STAMFORD, Conn. (April 1, 2022) – Keep America Beautiful® is proud to announce our next Affiliate of the Month. In this KAB initiative, we feature the great work being done in our network of 700 certified affiliates. Our Affiliate of the Month for April 2022 is Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful in Georgia.
Like our March Affiliate of the Month, Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful is being recognized for the Innovation Award they received from KAB in 2020. The Keep America Beautiful Innovation Award salutes affiliates that have created innovative partnerships and programs to further the mission of Keep America Beautiful.
Keep Dalton Whitfield Beautiful created a cost-effective and easy to implement method to create mural-inspired trash cans that decrease littering. Using litter surveys, vinyl banners, and graphic design, they created unique pieces of art affixed to trashcans that were aesthetically pleasing and caught the attention of passers-by encouraging them to put trash in the right place instead of littering. “Art CAN Inspire” took place in three different locations and each location had themed art for their cans. These locations included an outdoor performing arts park, a mixed-use historical building, and a local park and lake. It’s an ongoing partnership that needs minimal monthly work as the art only needs to be replaced with typical wear and tear.
Q&A with Keep Dalton-Whitfield Executive Director, Amy Hartline:
How long have you been the executive director of Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful?
I’ve been the executive director for just over four years now. It’s easy for me to keep track because I actually started the week of my 23rd birthday!
When did your passion for taking care of the environment begin?
I have a distinct memory from when I was in elementary school, and I spit out a piece of gum on the ground. My mother scolded me, rightfully, and educated me on how if a bird finds and eats that gum it can kill them. That was really the first moment where I understood how my actions can impact the environment and others. From there, I would do little litter pickups by myself or with one or two friends. As I’ve worked in the field, I’ve only grown more passionate. My focus really is on the people and animals that live in that environment and what is best for them. Our beautification efforts help the animals with their habitat and help people’s emotional and physical health. Our litter prevention work creates a safer environment for wildlife and the community. And our sustainability and waste prevention goals aim to create a better community for our future residents.
Tell us about your staff at Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful.
We are a staff of one – just me, myself, and I. But we have a great and active board that helps plan, execute, and attend our events. I’m also the Recycling and Education Coordinator for our local waste authority as part of my job so I get the experience of working with co-workers and in a more traditional office environment.
As mentioned, you received a Keep America Beautiful 2020 Innovation award. Tell us more about that particular project.
So that was for our “Art Can Inspire” project that we worked on with a local Girl Scout for her Gold Award for. We picked four locations in Dalton where we wanted to prevent more litter and bring art to and then designed unique can wraps for each trash can in that location. We did a litter survey at each spot going 12 feet out from each can and then a few weeks after installation we redid the litter survey and found an over 50% decrease in litter. It was a great way to really point out to people where the trash cans were and actually encourage them to go up to them to examine the art. It also injected some personality and unique art into these spaces.
Besides that project, what are some other things you and your staff and volunteers have done that you’re exceptionally proud of?
I’m really proud of our recent sculpture project that was completed last Earth Day. We refurbished an old and out-of-use fountain of the city’s and turned it into a planter and pedestal for a 9-foot reclaimed metal sculpture by a local artist that symbolized building a bridge between different communities and areas in our town. I’m also really proud of a couple of our larger cleanup events such as Turn Up, Clean Up which was connected to our summer downtown concert series here, Trash Dash that we planned with Keep America Beautiful, and the Annual Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup where we work with many other organizations and pick up thousands of pounds of litter in a few hours. We’re also currently working on a project that I’m very passionate about called “Door to Door: Recycle More” where I am doing a contamination study of multiple curbside recycling routes in Dalton and then volunteers are hanging up these door hangers that promote recycling and clearly show that our biggest contaminants belong in the trash.
The 2022 Great American Cleanup has just begun. What else are you working on in 2022?
We actually just helped with our first cleanup for GAC this Monday so we are excited about doing some cleanup work, but we are also looking at a couple of areas in the city that we would like to focus and revitalize, but that is in its first stages right now. I’m excited to begin awarding our Yard of the Month winners which we have done for three years now, and we are working on doing a huge “Secure Your Load” campaign in partnership with the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority to help cut down on the litter that comes from unsecured cargo on vehicles this June.
Keep America Beautiful thanks Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful for their continuous hard work. We’re proud to have the staff and volunteers of Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful in the KAB family.
See the interview with Amy Hartline here:
Contact: Abby Turpin, Director of Communications
Keep America Beautiful®