Join Keep Arkansas Beautiful’s cleanup initiative through October!

Posted by on Oct 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

  Join Keep Arkansas Beautiful’s cleanup initiative through October Individuals and communities statewide encouraged to volunteer   LITTLE ROCK (Oct. 9, 2017) – It’s not too late to join the Keep Arkansas Beautiful (KAB) Great Arkansas Cleanup, which ends October 31, 2017. You can still #makeadifference. KAB is encouraging Arkansans to participate in a cleanup in their own community by the end of October.   Last year’s Great Arkansas Cleanup featured more than 140 community events across the state involving more than 7,000 Arkansans, who picked up more than 210,000 pounds of litter from roughly 1,735 miles of roadways and waterways, and collected over 900,000 pounds of bulky waste at drop-off events.   “We only have a few weeks left of the Great Arkansas Cleanup, but plenty of opportunities to volunteer,” said Liz Philpott, volunteer program manager at KAB. “We encourage every Arkansan to organize or participate in a local cleanup event and help keep our home clean and green.”   Don’t miss your chance to volunteer during the Great Arkansas Cleanup. KAB will provide cleanup materials and supplies to registered cleanups, such as trash bags, gloves and safety vests to local events, while supplies last. There are cleanups registered in the following counties: Baxter, Benton, Boone, Bradley, Carroll, Chicot, Clark, Clay, Cleburne, Columbia, Conway, Craighead, Crawford, Crittenden, Cross, Franklin, Fulton, Garland, Greene, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Independence, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lincoln, Logan, Lonoke, Marion, Miller, Monroe, Newton, Phillips, Pike, Poinsett, Polk, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Sharp, Washington, White, Woodruff and Yell.   Volunteers may visit KeepArkansasBeautiful.com to access the event calendar to see all scheduled cleanups. Those who would like to volunteer can also email info@keeparkansasbeautiful.com or call toll-free 888-742-8701.    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.  ...

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Cool Off with Low-impact Summertime Activities

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in News, Uncategorized

With the abnormally cool weather we’ve seen in Arkansas this year, now’s the time to get out and enjoy all the state has to offer with low-impact water activities! Arkansas is home to some of the most beautiful rivers, lakes and waterways–here are a few ways to enjoy them while keeping the state clean and green! Crowley’s Ridge Swimming Hole Image courtesy of Crowley’s Ridge State Park  Camping and enjoying natural watering holes on the weekend are great ways to end the summer! Areas like Crowley’s Ridge State Park at the Chalk Bluff Natural Area are ideal, as the spring-fed lake offers cool and calm waters. The Crowley’s Ridge area also houses two swinging bridges, pedal boat rentals and kayaks throughout the year. Each of these activities are low-impact on the environment, creating little waste and a lot of fun! Plastic is one of the greatest forms of waste that affects a lake’s ecosystem, and is primarily due campers to disposing of waste and trash improperly. “Pack-in and Pack-out,” is a program created by Leave No Trace and utilized by Arkansas Parks to encourage campers and visitors to essentially carry out everything that they have brought into the campsite. If considered waste, these items should also be disposed of properly when leaving the area. If it’s adventure you’re looking for, low-impact sports like kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding are a great start! Cossatot River State Park – Natural Area boasts clear waters. This scenic adventure is for the more experienced kayak and canoe enthusiasts. When the water level is normal, the river’s rapids are usually considered Class II-III whitewater. Guests can swim, fish, and float through riffles and small rapids as they relax and enjoy the mesmerizing waters near the Sugar Creek area. The natural area’s 5,401 acres emphasize outdoor recreation, river preservation and environmental education. Arkansas State Parks and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission manage the park. It is important to remember that while on the river, all trash should be kept in mesh bags and tied to your kayak or boat. Arkansas boating laws now include laws regarding litter and do not allow materials such as glass and Styrofoam on Arkansas waterways. For more information about Arkansas Boating Litter Laws, please visit the Litter Laws page from Arkansas.com. DeGray Lake Snorkle and Scuba Image courtesy of Arkansas State Parks For the advanced sportsman and fisherman, a new trend is popping up over at DeGray Lake: spearfishing! Spearfishing has become quite popular on DeGray Lake’s clear waters with a season that runs through the fall. The park offers over 1,000 different programs from snorkeling and swimming tours, to kayak, scuba, and spearfishing lessons. The environmental low-impact of spearfishing versus hook-and-line fishing is tremendous. Spearfishing requires no fishing line, which is the biggest source of litter left by fishermen and one of the most lethal for Arkansas wildlife. These...

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How to Improve Your Community Garden with a Tiller

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 Image courtesy of www.Lowes.com Garden Tillers are essential for large areas in need of a makeover such as community gardens. These powerful machines can cut through fresh soil and loosen it into a brand new garden bed. When creating a new green space or overhauling a bleak pocket garden, the help of a tiller greatly impacts what can be accomplished in a garden. It is important to understand that tillers are powerful machines that are better for larger areas. Some tillers are designed for breaking new ground to create new planting beds. When tilling an area for a new garden, it must be done when it is warm outside and the soil is somewhat dry. For best results when tilling, wait a day or so after it rains so the dirt is semidry. That little bit of moisture will make the soil easier to till. Soil that is too wet will clump and eventually dry into hard clods that will be difficult to break up. The soil should also reach a temperature of about 60°F before it can be tilled. Image courtesy of www.ElkhartLandscaping.com The first thing to remember in tilling is to remove any rocks, sticks or other debris. For existing gardens, pull up any thick weeds or vegetation that might become entangled in the tiller tines. The machine will chop up smaller weeds. Then start the tiller, following the manufacturer’s directions and work in parallel lines across the garden. Let the tiller do the work! Continue tilling until the organic matter is thoroughly mixed into the soil to a depth of about 8 inches. Now that your garden is fully tilled and the soil is rich and fertile, you’re ready for planting! It is important to note that sod can be removed before tilling or worked into the soil. Working the sod in during the fall will provide nitrogen to the soil. However, tilling sod under in the spring may cause grass to resurface as the temperature warms. Tilling in the fall is ideal for the success of your garden; in fact, National Planting Day falls on Sept. 9 and focuses on encouraging citizens and organizations across the country to implement beautification projects and increase native plantings in their communities. If you want to join in on the spirit and give your community garden a boost, you should consider applying for our Tiller Grant, which is open for one more week!      ...

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Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission’s tiller grant program closing soon

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

Community groups, beautification committees encouraged to apply LITTLE ROCK (July 25, 2017) – Only one week remains for community gardening groups to apply for the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Troy-Bilt Colt FT Garden Tiller grant. The grant will be awarded to an organization that is currently managing any type of community garden (including vegetable, flower, butterfly, pocket, etc.). The tiller has a value of $420 and is a one-time grant for a deserving community garden. Keep Arkansas Beautiful began accepting grant applications online July 5. The tiller grant will be awarded to one community group, garden or beautification committee that successfully illustrates the positive impact the tiller will have on their garden and their community. “We have already seen a great response from communities across Arkansas,” said Liz Philpott, volunteer program manager at KAB. “With just one week left to apply, we are grateful that KAB has the opportunity to help a deserving community in their beautification and community improvement efforts.” Applications for the tiller grant close Aug. 1, and the winner will be notified by Aug. 15. Those who would like to submit a grant application or would like more information on requirements for the grant can visit KeepArkansasBeautiful.com and find “Tiller Grant” under the Community Resources tab. About Keep Arkansas Beautiful The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional staff of three 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 A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. KAB envisions a country in which every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering, improve recycling and beautify America’s communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 620 state- and community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates and millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials and individuals. To donate or take action, visit kab.org. Follow Keep America Beautiful on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.   -30-  ...

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How to Have Litter-Free Summer Fun

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in News, Uncategorized

Whether it’s a holiday celebration, an outing with friends or a family reunion, chances are you’ll enjoy more than one picnic this summer. Arkansas, known across the country for its natural beauty, is the perfect place for picnicking. There are places to stop and enjoy nature all over the state. Help us keep Arkansas picnic-friendly and picnic-ready. With a little planning for a litter-free picnic, you can reduce the amount of waste generated on your outing. Here are a few ideas to help you get ready for your summertime outdoor adventures: Image courtesy of www.littlerockfamily.com Use reusable plates, cups and utensils. Disposable utensils are convenient to toss in the trash or recycling, but it’s more affordable and earth-conscious to bring metal utensils from home. Simply stash used utensils in a dish (that carried your picnic lunch) to take home for easy cleaning. Opt for cloth napkins over paper. Bring a few dishtowels instead of paper towels. Bring along a matching tablecloth and style your picnic with brightly colored linens and dishware. If you’re an avid picnicker, dedicate a basket or bin for your outings and keep it filled with reusable plates, cups, linens, trash bags and a big blanket, so you’re always prepared. Steer clear of individually-wrapped snacks. You save money and the environment by being conscious of packaging when grocery-shopping for your picnic. Recycle whatever you can, even if that means bringing a recycling bag and tossing it into your bin at home. Don’t set off fireworks, even if it is allowed. Fireworks create litter that you can’t easily find. Most cities and towns have fireworks celebrations that are much more impressive than anything you can set off on your own. Always pick up your trash or, better yet, try not to create Sometimes that’s not possible, so be sure to pack bags to carry out your trash. You may plan your picnic at a location with trash and recycle bins, but sometimes you don’t know. It’s always best to be prepared and keep a few trash bags....

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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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