In the culmination of a three-month environmental effort, the numbers are in, and the hard work of Oklahomans has proven to pay off once again.
For the fifteenth consecutive year, KOB took part in the nation’s largest cleanup, sponsored by Keep America Beautiful. Volunteers from all over America participate in the Great American Cleanup, and each year, Oklahomans do their part to keep the state beautiful. Since 2010, Oklahoma has had 100 percent county participation, and this year was no exception. From March 1 to May 31, over 46,000 volunteers and participants fought dirty to keep Oklahoma clean.
Organizations that register for the GAC in Oklahoma receive free trash bags, gloves, vests, water and more. In addition, 36 organizations received cash grants and 11 received equipment grants.
Since 2002, the GAC in Oklahoma has collected over 214 million pounds of litter and debris. Just this year, Oklahoma communities cleared over 3,500 miles of roadways, shorelines and hiking trails. Nearly 192,162 pounds of hazardous waste and electronics and 13,142 tires were collected, helping to protect our environment as well as keep it clean.
The Great American Cleanup is far more than a cleanup effort, however. Communities across the state participate in beautification projects, planting gardens and restoring buildings. This year, communities planted over 7,300 flowers, seedlings, shrubs and trees and painted or renovated 35 buildings.
GAC events have the power to bring communities together, with over 700 groups teaming up this year. 4-H clubs, civic organizations, FFA programs, businesses, chambers and municipalities worked together with the unified goal of keeping Oklahoma clean. The collaboration is 100 percent statewide, and Keep America Beautiful has recognized KOB several years in a row for their complete county participation.
The KOB GAC is our signature program for which we are recognized nationally for having at least one community in all of our 77 counties participate,” said Jeanette Nance, KOB Executive Director. “It speaks volumes when we can be the facilitators for communities to come together for a beautiful cause.”
The GAC in Oklahoma not only makes municipalities more beautiful, but also unites community members.
“Community cleanups are a really fun way to volunteer,” said Wanda Gray, coordinator for the INCA-RSVP cleanup in Tishomingo. “What’s better than spending a couple hours with family, friends, and neighbors making your home a better place? Our volunteers are uniting through community service, responsibility, and sharing of the natural environment to help drastically improve the quality of their communities.”
This annual program in Oklahoma strives to strengthen communities, all while keeping this state more environmentally friendly. KOB believes unity through community improvement can make positive change.
“For us, the Great American Cleanup is so much more than a series of litter pickups or community improvement projects,” said Brenda Russell, Twin Cities Revitalization Project. “It is our opportunity as a community to come together and truly showcase that we as a whole are greater than the sum of our parts.”