanup in Mississippi. This award is given in honor of one of the key founders of KMB.
  5. Ron Aldridge Volunteer of the Year Award: Honors a superior volunteer who dedicates time and energy to further the KMB mission.

Download nomination form for Individual Achievement Awards.

Keep Mississippi Beautiful Program Awards

  1. Great American Cleanup Award: Recognizes a Keep Mississippi Beautiful affiliate, community group, or entity who used a Great American Cleanup to impact positive change.
  2. Wildflower Trails of Mississippi Award: Recognizes a Keep Mississippi Beautiful affiliate, community group or other entity that has helped broaden the reach of the wildflower program.
  3. Recycling in Mississippi Award: Recognizes a Keep Mississippi Beautiful affiliate, community group or other entity that has had made significant investments to expand or broaden recycling.
  4. Affiliate Award: Recognizes a Keep Mississippi Beautiful affiliate that embodies the spirit of Keep Mississippi Beautiful through active beautification, litter cleanup and recycling efforts.

Download nomination form for KMB Program Awards.

Mississippi Partnership Awards

These awards recognize entities with achievements in beautification, recycling and litter cleanup. KMB affiliates are encouraged to nominate partners for awards in this category.

  1. Business/ Industry Award: Recognizes a business, company or association.
  2. Government Award: Recognizes a state or federal agency or local government.
  3. Youth Groups and School Award: Recognizes a youth group or school.
  4. Civic Organizations: Recognizes non-profits, churches and other civicorganizations.

    Download nomination form for Mississippi Partnership Awards.

 

More Information

Download KMB Awards Overview.

 

 

Scholarships Available for College Students through Mississippi Recycling Coalition

One of Keep Mississippi Beautiful’s key partners, the Mississippi Recycling Coalition, is offering scholarships to undergraduate students enrolled in Mississippi public and private colleges and universities who areTwitter-FotF-2.5x1-1 copy either majoring in areas related to environmental sciences, environmental education, and/or are active in promoting recycling or other sustainable practices.

The Mississippi Recycling Coalition in conjunction with the Mississippi Beverage Association is offering up to ten $1,000 scholarships.

Applications and transcripts must be received by October 27, 2017.

Learn more here.

McDonald’s USA Named National Sponsor of Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup

From Keep America Beautiful —

Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization, today announced McDonald’s has become a National Sponsor of Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup (GAC), the largest year-round community improvement program in the country. Efforts will get underway on September 9, 2017 with National Planting Day, a fall initiative of the GAC. McDonald’s is the exclusive Presenting Sponsor of National Planting Day.

Held annually the first Saturday after Labor Day, National Planting Day kicks off the fall planting season for Keep America Beautiful’s network of more than 600 state and community-based Affiliates and other local partners, including many in Mississippi, with events taking place through October. The annual initiative celebrates the critical nature of native plants and trees in enhancing biodiversity, rebuilding ecosystems and supporting pollinator health.

Beautiful public places transcend aesthetic appeal to positively impact the lives of
area residents, visitors, businesses and institutions. Green spaces restore our communities, helping to make them more environmentally healthy, socially connected, and economically sound. National Planting Day focuses on four areas of need:

  • Increasing the number of native trees in public spaces.
  • Bringing natural beauty and sustainable urban infrastructure to “built environments.”
  • Creating community-supported sustainable vegetable and fruit gardens.
  • Greening and restoring vacant lots with low-maintenance indigenous plants and trees in underserved urban and rural neighborhoods.

“We’re incredibly grateful to McDonald’s for their support in shining a light on the Great American Cleanup and National Planting Day, which provide hands-on opportunities for anyone to participate in improving their local communities,” said Helen Lowman, president and CEO, Keep America Beautiful.

“Like McDonald’s, our footprint touches thousands of communities and millions of people. We are eager to work with McDonald’s, its restaurants and employees to create more beauty across America.”

Tips and ideas for celebrating National Planting Day can be found at https://www.kab.org/ourprograms/great-american-cleanup/national-planting-day.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018, the Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest community improvement program with an estimated 60,000 events occurring from spring through fall in more than 20,000 communities across the country. The Great American Cleanup annually engages millions of volunteers throughout the country to help renew parks, trails and recreation areas; clean shorelines and waterways; remove litter and debris; reduce waste and improve recycling; and plant trees, flowers and community gardens, among other activities to inspire a new generation of community stewards.

National sponsors of the Great American Cleanup include Altria, Dow, The Glad Products
Company, Lowe’s, Niagara Bottling and ReadyRefreshSM by Nestlé®.

About McDonald’s USA
McDonald’s USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women. Customers can now log online for free at approximately 11,500 participating Wi-Fi enabled McDonald’s U.S. restaurants. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook www.facebook.com/McDonaldsUS/.

About Keep America Beautiful
Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Established in 1953, we strive to End Littering, Improve Recycling and Beautify America’s Communities. We believe everyone has a right to live in a clean, green and beautiful community, and shares a responsibility to contribute to that vision. Behavior change – steeped in education, research and behavioral science – is the cornerstone of Keep America Beautiful. We empower generations of community stewards with volunteer programs, hands-on experiences,
curricula, practical advice and other resources to deliver measurable environmental, economic and social benefits. The organization is driven by more than 600 state and local affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities and government officials. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Donate and take action at kab.org.

Registration Open for State Recycling Conference

e5f9e154740eea20afc99d80a277c3c3Our sister organization, the Mississippi Recycling Coalition (MRC), is hosting its annual recycling conference in Ridgeland on Oct. 25. MRC is hosting the conference at Holmes Community College in Ridgeland.  The MRC State Recycling Conference draws representatives from local governments, state and federal agencies, universities and colleges, businesses and non-profit organizations (including Keep America Beautiful affiliates!) as well as recycling and solid waste professionals to participate in informative sessions and networking opportunities.

As one of Mississippi’s most decorated communities for its great shopping, beautiful green spaces and long-standing commitment to growing recycling, Ridgeland will be a good destination for the one-day conference. The meeting is preceded by a 20-Year Anniversary Celebration Reception on October 24 at Anjou Restaurant.

“As the chair of the MRC board of directors, I invite you all of our Keep America Beautiful affiliates here in Mississippi to attend this conference to learn about the latest in recycling,” said Sarah Kountouris, Keep Mississippi Beautiful executive director.

Learn more.

Keep the Rez Beautiful Efforts Grow into a River-wide Cleanup

From our friends at Keep the Rez Beautiful —

20155682_1419302068106410_3962639330777386869_nAugust 11, 2017: Keep The Rez Beautiful’s Plan of Action to Reduce Litter Below the Spillway is working to reduce litter thanks to many volunteers and partners who believe in KRB’s mission of a cleaner Ross Barnett Reservoir and Pearl River! Since 2011 when KRB was certified with Keep America Beautiful, hundreds and possibly thousands of volunteers have been helping to clean up the Ross Barnett Reservoir watershed.

KRB partnered with the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District and reduced tons of litter on islands on the Upper Pearl several years ago. Eventually, the efforts focused to a broader section of the Pearl River.

Since 2011, volunteers have picked up tons of litter in this area as well as in other parts of the Pearl River and Reservoir.

KRB board members and partners developed the Plan of Action for Litter Reduction Below the Spillway and presented it to the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District Board for approval. The Board approved and the work began. Partners including the MS Dept. of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks, MS Dept. of Environmental Quality, Pearl River Kayaks, Inc. Keep Miss. Beautiful and others worked with PRVWSD to outline and implement the plan.

Since March 2017, volunteers have retrieved over 10,000 pounds of litter from the area.   Action plan items to reduce litter in the area recently implemented include: gates installed on both sides of the Lower Spillway entrances, that could also be used as high water gates when the area floods; signage installed stating that the area could be closed if the litter and trash isn’t reduced; more garbage cans; improved lighting to deter littering and other issues at night.

Keep America Beautiful and Lowe’s recently awarded KRB a $5,000 grant that will allow KRB and partners to

  • Install a new User Station providing educational & recreational information about the area;
  • Reduce blight in the area through beautification efforts; and
  • Install monofilament containers to reduce large amounts of broken fishing line that affect wildlife habitat and more.

These efforts will aid in reducing litter, educate visitors about the impact and solutions in improving water quality and the wonderful opportunities that the Reservoir and Pearl River offer to everyone who recreate these areas.

Volunteers Needed Sept. 23

As a result of these efforts on September 23, the first ever Pearl River Clean Sweep is planned. Volunteers from Nanih Waiya to Pearlington and into Louisiana will be “sweeping” the Pearl retrieving litter. To sign up to volunteer go to: PearlRiverKeepers.com and select a site to help. So far, there are 25 sites you can volunteer for including many on the Ross Barnett Reservoir including the Lower Spillway areas. Not only will be the litter be removed, but KRB will be recycling plastic bottles and aluminum cans.

HELP US TREASURE THE REZ AND TREASURE THE PEARL….LET’S LEAVE IT SHINING!