Guest column: Help keep Brown County beautiful by picking up litter

Brown County is now an official affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.

Keep America Beautiful is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1953 to help communities create clean, green and beautiful places to live. One of the more memorable symbols of Keep America Beautiful is the “crying Indian,” which became a powerful symbol of environmental responsibility.

Brown County will join more than 600 other communities across America as affiliates.

The idea for becoming a Keep America Beautiful affiliate grew out of the Brown County Garden Club’s litter project.

Since 2012, the garden club has been raising money to pick up and dispose of roadside trash. Thousands of dollars were spent and hundreds of bags of trash were picked up, but sadly, after being cleaned, the roads would soon be littered again.

Furthermore, because of our creeks and deep ravines, some areas were impossible to clean. It became apparent that we needed to change behavior if we were to make a lasting difference.

Our affiliation with KAB will give us access to programs which have been proven effective to help communities clean up and decrease future littering.

The Waste in Place program is an education program for pre-K to sixth grades that teaches litter prevention, recycling and source reduction. Other programs aim to solve specific problems, such as carelessly discarded cigarette butts.

A second goal of Keep Brown County Beautiful is to increase the amount of trash that is recycled. In our community we are fortunate to have a robust recycling program, but not all utilize this program.

Here, again, education is key, and there is much to be learned about waste reduction, recycling and hazardous material disposal. KAB has programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility and teach the value of recycling.

KAB also seeks to protect our natural environment. Communities build trails, plant gardens and trees, and restore wetlands. Local affiliates are encouraged to assess the needs of their community and establish projects that are based on these needs.

Brown County is blessed with abundant natural beauty, and many of us live here because we cherish this lovely, beautiful place.

Visitors come to Brown County for the same reasons. It is very important that we make certain we keep our beautiful community in pristine condition for the health and well-being of our residents and to maintain our appeal to visitors.

We believe that the success of Keep Brown County Beautiful depends on all of us working together. We would like to invite you to participate in the kickoff ceremony on Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Brown County Public Library, lower level.

At this meeting, Sue Smith, KAB representative, and Phil Stephens, director of the Brown County Recycle Center, will discuss the goals of Keep Brown County Beautiful, how it benefits our community and how each of us can help.

There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and share any ideas you might have for projects that will make our community a beautiful, healthy place to live, raise families and attract visitors.

Jeanne Lager is a member of the Brown County Garden Club and the Picture Perfect Brown County project.

Learn more

What: Kickoff ceremony for Keep Brown County Beautiful

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26

Where: Brown County Public Library, lower level

Who: Anyone is welcome to learn how to help reach the goals of this program from national Keep America Beautiful representative Sue Smith and Brown County Recycle Center Director Phil Stephens.