Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Environmental Excellence Winners
Pictures and Story by Angela Hankins, Special Programs Officer, ACOG
ACOG Members and Central Oklahoma Community Organizations Recognized at Keep Oklahoma Beautiful’s Environmental Excellence Celebration
On Friday night, ACOG members and Central Oklahoma community organizations walked away with many Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB) Environmental Excellence Awards. Community organizations were nominated based on projects that improve the environment and add to the quality of life in Central Oklahoma.
KOB is a statewide nonprofit organization founded in 1965 and is a state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, which is a nonprofit organization with a national network of nearly 1,000 participating organizations working together to improve communities through litter prevention, waste reduction and beautification.
Here is a rundown of the 2018 winners and nominees:
Congratulations to Logan County for receiving three awards. Under the Law Enforcement Program category, Commissioner Marven Goodman, Commissioner Michael Pearson and Commissioner Monty Piercy and Sheriff Damon Deveraux with the direction of Deputy Don Hudgins undertook the cleanup of Logan County. Hudgins secured a grant through the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, and worked with the Commissioners to both clean up rural Logan County and prevent unauthorized dumping along the county’s roadways and bridges. Hudgins, whose work led to the clean up 26 tons of trash, 260 tires and many harmful chemicals in just the first nine months, also won an individual award and The Best of the Best Environmental Award. Congratulations to Logan County!
Congratulations to Oklahoma County for receiving the Government Programs Municipality award for their SHINE program (Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere). This program was created by Oklahoma County Commissioner, Brian Maughan and allows low level offenders, supervised by crews, to perform community service that makes Oklahoma county neighborhoods and business districts safer, cleaner and better for everyone. This program reduces the jail population by 80 inmates a day and saved 1.5 million in the first year of operation. Congratulations to Oklahoma County on your award.
Congratulations to the City of Edmond for being named a finalist for this award. The City Parks and Recreation Department of Edmond, Community Image Office and Freese and Nichol’s landscape architecture team worked with residents and the business community to develop a master plan for a 3.1 acre area. The plan preserved the history of the neighborhood while enhancing the beauty, appeal and usefulness for Edmond residents.
Congratulations to The City of Norman for also being named a finalist in this category. The City of Norman has worked for over thirteen years to accomplish many actionable items to make Norman a more sustainable city. The City of Norman is also the first municipality in the State of Oklahoma to formally adopt the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement. They also the first city in the United States to have a “Waters Worth It” proclamation.
Francis Solar received the Vanguard award. Francis Solar’s core mission is enabling customers to lower their energy bills, as well as their carbon footprint using technologies such as solar plus battery storage and demand reduction technologies, such as geothermal and off-grid solutions. Congratulations to Francis Solar!
Wild Horse Gardens and Market in Mustang was named a finalist in the Nonprofit Programs Service Population of 15,000 to 40,000. Wild Horse is a volunteer-run garden where membership is earned. Volunteers are welcome and eligible to take produce. Clients are provided a card that they can take to the Wild Horse Gardens and Market table at the Farmers Market. They can choose their own produce to take home at no cost. Wild Horse Gardens and Market also donates to the Mustang Senior Center Nutritional Program.
Earth Rebirth was named a finalist in the Nonprofit Program Service Population of over 40,000. Earth Rebirth is based in Norman, Oklahoma. They run a ‘Garden Your Own Growth” program and built their own aquaponics system. Their mission is to bridge the gap between our economic and environmental problems. They teach children, schools and families how to grow organic food. Congratulations to Earth Rebirth on being a finalist.
Oklahoma City Beautiful was named Affiliate of the year. Oklahoma City Beautiful participated in the Great American Cleanup holding their annual city “Litter Blitz” with multiple events held around the metro area providing supplies to groups and utilizing thousands of volunteers. They also participated in Fresh Paint Days, painting several buildings, managed thirty-two major landscape projects in partnership with the City of Oklahoma City as well as numerous other activities. This year Oklahoma City Beautiful celebrated 50 years as an organization. Congratulations on being named Affiliate of the year!
Wild About Piedmont was named a finalist in the Affiliate of the Year category. This organization has only been around a year. The executive director gathered a group of women and went to four counties in the SW corner of Oklahoma to participate in the Great American Clean up. Wild About Piedmont also works with the National Wildlife Federation as a Community Wildlife Habitat and recently gave away 300 seedling trees to help grow this wildlife area.
The Team Builders award went to the Oklahoma Tree Bank Foundation. The Safari Team Builder project began as memorial for Safari McDoulett, an outstanding community builder who served as the Public Relations Director for Oklahoma County District 2. She volunteered for dozens of nonprofits and Chambers of Commerce. One of the major projects she undertook was the revitalization of Crystal Lake in south Oklahoma City. This area was transformed from a dumping ground to a beautiful trail and recreation site. In August 2013, the Oklahoma Riverfront Redevelopment Authority and the City of Oklahoma City adopted a joint resolution to rename an area on the north shore of the lake as Safari McDoulett Point, which is now called Safari Point. Fundraising provided a decorative boulder, plaque, path, seating and landscaping elements. The partners of the Oklahoma Tree Bank Foundation include the OKC Parks Department, The City of Oklahoma City, OKC Riverfront Redevelopment, SHINE and dozens of other partners.
Karen Chapman was named Champion Volunteer at the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Environmental Excellence awards ceremony on November 30, 2018. Karen has worked with Blue Thumb since 2012 monitoring two streams in the Norman area once or twice a week. She continues to spread information about the KOB program to the Norman community.
Tom Creider was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award. He has worked for Oklahoma beautification and environmental sustainability with the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department for over 43 years. Tom obtained a grant through EPA that focused on encouraging Oklahomans to keep their lakes clean. Tom and his co-workers designed and produced anti-litter signage that was placed at more than a dozen park marinas. They also provided trash bag dispensers and free litterbags. Tom has been dedicated to Oklahoma parks. Tom has served on the Keep Oklahoma Board since 1988 and a term as president.
If your organization is interested in participating in Keep Oklahoma Beautiful funding opportunities and activities visit the KOB website at: https://www.keepoklahomabeautiful.com/programs-overview/