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POSTED: January 29, 2013 6:00 p.m.
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Volunteers from Georgia Power Company recently planted perennials in Memorial Garden for Eric Leach. Keep Liberty Beautiful has set a goal of creating 30 community gardens during 2013.

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This year is the 30th anniversary for Keep Liberty Beautiful. KLB is a county program, but is also affiliated with Keep Georgia Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful, which is one of the most successful environmental programs in America.
Let me just thank the people who, in 1983, had a vision for how important a program like this could be for our county. I also thank county leaders who continue to support this program. We need an attractive and healthy environment for our community to grow, and I am glad that we have leaders who value that.
I also am very aware that a program like Keep Liberty Beautiful cannot survive for 30 years without community support. Special thanks should be extended every day to those who continue to come out and pick up litter, recycle, educate and work on beautification efforts in our county. We now have more than 3,800 volunteers who give their time each year to take care of our environment and improve this community that we call home. Thanks to each of you — individuals, businesses, schools, churches, organizations and municipalities — who partner with us to make things happen. That really is what this program is all about.
I would be remiss if I did not give special recognition to our current advisory board, as well as to all past board members who served in different capacities for this program. No one knows like I do how much time these people give. I am so fortunate that the board members I work with have a passion for what we do. They willingly share their special talents to make Liberty County the best that it can be.
This year, we want all of you to “think 30!” One of our goals to honor our 30th year is to create at least 30 community gardens in honor of all past and present volunteers.  Our “30 for 30” effort might seem a little overwhelming, but we know this community and the host of willing partners who can make this happen.
What is a community garden?  It can be a garden project at a school, or a demonstration rain garden that helps our environment, or a butterfly garden that creates beauty and enjoyment. It also can be a vegetable garden in a neighborhood or an apartment complex, or a flower garden in front of a business or in an employees’ break area. It could be a green spot to welcome those entering a local community, or a little pocket park created on a vacant lot.
It can be a garden created to remember someone we have lost, like the one we worked on Monday as an MLK service project with local Georgia Power Company volunteers.  
So we invite you to join us in creating these green spots. The Liberty County 4-H program is partnering with Keep Liberty Beautiful to help volunteers as we plan, prepare and plant these gardens. Community gardens create opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education as well as affording us spots of beauty and, sometimes, even food. These gardens also can provide the chance for intergenerational and cross-cultural connections.
All gardens participating in the Think 30 campaign will have a recognition plaque noting the volunteers who planted it. For more information, call 880-4888 or 876-2133 or email klcb@coastalnow.net or kaseyb@uga.edu.

Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

 

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