Bartow County was well represented this year, bringing home two state recognition awards, during the 39th annual Keep Georgia Beautiful 2017 Awards Banquet held November 30th. Sheri Henshaw (Bartow County Government Community Development/Keep Bartow Beautiful) was named Executive Director of the Year (a once in a lifetime honor) while Bartow’s Master Gardeners earned an award in “Beautification”. Both awards were in competitive categories and well deserved by their recipients.
The annual awards ceremony recognizes outstanding efforts in the areas of Litter Prevention, Waste Reduction & Recycling, Community Beautification and Overall Community Improvement.
The program honors Georgia’s Keep America Beautiful Affiliates for their comprehensive environmental impact on the local community. Since its inception in 1978, Georgia’s affiliate network has grown to be the nation’s largest, with 77 local affiliates serving 76% of the state’s population.
Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation (KGBF): Created in 1978 by Governor George Busbee, Keep Georgia Beautiful (KGB), became the first state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. In 2011, the Keep Georgia Beautiful program merged with the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation, Inc. which was created in 1985 to promote private sector financial support for worthwhile educational programs that enhance the environment and the quality of life in Georgia. KGBF coordinates a number of environmental efforts including the Great American Cleanup™ and the statewide Bring One for the Chipper Christmas tree recycling program. The Foundation is based on a fundamental premise that the environmental interests of the state of Georgia and the people who live here are best served when public and private interests work hand-in-hand to achieve common goals. Our connections with the public and private sectors aid us in our mission to support local Keep Georgia Beautiful affiliates as they build sustainable communities through litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling, water resource management, and community greening. For more information about the KGB Foundation, please visit www.keepgeorgiabeautiful.org or call the office at (404) 679-4910
Sheri was hired as KBB’s first Executive Director in 2000. Her charge was to get a Keep America Beautiful affiliate off the ground in Bartow. Since that time Sheri has involved practically everyone in the program working with citizen volunteers, schools, various organizations, corporations, businesses, County and City Government departments and elected officials, to effect environmental awareness with the intent of changing environmental behaviors. Because of her, KBB has become a recognizable commodity both inside and outside of Bartow County. A long list of things can be attributed to Sheri’s efforts. Because of her efforts every school in the County and City of Cartersville School systems compete in the School Recycling Contest, many schools, as well as downtown Cartersville, have educational gardens and native pollinator plantings. Largely because of her involvement, Bartow conducts at least seven Great American Cleanups and has an award winning partnership with the Corps of Engineers (Lake Allatoona) Christmas Tree Recycling program. Because of her, Bartow has a thriving Adopt A Road and Adopt a Stream programs. Sheri has worked diligently on economic development projects such as the Etowah River Water Trail, the renovation and reuse of George Washington Carver Park, and is currently at work on a potential Black History Heritage Trail.
Bartow’s Master Gardeners earned their award through many volunteer hours planting, and dispensing planting advice.
In the past year Bartow’s Master Gardeners have given 3,893 volunteer hours, driven 24,000 miles, and reached over 2,670 people. The value of this time and in-kind mileage is approximately $104,805. Out of 16 total projects, all of them involve community greening. 10 of these specifically involve Keep Bartow Beautiful Programs. Of those 10 two include KBB’s Arbor Day tree seedling giveaway and the Great Lake Allatoona Cleanup which are also part of the “Ask a Master Gardener Clinics” (596 hours or 28% of their time). Four involve community gardens or downtown beautification projects such as the Shakespeare Garden and Downtown Planters (786 hours or 37% of their time) and four involve gardening with youth in local schools or 4-H (495 hours or 23% of their time).
Because our MG’s are such a big part of so many Keep Bartow Beautiful programs this organization has become an essential collaborator in our success.
From WBHF radio