(October 19, 2021) Schools in Pennsylvania can keep their school grounds litter free with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Litter Free School Zone Program. The program encourages hands-on activities to teach environmental stewardship and responsibility and can be combined with a lesson on how litter affects animals, people, water quality and economics.
The responsibilities of being a Litter Free School Zone include planning two improvement projects per school year and can include litter cleanups and beautification events, like creating and caring for pollinator and rain gardens. Results are reported to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and are added to their statewide community improvement totals, making it an opportunity to be a part of something bigger. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful provides a Litter Free School Zone sign for each participating school.
Matt Stinson, Principal of Myers Elementary School in Bellwood, is anticipating incorporating the program into activities carried out by the school’s environmental club. “I am so excited to bring all the great things from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to Bellwood. We are starting our Environmental Club this year, so this will be a great objective for them. We got our sign and we are ready to hang it up,” said Matt Stinson, Principal of Myers Elementary School in Bellwood. Stinson originally participated in the Litter Free School Zone program while working at Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Altoona.
There are currently over 90 schools participating in the program. All schools are welcome to participate – elementary school, middle school, high school, public or private.
“Campus litter sweeps are a great way for students to make a positive impact on the local environment and community. Picking up litter makes an immediate and noticeable difference. It connects us to each other and makes us feel part of something bigger. Cleanups can also be combined with other environmental lessons,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “We are all responsible for keeping our communities clean and beautiful. This program provides a fun and easy way for students to gain respect for the environment and the world around them while developing a school-wide stewardship ethic.”
Litter Free School Zone Program events can get free cleanup supplies through Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Pick Up Pennsylvania, a statewide community improvement program supporting the International Coastal Cleanup, that runs now through November 30. Registered events receive free bags and gloves through a partnership of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT and the Ocean Conservancy.
Schools interested in becoming a Litter Free School Zone should visit https://www.keeppabeautiful.org/programs/educational-resources/ or contact Stephanie Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877.772.3673.
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 148 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.