Oklahoma was well-represented at Keep America Beautiful's annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. last night. Awards were presented to Keep Oklahoma Beautiful; the Oklahoma Department of Transportation; the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority; the Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry; and KOB Affiliate, OKC Beautiful.
Keep America Beautiful’s National Awards program recognizes its network of community-based affiliates and other individuals and organizations from around the nation that are doing their part to create a more beautiful, clean, and sustainable America.
“It’s my privilege to recognize Keep Oklahoma Beautiful and its state agency partners for such valuable, mission-based work that helps the state of Oklahoma be more socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound,” said Cecile Carson, vice president/litter and affiliate relations of Keep America Beautiful.
KOB and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) were recognized for the State Agency Recognition Awards. OTA partners with KOB through their support of the Great American Cleanup in Oklahoma. Safety is OTA’s highest priority for volunteer groups participating in this program. Its goal is to provide supplies such as safety vests and work gloves, at no charge, to each volunteer participating in this program. The agency regularly participates in Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup by hosting its own cleanup. OTA also provides support to KOB’s annual Environmental Excellence Celebration, which recognizes Oklahomans keeping the state clean and beautiful.
"The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is very proud of the recognition of our partnership with Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, and we look forward to sustaining our support and being a part of their future successes," said Tim Gatz, OTA Executive Director.
KOB and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) were also recognized for their partnership throughout the years. ODOT supports several KOB programs, including the Great American Cleanup, Litter Education, and the Environmental Excellence Celebration. In addition to financial support for Great American Cleanup, ODOT organizes a state-wide cleanup day called the ODOT TrashOFF Day. Winners of this cleanup competition are recognized at the annual Environmental Excellence Competition. ODOT is invaluable with the delivery of Great American Cleanup supplies across the state, helping to ensure 100 percent county participation for the past seven consecutive years. It is the supporter of Litter Education, which reached approximately 1,100 students in 2016.
“The Oklahoma Department of Transportation continues to enjoy a great partnership with Keep Oklahoma Beautiful in our effort to control roadside litter and keep Oklahoma's beauty running deep,” said ODOT Director Mike Patterson.
KOB and The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry (ODAFF) were recognized for their state agency partnership for the Dept. of Forestry’s role in Fresh Paint Days this past year. This year, ODAFF allowed the Forestry Services truck to help deliver paint across the state for KOB’s Fresh Paint Days program. This was a huge help to KOB as volunteers covered over 1,000 miles across nearly 30 counties in two days. The role of ODAFF proved to be of great help this year.
“This is wonderful news,” said Jim Reese, the Secretary and Commissioner of Agriculture in Oklahoma. “We are happy to partner with KOB."
“At Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, we have been blessed to receive such involvement by our state agency partners,” said Jeanette Nance, KOB Executive Director. “For them to be recognized for their dedicated support of us, Keep America Beautiful, and Oklahoma, at this national level speaks volumes about how Oklahomans feel about keeping Oklahoma beautiful at such high levels. We are very proud of these state agencies for all they do, and this recognition is well deserved.”
Aside from these three state partnership awards, KOB is also being recognized as a Diamond Level Affiliate, which is the highest level a state affiliate can reach. KOB, along with 14 other Keep America Beautiful state affiliates, is being recognized for this honor. Becoming a Diamond Level Affiliate requires a state affiliate to be in good standing with Keep America Beautiful, and go above and beyond in its annual beautification, sustainability, and cleanup programs.
OKC Beautiful received an KAB Affiliate award for their work keeping Oklahoma City beautiful, litter-free, and environmentally friendly. OKC Beautiful, Pride in McAlester, Keep Broken Arrow Beautiful, and Ardmore Beautification Council were all recognized as recipients of the President's Honor Circle, designating them as affiliates in good standing.
Congratulations to all those who were recognized for their work keeping this nation beautiful!