Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers and Programs

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful announced they have awarded Nicole Chandler with their President’s Award at their Annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner held November 2 at the Fred Rogers Center on the St. Vincent College campus.
            The President’s Award for Distinction in Volunteerism was developed in 2007. This annual award honors a volunteer who has demonstrated a sustained commitment and exceptional contributions to the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful mission.
            Nicole Chandler
            As the leader of Keep Royal Gardens Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, Nicole has led the cleanup and beautification of Morris Park in West Philadelphia over many years. Keep Royal Gardens Beautiful has held dozens of cleanups removing and properly disposing hundreds of tons of trash and invasive species.
            In addition, Nicole has led thousands of volunteers to create many garden areas and planted hundreds of various flowers, vegetables, and trees while generating significant in-kind donations.      
            Under Nicole’s leadership, Keep Royal Gardens Beautiful has an extensive network of volunteers and partnering organizations.  Recently, Keep Royal Gardens Beautiful has acquired permanent space at the Rose Recreation Center within Morris Park to do educational programming. Renovations are ongoing and she hopes to have school groups coming in by the beginning of the year.
            This is not the first time Nicole has been honored for her efforts.  In 2008, Ebony Magazine recognized Nicole for her commitment to her community and was a Regional Winner for Woman of the Year. 
            “Nicole is a community spark plug. She is a doer and she has truly made a difference in her community,” said Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful President Shannon Reiter.  “Nicole Chandler is a shining example of how one person can truly make a difference.”  
            Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful also honored outstanding programming work being done in their three focus areas of Prevent It, Clean It, and Keep It. The three award winners received Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Gold Shovel Award. 
            Keep Huntingdon County Beautiful  
            The Prevent It category went to Keep Huntingdon County Beautiful.  In an effort to educate local school children about the effects of illegally dumped trash, Keep Huntingdon County Beautiful designed a dump site field trip so that students can witness how the accumulation of simple litter can turn into so much more, as piles of bottles are met with appliances, old furniture, tires, and household waste.
            A simple trail is created around a chosen dump site so the students have a safe place to walk, away from the piles of waste.  Students identify and analyze the items in the dump and its potential source of pollutants, and the impacts to human health, wildlife, and recreation are discussed.
            A groundwater model is used to show that underlying geology can greatly affect how pollution travels from a dump site and can possibly contaminate surface and groundwater sources.
            Allegheny CleanWays 
            The Clean It category went to Allegheny CleanWays.  In 2010, the DumpBusters program was created in response to Pittsburgher Joe Divack’s daily efforts to rid the city of Pittsburgh of illegal dump sites. The goal was to create a small crew of volunteers that would be “on call” seven days a week, 12 months a year to clean small sites, provide expertise to communities, and respond to new dumping incidents.
            The program, started without funding and on faith that volunteers would step forward, blossomed as both volunteers and local residents began to recognize the good work being done by the crew. The DumpBusters crew now consists of 20 regular volunteers and in one year has revolutionized the affiliate’s ability to clean up dump sites and engage local people.
            To date, the DumpBuster’s have removed 55 sites and 283.55 tons of debris from Pittsburgh and tackled one of the largest cleanups in Allegheny CleanWays’ history.
            Keep Philadelphia Beautiful
            The Keep It category went to Keep Philadelphia Beautiful and their Bags to Blankets program.  Bags to Blankets is a school awareness program promoting the Bring It Back Philly plastic bag recycling initiative - a public education and outreach effort aimed at increasing awareness of the recyclability of plastic bags and wraps, and locations where they can be conveniently recycled.
            Keep Philadelphia Beautiful unites business, nonprofits, and community and government organizations around the common goal of promoting the recycling of plastic bags and wraps. Over 300 retailers in Philadelphia are now recycling plastic bags at their location.
            Running from November 2010 through February 2011, ten schools participated in the Bags to Blankets program. Students collected over 20,000 bags and participated in retailer tabling events to disseminate information to customers.
            Over 100 blankets were donated to organizations assisting families in need in the name of the partnering school including the Red Cross and St. Francis Soup Kitchen. 
            Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful affiliates and local Keep America Beautiful affiliates nominated their own volunteer of the year and these volunteers were presented with an engraved walking stick as a tribute to their efforts to keep Pennsylvania beautiful.


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