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Keep Suffolk Beautiful receives award

Keep Suffolk Beautiful recently received an award for its Volunteer Engagement and Litter Prevention Program from the Virginia Recycling Association.

Each year, the VRA recognizes top recyclers and recycling programs in the Commonwealth through its annual awards program. Nominations are sought from the public and private sector to recognize programs and projects that make outstanding contributions to expanding and strengthening recycling and waste prevention.

In Fiscal Year 2017, with the hard work of hundreds of volunteers, Keep Suffolk Beautiful coordinated the collection of 1,581 bags of litter, totaling about 39,525 pounds. Keep Suffolk Beautiful achieved this through various adopt programs, community cleanups and special events. To grow the programs and increase participation at events, the organization focused on public outreach and education. Keep Suffolk Beautiful partnered with other organizations such as the Virginia Master Naturalists, Izaak Walton League, Suffolk Public Library, Suffolk Public Schools, Suffolk Parks & Recreation, Suffolk Police and Suffolk Fire & Rescue.

Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 73, which routinely clean up Lake Meade Park

Keep Suffolk Beautiful used the city’s social media platforms to post relevant content on Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor. They also created their own contact database from people who signed up at events to keep them informed of programs and events.

“We can’t thank enough the hundreds of volunteers who made this happen,” said Kathy Russell, chairperson for Keep Suffolk Beautiful. “There is a great willingness from the people in Suffolk to volunteer and give back to the community. I would like to say a special thank you to all of our adopt groups who have adopted a street or a park and continue to take care of these areas. We are a big city and with everyone pitching in, we can make a real difference to the amount of litter that accumulates. A cleaner city is beneficial to everyone.”

Keep Suffolk Beautiful has published an online map which shows the many groups who are involved in the adopt programs. You can find the map on the Litter Control page on the City website. The map is interactive, allowing users to click on a street or a public area to find out which group has adopted it.

An Adopt-THIS-Street sign to encourage adoption

“We want to do more to recognize the volunteers and are in the process of adding pictures to the map of each adopt group,” said Wayne Jones, litter control coordinator. “We have also highlighted some streets as suggestions for anyone interested in joining the program.”

In addition to highlighting suggested streets on the interactive map, the City of Suffolk Litter Control Office has installed signage on some of these streets to encourage adoption. Any person, group or organization who adopts a street or spot will receive a sign with their name on it. Recognition signage is installed after three cleanups are performed. Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 73 recently earned their Adopt-a-Spot sign for cleaning up Lake Meade Park. Jones visited the park on a wet Saturday morning to thank the troop for their adoption.

“The group was excited to see their newly installed sign and eager to get busy cleaning up the park,” Jones said. “They also found time to clean up the Holly Lawn Cemetery next to the park. The troop and their leaders do an amazing job in helping to keep this very popular park clean for everyone to enjoy.”

You can follow Keep Suffolk Beautiful on Facebook at facebook.com/keepsuffolkbeautiful. If anyone is interested in joining the Adopt Program, contact Suffolk Litter Control at littercontrol@suffolkva.us or 514-7604.