Keep the Rez Beautiful was selected by Keep America Beautiful, the organization’s parent organization, as the winner of the Innovation Award. This award is given annually to an affiliate who best furthers a component of the organization’s mission.
KRB Executive Director Jeannine May and other members will receive the award Friday in New Orleans at Keep America Beautiful’s annual conference.
KRB won the award for its efforts in litter prevention and reduction. KRB worked with the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District and Keep Mississippi Beautiful to tackle a substantial litter problem along the beaches of the Ross Barnett Reservoir.
Weekend users of the Reservoir were leaving behind boatloads of trash on the beaches, creating not only an unsightly problem but an environmental one, too.
“We embraced this project as our top priority,” May said. “The day that we were certified, the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District brought some Keep the Rez Beautiful volunteers on a boat ride to
show them the problem. We were disappointed by the amount of trash strewn across the beaches and knew we needed to fix it.”
KRB worked with Pearl River Valley and Keep Mississippi Beautiful to develop a marketing campaign that included “boat and tote” bags for trash, new signage and advertisements to encourage Reservoir users to clean up their litter.
“We could not have achieved what we did without the help of Keep Mississippi Beautiful and PRV,” May said. “They have been instrumental partners in our work.”
Cleanup of the litter cost Pearl River Valley about $50,000 a year. Each weekend, Pearl River Valley paid a contractor to remove trash, which accounted for five boatloads of trash each weekend. After this partnership effort, the amount of trash has been reduced significantly – about five trash bags per weekend.
“Keep the Rez Beautiful provided the peer pressure we needed to fix the littering problem along our beaches,” Pearl River Valley General Manager John Sigman said. “We have stepped up our litter patrols and added new signage to the beaches to reduce litter.
“I am happy with the results of these efforts. We are not only saving money, but we are also improving the environmental quality of our precious lake.”
Sarah Kountouris, executive director of Keep Mississippi Beautiful, said she is happy KRB was honored with this award.
“Keep the Rez Beautiful deserves this recognition from Keep America Beautiful,” Kountouris said. “This group is innovative in its approach to preventing and reducing litter, and I look forward to what this group does in the future. Keep Mississippi Beautiful was happy to help Keep the Rez Beautiful tackle this litter problem at the Reservoir and elsewhere in the state.”
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