STAMFORD, Conn. (October 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 October 2022 is Memphis City Beautiful in Tennessee.

Like our previous Affiliate of the Month awardees, Memphis City 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.


Q&A with Memphis City Beautiful Program Coordinator, David Burgess:

Memphis City Beautiful Program Coordinator, David Burgess

When did your passion for taking care of the environment begin?

My passion for taking care of the environment started when I was a 19 or 20 and has grown tremendously in the last four years while working at Memphis City Beautiful.

Tell us about the staff at Memphis City Beautiful.

We are a small but mighty staff of four that includes three Program Coordinators (Adriane Hall, Margaret McQuiston and David Burgess) and our Manager and Executive Director, Eldra White. We manage programs and resources pertaining to litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling and community beautification.

Memphis City Beautiful received a 2020 Keep America Beautiful Innovation award.  Tell us about that project and why it was important to complete.

The goal of the Tires to Trail Initiative was to collect, recycle and reuse 18,000 tires as the surfacing for a 2.9-mile walking/bicycle trail in T.O. Fuller State Park; which is the longest of its kind in the world. From this initiative, we hope others will learn about second stream uses for tires and we hope it shines a light on illegal tire dumping. This initiative saved tens of thousands of tires from polluting our waterways. 

The Tires to Trail Initiative was important to complete because tire dumping is pervasive. Every year, thousands of illegally dumped tires have to be cleaned up by the City of Memphis to prevent the polluting of our waterways and aquifers. This massive effort costs the City of Memphis hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions. One area impacted heavily by illegal tire dumping is the community near T.O. Fuller State Park.

We achieved and surpassed our goal by collecting approximately 26,000 tires (520,000 pounds). All tires were collected by volunteers, loaded into 53 ft. trailers and stored until all tire collections were complete. Once complete, the scrap tires were ground into crumb rubber and used in the production of the 2.9 mile porous pavement trail at T.O. Fuller Park. This was a one-time effort, but hopefully it will be duplicated in the future. 

Besides that project, what are some other things the staff and volunteers have done that Memphis City Beautiful is exceptionally proud of?

Memphis City Beautiful has done a lot to positively impact the environment in Memphis, TN. We have dozens of programs, resources and educational programming/ materials that are readily available.

Recently we have rehabbed a distressed greenhouse that had gone back to nature. It was incredibly rewarding to see a forgotten structure transformed into a potential resource for community partners and like-minded organizations. Also, we gave away 9,000 flowers during our Plant the Town Red Campaign. Citizens were excited to receive flowers to beautify communal spaces as well as their personal landscapes.

September 1st kicked off our Slam Dunk Litter League Competition. This effort is a partnership with the Memphis Grizzlies. A total of 84 teams signed on to compete for awesome prizes. Teams from different communities are engaged in a litter cleanup competition across Memphis.

In only three weeks, teams have collected over 1,300 bags of litter and over 300 tires. In just three weeks, teams have participated in 109 cleanups for a total of 176 volunteer hours. The competition will run from September 1st – October 31st 2022. We would love for the Slam Dunk Litter League Competition to motivate others to take an active role in keeping their communities clean.


Keep America Beautiful thanks David, Executive Director Eldra White, and the staff and volunteers of Memphis City Beautiful for their continuous hard work. We’re proud to have Memphis City Beautiful in the KAB family.

See the interview with David Burgess here:

Contact: Abby Turpin, Director of Communications
Keep America Beautiful®