Marking the event’s 19th year in Gwinnett County, Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup engages countless aspiring evnironmental stewards who help Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful (GCB) to keep its community clean, green and beautiful.

This year, the eco-focused nonprofit enticed participants with some “green for going green” – a $500 cash prize. Now that the three-month-long event has come to a close and submissions have been reviewed, GCB is proud to announce the following winners of Great American Cleanup – Gwinnett Challenge 2017:

Lanier High School: Lanier HS entered in the “Get Inspired” Category – designed to inspire others to be better environmental stewards at home, work, or school. More than 100 volunteers donated 200 hours to create flowers from plastic bottles collected at the school. The flowers were then given to cancer patients undergoing treatment who cannot have real flowers because the soil and pollen are irritants to the patients.

Friends at River Park Subdivision: Friends at River Park Subdivision entered in the “Get Engaged” Category – designed to have a direct and positive impact on the local environment. The neighborhood-based organization motivated 30 neighbors to donate 240 hours volunteering to beautify their area by picking up 900 lbs. of litter and planting 96 plants.

The overall outcome of Great American Cleanup – Gwinnett Challenge 2017 included the education and engagement of 5,201 participants in 286 community improvement projects completed over the course of just 92 days resulting in:

  • The collection of 60,640 pounds of recyclables, preventing them from entering a landfill
  • The beautification of 365 miles of roadway
  • The removal of 60,640 pounds of litter from roadsides and waterways
  • The collection of 732 books – all donated to charity
  • The creation of 30 bouquets of flowers made from plastic water bottles – all given to cancer patients

Another important component of the Great American Cleanup – Gwinnett Challenge is the “Pledge of Environmentalism.” Each year, schools and individuals make a pledge to change habits and practices at home, school, work, and play, and to be good environmental stewards by caring for the land, water, and community every day. 2017 Pledge winners were selected for the “most impactful” pledges with the inclusion of a photo as evidence that they followed through on their pledge. This year’s Pledge Challenge winners are:

Discovery High School’s Environmental Club (School Category – $200 prize) – The Club pledged not only to teach students about caring for the environment, but also to engage them to take part in litter cleanups and water-quality monitoring.

Erin Vogel (Individual Category – $100 prize) – Erin pledged to inspire others by using her creativity to craft artwork from discarded or reusable materials in order to promote both environmentalism and the arts.

“We’re very proud of the level of innovation and hard work demonstrated by this year’s participants in Great American Cleanup – Gwinnett Challenge,” said GCB Executive Director, Schelly Marlatt. “While this event takes place over the course of three months, we hope it inspires others to take action during the remaining nine months of the year. Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful offers a number of great ways to serve as an environmental steward throughout the year, from participating in a cleanup or recycling event to taking part in our Adopt-A-Road or Adopt-A-Stream programs. We also encourage others to pursue stewardship in their own ways at home, school, and work. Some ideas could include dining at farm-to-table restaurants and shopping at local farmers markets to support farms in our area, starting a compost pile or community garden for increased sustainability, beautifying their neighborhood by picking up litter and planting trees, and so much more.”

For more inspiration on ways to become an environmental steward and to learn about upcoming GCB volunteer opportunities, visit