Contributed by: Jason Cuozzo/The Firefly Group on 6/29/2009
Palm City, FL - Nearly 1,200 volunteers across Martin County hit the streets to participate in Keep Martin Beautiful's 2009 Great American Cleanup. The Great American Cleanup is the nation's largest annual community improvement program that is coordinated locally by Keep Martin Beautiful. Volunteers spent time in local parks, beaches, and roadways collecting litter and marine debris, planting flowers and trees, and removing exotic vegetation. A total of 11,785 lbs of litter and marine debris was collected throughout the duration of the cleanup.
This year's theme was Extreme Martin Makeover, because in addition to Keep Martin Beautiful's typical litter removal efforts, four community revitalization projects were also organized throughout the community. "We wanted to expand our initiatives for the Great American Cleanup to include an additional focus on beautification and revitalization in areas that are most in need," said Rhonda Irons, KMB President. "Community volunteers, local non-profits and area businesses rallied to help us complete these projects."
The non-profit Gertrude Walden Child Care Center, located at 601 SE Lake Street in East Stuart, was in need of repairs and revitalization as a result of its diminishing resources. However, nearly 100 volunteers worked to repair the leaking roof, apply a fresh coat of paint to the exterior of the building, repair the classroom floors and spruce up the landscaping around the outside of the building. Steve Hooks of Hooks Construction, one of the businesses that assisted with improvements at the Gertrude Walden Child Care Center in East Stuart, said that participating in the project was never a question, even in this tough economy. "Now more than ever we need to rally together. Donating your time and expertise is just as important as donating dollars, and is much more rewarding" Hooks said.
In addition to structural restoration improvements and beautification at the Gertrude Walden Child Care Center, other community projects include exotic vegetation removal, landscaping, and litter removal at the Rio/Jensen Beach Skate Park; landscaping, beautification, and repairs at a historic home in Golden Gate; and mural painting at the Palm City Boys & Girls Clubs.
For the Rio/Jensen Skate Park project, a team of experts from Crossroads Environmental, EarthMark Mitigation Services and Native Lands Management removed invasive exotics, cleared a pathway around the entire park perimeter as requested by local law enforcement and neighborhood watch, and professionally trimmed trees near the front of the park to promote healthy growth. Dumpsters and mulch was provided by Freedom Waste Services.
Many repairs were made to the historic home in Golden Gate by Habitat for Humanity, The Boy Scouts Troop 825, and the Golden Gate Historical Society.
Renowned local mural artist Kelly Arnold led about 90 volunteers in the painting of the mural on an exterior wall of the new Boys & Girls Club of Palm City, located at 1150 SW Martin Downs Boulevard. Kids and adults alike enjoyed transforming what was once a blank wall into an active Florida lake habitat with landscape designs, as well as paintings of land and water wildlife. Mat Churchey of the Boys & Girls Club was delighted by the finished mural. "We are extremely pleased with the work done by all of our great volunteers. We are proud to have this wonderful mural as a part of our new building here in Palm City," said Churchey.
Keep Martin Beautiful's "Extreme Martin Makeover" was chosen by Keep America Beautiful as a national "Showcase Event" for the 2009 Great American Cleanup. Jeff Sabin, Government Affairs Manager for Waste Management presented Keep Martin Beautiful with a "Waste Management Community Improvement Award."
Sponsors of Keep Martin Beautiful's Extreme Martin Makeover include: Waste Management, Lively Orthodontics, South Florida Water Management District, Wal-Mart, Guy Yudin & Foster, Hooks Construction, Florida Power and Light, Captec Engineering, Rocky's Ace Hardware, The City of Stuart, Ampersand Graphics, The Stuart News, Coast 101.3, the Heylmun, Ranieri and Quaglia families and Martin County Utilities and Solid Waste.
We are also grateful to our community partners: Hooks Construction, Ramey Rug of Stuart, City of Stuart, East Coast Lumber, Glidden Paint, Bob Johnson Painting, Code Red Roofers, Lencon Masonry, Crossroads Environmental, Native Lands Management, Freedom Waste, Waste Management, The Firefly Group, Jimmy Smith Landscaping, Boy Scout Troup #825, Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County, The Rio Civic Group, Friends of the Historic Golden Gate Community, Habitat Angels Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, Masterpiece Builders, artist Kelly Arnold and Cove Garden.
Keep Martin Beautiful, founded in 1994, is a non-profit, community organization and affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. Its mission is to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Martin County through litter prevention, promoting recycling, improving solid waste management practices, beautification and community revitalization activities and environmental stewardship education. In addition to the Great American Cleanup, KMB's other signature events include their annual Environmental Stewardship Awards Ceremony and coordination of the annual International Coastal Cleanup and Adopt-A-Road program. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.keepmartinbeautiful.org.
# # #