(January 26, 2021) Each year, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, a statewide nonprofit whose vision is a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania, provides an opportunity for their affiliates to recognize the outstanding efforts of local volunteers whose dedication, commitment and exceptional contributions helped keep local programs alive during the unprecedented year of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19). The 2020 Volunteers recognized include:
Gary Smith working with Allegheny CleanWays: Smith has been involved with Allegheny CleanWays since 2007, working primarily with The Tireless Project, a riverfront cleanup program that launched a two-week Monongahela River cleanup in 2020. With Smith’s help the group successfully cleaned up more than 11,500 pounds of trash and 175 tires. Smith has also participated in riverfront cleanups, canoe and kayak cleanups, assisted with maintenance of the organization’s boat fleet, served on a board committee and assisted with dismantling and removing an abandoned boat from the riverbank. When asked why he volunteers with Allegheny Cleanways, Gary said, “I love working with Allegheny CleanWays because of their ‘if not now, then when; if not us, then who’ approach to the work that they do!”
“Gary’s ability to lead and learn while working with us is invaluable. His presence at cleanups inspires others to step up and be more involved with the work that we do,” said Hannah Hohman, Water-based Cleanup and Education Program Coordinator.
Charles Dean Hench working with Keep Perry County Beautiful: Hench joined the Juniata River Cleanup Crew in 2017 and has participated in numerous affiliate activities since, including the CHEMSweep collection for the safe disposal of unwanted or unusable pesticides that was held for Perry County agricultural businesses and pesticide applicators in December 2020. In addition to assisting the affiliate, Hench’s other conservation efforts include being an active beekeeper and providing protection for the little brown bat by working with the local scout group to install bat boxes on his property. Charles says of his experience, “I enjoy the fellowship with other volunteers having a similar goal to improve our environment.”
“Charles is always eager to share his wisdom and knowledge about the environment and wildlife with fellow volunteers. 2020 brought a wide variety of challenges that affected our community. But I can honestly say that working side by side with Charles and our dedicated group of volunteers made our continued efforts to improve our corner of the world that much easier,” said Kristie Smith, Keep Perry County Beautiful Coordinator.
“Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is indebted to our local affiliates and volunteers across the state. It’s inspiring and humbling to learn what peoplel are doing locally to improve their neighborhoods and change behavior. Without them, our programs would not be possible. To each and every KPB volunteer, thank you! Your help is essential to our work.,” said Shannon Reiter, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful President.
Award winners and their programs can be found at keeppabeautiful.org under Grants & Awards. For volunteer opportunities choose Calendar of Events.
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About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s vision is a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has worked with hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state to pick up nearly 147 million pounds of trash from Pennsylvania’s roadways, waterways, greenways, vacant lots, forestlands and other community spaces. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s core programming focuses on litter and illegal dump prevention, cleanup, community greening, and proper waste handling and sustainable practices. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful works with many partnering organizations on the state and grassroots level to accomplish our goal of a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Inc., the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.