Keep America Beautiful Hosts 2016 National Conference in Orlando; Launches Call-to-Action to “Imagine. Inspire. Transform.”

by | Jan 27, 2016

More than 350 Community, Civic, Business Leaders and Expert Speakers to Discuss Best Practices, Innovative Strategies to Help End Littering, Improve Recycling and Beautify America’s Communities

STAMFORD, Conn. (Jan. 27, 2016) — Renowned Australian psychologists Rob Curnow and Karen Spehr, who have been working for more than 20 years on changing people’s behaviors in relation to the environment, will serve as keynote speakers at the 2016 Keep America Beautiful National Conference, which takes place Feb. 1-3 at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida.

The annual conference, Keep America Beautiful’s premier educational and networking event, will bring together more than 350 leaders from Keep America Beautiful’s national network of more than 600 state and community-based affiliates, business leaders, policymakers and other experts who will explore innovative ideas and proven strategies to help end littering, improve recycling, and beautify America’s communities.

As members of the Keep America Beautiful family and others come together with Walt Disney World as their backdrop, the organization will also launch its call-to-action for 2016: Imagine. Inspire. Transform.

Imagine:  A country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live.

Inspire: Your neighbors, friends, family, public officials, business leaders and others to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment.

Transform: The hearts, minds and behaviors of people all over America to take individual responsibility and collective action to help Keep America Beautiful.

“Our National Conference brings our powerful network of affiliate representatives together to share best practices; gain and discuss valuable insights from experts; network with other community, civic and business leaders; and to reunite with familiar faces and make new friends from across the Keep America Beautiful family,” said Jennifer Jehn, president and CEO, Keep America Beautiful. “Our network of affiliates and other partners serve urban, suburban and rural communities nationwide. The work we do instills a stronger sense of community stewardship and pride, enhancing environmental, economic and social health, and helping to fulfill a vision of a country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live.”

Keynote speakers Curnow and Spehr are world-leading authorities on how human behavior affects waste in public places. They’ve guided behavior change campaigns by targeting what people do rather than what they say in relation to littering. In their presentation, they will describe where understanding types of littering behavior — including the ‘foul-shooter,’ ‘wedger,’ ‘grinder’ and ‘undertaker’ — can help Keep America Beautiful achieve its ultimate goal to end littering in America.  The team will explore why people litter; who litters and how they do it; how social norms work to prevent littering; personal responsibility; and the power of rewards and penalties. The Keep America Beautiful National Conference will also serve as the United States launch of their book, “LITTER-OLOGY: Understanding Littering and the Secrets to Clean Public Places,” first published in Australia in 2015. A special book launch event will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 6:00 p.m. For more information about their work, visit

Additional conference sessions will focus on:

  • The growing concern around litter, blight and its cost (environmental and economic) to communities;
  • Strategies for making recycling more successful in a challenging environment;
  • How utilizing Keep America Beautiful’s proven behavior change strategies create positive lasting impacts on communities;
  • Translating how and why we measure our actions into increased economic benefit.   

Other featured speakers and sessions include:

  • Thomas McKee, owner of leadership development firm Volunteer Power, will discuss shifts in the culture of volunteerism, challenging leaders to adapt to “The New Breed of Volunteer.”
  • Tammy Kaleel, Environmental Integration Director for Walt Disney World Resort, will address the company’s international approach to creating and sustaining a culture of environmentalism.
  • Lee Huang and Daniel Miles of consulting firm Econsult Solutions, Inc., will present “Estimating the Cost of Blight in Your Community,” and reveal a new user-friendly blight calculator tool from Keep America Beautiful that will estimate costs imposed on a community by illegal dumping, graffiti, and vacant/abandoned buildings. Joe Schilling, Senior Fellow with the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, will follow by leading a strategic planning session.
  • The “End Littering” Panel, featuring experts from government, academia and affiliates, will feature Lynn M. Dyer, President of the Foodservice Packaging Institute; Alison Hammer Weingast, Marine Debris Division Deputy Chief of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Response and Restoration; Robert Benson, Senior Program Advisor, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Eliana Mozo-Reyes, PhD Candidate, University of Georgia, who will share details about current research and projects that aim to end litter.

Keep America Beautiful will conduct a special “Build & Grow” experiential education session, sponsored by Lowe’s, on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Conference attendees will construct oyster restoration mats that will be used to rebuild oyster reef habitats in suitable areas of Mosquito Lagoon, located in the Volusia County area that is part of the Canaveral National Seashore. Students from the University of Central Florida will place the mats by binding them to the estuary floor in a quilt-like pattern where free-floating oyster larvae will attach to begin to build a new reef. Lowe’s Heroes, who are employee volunteers from Lowe’s stores in the region, will serve as “project ambassadors” to make sure attendees are constructing the oyster mats correctly. There will also be staff and students from the University of Central Florida and from Sunrise Elementary School in Orlando on hand to assist with mat assembly.

The 2016 National Conference will also highlight the award-winning work of Keep America Beautiful affiliates, partnering organizations, and community leaders and volunteers from across the U.S. at the annual Keep America Beautiful National Awards ceremony the evening of Monday, Feb. 1.

The 2016 Keep America Beautiful National Conference is made possible through the support of some of America’s leading companies, including: Title Sponsor – Wrigley Company Foundation; Leadership Sponsors – Altria, Lowe’s and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company; Stewardship Sponsors – Anheuser-Busch, RAI Services Company and Recyclebank; Strategic Sponsors – Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., and the Steel Recycling Institute; and Supporting Sponsors – Foodservice Packaging Institute, Northrop Grumman, Owens-Illinois, Inc., and Publix. Scholarships are provided by Altria and Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

About Keep America Beautiful
At Keep America Beautiful, we want to ensure that beauty is our lasting signature. A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. We envision a country where every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering in America, improve recycling in America, and beautify America’s communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. To learn how you can donate or take action, visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook, or view us on YouTube.