Keep Blount Beautiful is planning a clean up day - actually 102 of them.
Blount County’s Great American Cleanup will replace the organizations annual cleanup day that was normally held in April as a partner with Earth Round-up. Earth Round-up lost its sponsorship and funding, so a new direction was needed, said Charlene DeSha, Keep Blount Beautiful coordinator.
The new event is a 102-day extravaganza that runs from March 1 through June 10 and will encompass several events and aspects of the KBB mission.
DeSha said the Great American Cleanup will focus on five main events:
• Media Kickoff Day: March 1 with location to be announced. Sponsorships are available and the kickoff could be at the sponsor’s business.
• Blount County Recycling Day: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 12 at the Maryville Bicentennial Park Pavilion.
• Drug Take-Back Day: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 19 at the Justice Center
• Great American Cleanup and Volunteer Luncheon: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 9 at the Maryville Bicentennial Park Pavilion with satellite locations in Townsend, Walland, Louisville, Friendsville, Rockford and Greenback.
• Community Greening Project: May 2 - 20 with elementary, middle and high school greening and beautification projects and Neighborhood Pride projects.
• Great American Cleanup Celebration and BRAVO! Awards: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 10 at Chilhowee Club, 223 Clarion Ave., Maryville.
The Keep Blount Beautiful coordinator said seeing Earth Round-up go away wasn’t easy. “I was sad about it going away. It was a huge event, and it had such momentum, but it was hard to pull off, and it was a lot of work with the school kids and landfill tours and presentations,” she said. “We’re excited we have this brand new opportunity. It will be something different.”
During Earth Round-up in 2010, there were 2,400 volunteers who participated in clean-up activities. This year with the new Great American Clean Up in Blount County, DeSha said Keep Blount Beautiful is also working to create satellite locations in outlying communities to broaden the base of the cleanup day.
“We’re trying to find team leaders for the satellite locations,” she said.
DeSha said Keep Blount Beautiful also has online registration. “The sooner they register, the more likely they are to get the location they want,” she said.
DeSha said there will also be beautification projects connected to the event. “We’ve never been able to focus on that in the past,” she said.
Other news from Keep Blount Beautiful that doesn’t have to wait until March include the organizations rain barrel sale and a donation from Blount Memorial Hospital.
Blount Memorial Hospital, which is now a completely smoke-free campus, donated 15 ash receptacles to Keep Blount Beautiful. The hospital adopted a Tobacco-free campus policy January 1 and no longer need the receptacles.
“The receptacles are much needed throughout the county,” said DeSha. “We are so pleased to have additional receptacles to donate with our Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.” Keep Blount Beautiful has helped place receptacles in Downtown Maryville, as well as area parks and park pavilions.
Cigarette butts are the most-littered item in America, representing nearly 30 percent of all items documented in nationwide clean-up initiatives. Local law enforcement is issuing litter tickets locally and across the state. Anything under 5 pounds means a $50 fine if caught, and this includes cigarette butt litter.
National nonprofit Keep America Beautiful, Inc. has field-tested and expanded the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program for the last seven years with support from Philip Morris USA, an Altria company.
The rain barrels are both an outreach and a fundraiser for Keep Blount Beautiful. Barrels are $100 and part of the proceeds will be donated to Keep Blount Beautiful.
“Moby” is made from 100% recycled plastic in North Carolina and Ohio. They are black in color, hold 65 gallons and are child proof with a bug proof lid.
Rain barrels protect rivers and streams from runoff pollution, DeSha said. “They also divert water from the municipal storm drain system, conserve a vital natural resources and reduces water bills and helps control moisture levels around your home.”
Barrels must be pre-ordered and can be picked up Saturday, April 9, at the Blount County Great American Cleanup event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Maryville Bicentennial Park Pavilion (behind the Blount County Courthouse).
To pre-order with credit card, visit www.keepblountbeautiful.org and click on the rain barrel. To pre-order with check or cash contact the Keep Blount Beautiful office at 865-681-4809. The sale ends April 1.
Contact Keep Blount Beautiful on the web at www.keepblountbeautiful.org for more information about any of the organization’s programs.