Keep America Beautiful


Our son is a boy scout and loves to camp.  I like to think he got his love of the outdoors from us since I love hiking and enjoy camping myself. Before boy scouts, he was in the Adventure Guides program through the YMCA. The leader of the group was wonderful and one of the things he always made the boys do before they set up camp and after we broke it down was to pick up 10 pieces of trash.

It’s something I hope my son will always take with him, the idea that taking care of the environment is an important responsibility of stewardship.  If we are to enjoy the great outdoors, we need to take care of them.   

This month began the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) Great American Cleanup. It goes from March 1 through May 31 every year and is America’s largest annual community improvement program. Last year 3.8 million volunteers put in 5.2 million hours at 30,629 events around the country and the world.

Volunteers also planted 166,000 trees and planted 1.5 million flowers and bulbs, along with planting or replanting 728 edible community gardens.  The numbers are wonderful to hear because they are the results of people getting out and caring for their communities.  They represent stories of communities becoming healthier, better, litter-free places to live.

What does that really mean? Communities that have less graffiti and trash and more green spaces, recycled goods and knowledge about how to care for the environment.

KAB has affiliates throughout the United States which you can contact to get involved this year. It also has a place for tips on how to keep communities, clean, safe and healthy.  Since 2005, it’s also provided resources for middle school teachers on litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling, composting, landfills and more through its education site Clean Sweep U.S.A.

For the first time this year, KAB has declared a National Day of Action on Saturday, April 28.  It has coordinated activities in nearly all 50 states with special events in California, Florida, Indiana, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. 

Its goal is to recruit four million volunteers for the Great American Cleanup this year.  If you love your community and the outdoors, this is your chance to show it. My son’s boy scout troop will be joining the cleanup in April so I’ll be with them. I hope you will be making a difference in your community during this year’s Great American Cleanup, too!

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