Keep Arkansas Beautiful invites youth to enter statewide poster contest

Posted by on Jan 30, 2017 in News

The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) encourages all students in kindergarten through fifth grades to enter the annual Great American Cleanup® in Arkansas Youth Poster Contest. Entries are due by March 1. Every year, KAB coordinates the youth poster contest in conjunction with the Great American Cleanup in Arkansas to involve elementary-age students, to increase awareness of the cleanup initiative in Arkansas, and to educate the public about the importance of a clean and green community to economic development, civic pride and environmental quality of life. Prizes will be awarded in two divisions: kindergarten through second grades and third through fifth grades. KAB is providing gift cards for the Top 3 posters in each division. One poster per classroom may be submitted for statewide judging. Scout groups, 4-H clubs and home-schooled students are also encouraged to enter. Contest entries are due no later than March 1, 2017 and must be 8 ½ x 11 in size. KAB and representatives of the Great American Cleanup in Arkansas will recognize winners in their local communities during March and April. Winning posters and Honorable Mentions will be displayed in the Thea Foundation’s art gallery on Main Street in North Little Rock April 10-14, as well as on KAB’s Facebook page. Additional information about contest rules and entry is available at KeepArkansasBeautiful.com, by emailing info@KeepArkansasBeautiful.com or by calling 888-742-8701 toll-free. The Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup in Arkansas, organized and promoted statewide by KAB, is an annual spring cleanup event when communities focus on local beautification efforts in advance of Arkansas’s busy tourism season. The Great American Cleanup in Arkansas runs March through May. Opportunities to participate in local events can be found on the calendar of events at KeepArkansasBeautiful.com About Keep Arkansas Beautiful The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional staff and a nine-member advisory board appointed by the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. As a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc., KAB inspires and educates individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is funded through its 1 percent portion of the eighth-cent Conservation Tax and, by mobilizing volunteers, returns to the state a cost benefit of more than $6 in community service for each program dollar spent. For more information, visit KeepArkansasBeautiful.com or stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  About Keep America Beautiful Inc. Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s premier community improvement organization. Founded in 1953, the nonprofit has a network of affiliates around the U.S. focused on litter prevention, waste reduction and beautification. Keep America Beautiful is recognized as the leader in changing attitudes and behaviors affecting our community environments. Through its actions, Keep America Beautiful helps create communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound. Today, it continues to be the most credible organization in its three focus areas by vigorously pursuing its guiding principles of education, volunteerism, partnership and individual responsibility. For more information, visit...

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Bald Eagle Watch Month: How litter can endanger birds

Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in News, Uncategorized

Image courtesy of www.wallup.net There is nothing quite like catching a glimpse of a bald eagle soaring over the trees. Unfortunately, habitat destruction and degradation, illegal shooting, litter and contamination of its food source all led to the decline in population of our national symbol roughly 40 years ago. The once endangered species has made a remarkable comeback due to strong conservation efforts, protective legislation and increased awareness. Arkansas is home to a large number of the species, making the sport of watching them increasingly popular across The Natural State. While conservation efforts are widespread across the country, it is important for us to understand what we can do to ensure the bald eagle’s safe future. Here are some contributing factors that led to the bald eagle’s decline, and ways that we can ensure the bald eagle’s safety for years to come: BIG, BAD Balloons Bald Eagle caught in string Image courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com Despite the innocence and beauty of balloons, they have unintended dangerous consequences for birds and other wildlife. The natural latex used is biodegradable and environmentally safe, yet the balloons are treated with multiple preservatives and chemicals to safeguard against bacterial decomposition. Aside from the chemical dangers, balloons can also cause starvation and tangling among the bird populations. Through inadvertent ingestion, birds mistake the balloon for food and consequently cannot digest the latex. Therefore, the bird is unable to take in enough nutrition to survive, thus starving. If the balloons released have ribbon or string attached, tangling is a huge threat as well. Tangle injuries can include malformed nestling growth, open wounds from chafing as the tangle tightens or mobility restriction of the legs, wings or bill, all making the bird more vulnerable to predators and infections. Perilous Plastic Image courtesy of www.cbc.com In many areas around the globe, birds inadvertently feed on plastic floating on the water mistaking it for food, which can directly lead to death and even the death of their young. Large plastic debris, such as bottles, has major effects on bird populations as it can strangle them and can also transport alien species to new waters. Millimeter-sized plastic pellets (what is used in most plastic production) soak up toxic chemicals from water, poisoning the creatures that swallow them. Because these plastic pellets are magnets for toxic chemicals they effectively become poison pills. Japanese researchers found that concentrations of these chemicals were as much as a million times higher than in the water. Seeing that the bald eagle’s primary food source consists of water prey, they are incredibly susceptible to the dangers of plastic litter. What You Can Do Knowing what we do about the decline of the bald eagle population in America and the factors contributing to it, we must all make the conscious effort to be proactive in the conservation of our national symbol. By simply reducing our use of...

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14,000 Arkansans produce $1.83 million in volunteer value to state in removing public waste in 2016

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in News, Press Release

LITTLE ROCK (Jan. 5, 2017) – More than 14,000 Arkansas residents volunteered in local activities across the state in 2016 to help make their communities clean and green by picking up more than 2.3 million pounds of litter, bulky waste and used tires to enhance environmental health and beauty. Twice each year, the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) coordinates and promotes statewide community cleanups and litter pickups: the spring Great American Cleanup™ in Arkansas and the fall Great Arkansas Cleanup. The Great American Cleanup is a national program of Keep America Beautiful Inc. and is supported in Arkansas by KAB. All Arkansas communities were encouraged to organize cleanup teams of local volunteers to remove litter, collect recyclable items and enhance civic pride. Volunteers picked up litter from more than 2,500 miles of roadway and waterway; 17,400 acres of parks and public areas were cleaned up; and more than 4,000 trees, shrubs and flowers were planted during 304 local cleanup events statewide. Cleanup volunteers were supplied with Glad® trash bags, gloves and safety vests. “We are especially proud of those who take pride in Arkansas by participating in local cleanup events,” said Robert Phelps, executive director of KAB. “These initiatives not only create cleaner Arkansas communities but they also increase personal accountability for our state’s cleanliness and beauty while teaching and encouraging positive behavior among younger generations.” The Great American Cleanup begins each year in March and concludes at the end of May. The Great Arkansas Cleanup begins in September and continues through October. About Keep Arkansas Beautiful The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional staff and a nine-member advisory board appointed by the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. As a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc., KAB inspires and educates individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is funded through its 1 percent portion of the eighth-cent Conservation Tax and, by mobilizing volunteers, returns to the state a cost benefit of more than $6 in community service for each program dollar spent. For more information, visit KeepArkansasBeautiful.com or stay connected on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram and YouTube. About Keep America Beautiful Inc. Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s premier community improvement organization. Founded in 1953, the nonprofit has a network of affiliates around the U.S. focused on litter prevention, waste reduction and beautification. Keep America Beautiful is recognized as the leader in changing attitudes and behaviors affecting our community environments. Through its actions, Keep America Beautiful helps create communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound. Today, it continues to be the most credible organization in its three focus areas by vigorously pursuing its guiding principles of education, volunteerism, partnership and individual responsibility. For more information, visit kab.org....

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Elrod, Rogers to lead commission in 2017

Posted by on Dec 13, 2016 in News

Dr. Mark Elrod of Conway has been elected by his fellow commissioners to serve a one-year term as chairman of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, and Mary Joe Rogers of Stamps has been re-elected to a second one-year term as vice chairwoman. Elrod, who represents Congressional District 2, and Rogers, representing Congressional District 4, will serve their terms for the 2017 calendar year beginning in January. Elrod is a visiting assistant professor in the political science department at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. He was appointed to a six-year term on the KAB Commission in 2014; his term on the commission expires in 2020. Rogers is retired as the Lafayette County circuit clerk. She was appointed to a six-year term on the commission in 2014; her term also expires in 2020. About the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission As a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc., the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) works to inspire and educate individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. A three-person professional staff and a nine-member advisory board appointed by the governor manage its programs. KAB is funded by 1 percent of the eighth-cent conservation tax and, by mobilizing volunteers, returns to the state a cost benefit of more than $6 in community service for each program dollar spent. For more information about KAB, visit KeepArkansasBeautiful.com or stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and...

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Celebrating with a Green Holiday

Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in News

‘Tis the season for enormous holiday light displays, copious amounts of gift-wrapping and enough food leftovers to keep us fed for weeks! Celebrating the holidays with family traditions is especially important this time of year but can also create a plethora of unnecessary waste. With a little planning, you can experience the joy of giving and receiving but in a way that benefits our environment. Here are a few ideas to enjoy a clean and green holiday: Image courtesy of www.gatheringgreen.com Oh, (Real) Christmas Tree! Most find it easy to reuse an artificial tree each year, but choosing to purchase a real tree is the more sustainable route. And, let’s be honest: it SMELLS like Christmas! Plastic trees use far more resources in the production of the tree because of the PVC and other types of plastic and in the packaging and shipping of the final product. Artificial trees will last forever, yet most are discarded within six years because repetitive use causes them to become less attractive. If just 10 percent of households planning on purchasing an artificial tree this year purchased a natural one instead, 44 million pounds of non-biodegradable materials could be diverted from landfills (Source: ADEQ). Rather than eventually sending plastic trees to the landfills, purchase a real tree. Not only are they renewable each year, they also contribute to better air quality during the growing season and are also biodegradable and upcyclable! Here is a list of Christmas tree dropoff locations provided by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission where your real tree can become natural fish habitat after the holidays.  Image courtesy of www.christmaslightsetc.com Deck the Halls with LED! LEDs are super-efficient lights that use much less energy than old-fashioned, incandescent bulbs. Luckily for you, these sparkly and bright lights are not only trending in holiday decorations, they are quickly replacing traditional lights. Although the initial cost of LED lights are considerably higher than incandescent, the real savings is long-term on the amount of energy the bulbs will ultimately use. Not only will LEDs bring down the cost of your electricity bill over time, but they are also more durable, lasting approximately 10-25 times longer than incandescent. (Sources: Huffington Post and WeCheckEnergy.com)  Image courtesy of www.hgtv.com Don’t Scrap Your Gift Wrap Don’t get on Santa’s naughty list this year; instead, remember to be thoughtful about your gift wrap! Most gift wraps include metallic properties, which cannot be recycled. The best method to avoid the issue of metallic gift wrap is to simply create your own! Newspaper, magazines or brown craft paper with your own artwork add a personal touch to your gifts while also being environmentally friendly. And, to cut down on additional paper waste, try sending e-cards or cards made from recycled paper. Sending e-cards will also save you time and money. Give our environment a gift this year and use these...

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Fall Great Arkansas Cleanup removes 210,000+ lbs of litter

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in News

Volunteers participating in the Great Arkansas Cleanup, a three-month event hosted by Keep Arkansas Beautiful (KAB), removed approximately 210,500 pounds of litter during the statewide cleanup effort. The Great Arkansas Cleanup involved more than 7,300 volunteers at 144 events statewide who contributed a combined 42,958 hours toward litter pickup. These cleanups cleared litter from 541 miles of roadside and 1,194 miles of waterways. “We appreciate the passion and dedication of our volunteers during the Great Arkansas Cleanup and all year round,” said Bob Phelps, executive director of Keep Arkansas Beautiful. “It is because of each and every one of you, that we are able to produce such outstanding results and continue to keep Arkansas clean and green. Volunteers are not paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.” About the Great Arkansas Cleanup The Great Arkansas Cleanup grew out of an effort that began 46 years ago as the Greers Ferry Lake and Little Red River Cleanup. In 1985, U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers guided legislation requiring an annual pickup event during the weekend after Labor Day on all federal lands. This law, the Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Act, honors the founder of the event. Mr. Garner continued his advocacy for a clean and litter-free environment as a member of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Foundation board of directors until his death in 2014. KAB organized the first statewide GAC in...

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