Keep Blount Beautiful received a grant from The UPS Foundation as part of the 2019 Keep America Beautiful/UPS Community Tree and Recovery Tree Planting Grant Program
Keep Blount Beautiful (KBB), located in Alcoa, Tennessee, was awarded the grant to support its youth program called The Kids Keep Blount Beautiful, which offers community greening opportunities to local students. KBB partnered with two local schools, William Blount High School and Clayton Bradley Academy, to execute the tree planting projects. At both schools, KBB indicated it wanted to help beautify the campuses, provide education opportunities, and also give the students a sense of pride by letting them get involved.
Working alongside William Blount High School’s landscaping class, KBB planted 30 trees, including redbud, oakleaf hydrangea, fringetree, and American holly.
“We [wanted] to give the landscaping class hands-on experience with tree planting, including vital planting requirements, such as compost ratios, tree heights, [and] how to mulch properly,” said Keep Blount Beautiful Executive Director Brittney Whipple in an email.
At Clayton Bradley Academy, KBB worked with elementary and high school students to plant 21 trees, including red mulberry, pecan, redbud, fringetree, sweet crabapple, Chickasaw plum, silky dogwood, serviceberry, buttonbush, and elderberry. The high schoolers assisted the elementary students with the tree plantings during the school’s outdoor education day, called Pistol Creek Day. KBB said the trees will provide outdoor learning opportunities for the students, while supporting the surrounding ecology.
“For each of the three sections of campus, trees were selected based on education — history, biology, [and] environment — pollinator support, and edible components,” said Whipple.
In addition to working with each school to determine the right trees and their desired purpose prior to the plantings, KBB said it also plans to assist with keeping up with the growth and care of the trees.
“Since the planting, we have provided more mulch, metal identification signs, volunteers for maintenance, and answers to any questions they have regarding the health of the trees,” Whipple said.