By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation celebrates 40 years
KLB Community Beautification Karen Bell, Michelle Ricketson, Bobby Reynolds, Mary Prince.jpg
From left are: Natalie Johnston-Russell, Karen Bell, Michelle Ricketson, Bobby Reynolds, Mary Prince and Michael Power. - photo by Photo provided.

On December 6, 2018, Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation, an affiliate of the national Keep America Beautiful program, celebrated 40 years of preventing litter, reducing waste, providing water education, and beautifying public spaces across the state this week.  As part of an annual conference, more than 170 attendees gathered to attend a series of events, including a 40th birthday celebration and an awards luncheon honoring the accomplishments of local individuals and organizations in 2018.  

Keep Liberty Beautiful was among the 2018 Keep Georgia Beautiful Affiliate Award winners.  Keep Liberty Beautiful won first place for the 50,001 – 75,000 population category as one of Keep America Beautiful affiliates who prevent litter, improve their community’s waste handling practices, and preserve the natural beauty and environment at the grassroots level.  

Keep Golden Isles Beautiful with the combined efforts of 5 other coastal counties, which included Keep Liberty Beautiful won the Innovative Program Award for utilizing new, unique ideas or method; nontraditional approaches toward solving challenges; or doing things that haven’t been done before.

The Home Depot Foundation Community Improvement Project for Veterans and Liberty County won the Business / Professional Community Beautification Award, which recognizes efforts to improve, beautify, and preserve the quality of life in a community.  Efforts may include outdoor classrooms, enhancement of areas, replanting and restoration of areas and maintenance of existing areas.  Our Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and Hinesville Downtown Development Authority were very instrumental in this project.  

Karen Bell was one of the winners for the Woman Of The Year “Carolyn Crayton Award”, which honors an outstanding woman who has demonstrated lifelong leadership in raising public awareness about solid waste issues, litter prevention and/or the need for citizens to participate in activities that preserve and enhance natural resources and public lands.  This award is dedicated to a volunteer or employee who excels beyond her normal job description.  

From Liberty County Willie Cato, Sara Swida, David Sapp, Michelle Ricketson, Samuel McDuffie, Mary Prince, Karen Bell, Bryan Pyles, Avier Pyles, Bobby Reynolds, Willa Lewis, Clenton Wells, Joey Brown, and Valerie Andrews were able to attend the awards luncheon. 

“We’re proud of the strides we’ve made toward sustainability over the last 40 years,” said Natalie Johnston-Russell, executive director of the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation.  “It has been an honor welcoming members of our network to celebrate this milestone together.” 

The annual awards ceremony recognizes outstanding efforts in the areas of litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling, community beautification, and overall community improvement.  Individual awards are presented to a public works official, law enforcement officer, elected official, student, male volunteer, female volunteer, and executive director of the year.  

The program also honors Georgia’s Keep America Beautiful affiliates for their comprehensive environmental impact on the local community.  Since its inception in 1978, Georgia’s affiliate network has grown to be the nation’s largest, with 78 local programs serving 80% of the state’s population.  

“It’s exciting to consider the scale and impact of our affiliates over the last four decades,” said Michael Power, board president of the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation.  “None of it would be possible without the individuals, schools, corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies that come together to improve our communities.” 

The awards are made possible by the generous support of sponsors, including the Georgia Beverage Association, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia Power, the Georgia Pacific Foundation, American Chemistry Council, Coca-Cola Foundation, Cox Enterprises, Dart Container Corporation, Georgia Electric Membership Company, Pratt Industries, and Caraustar.  

To learn more about how to volunteer with Keep Liberty Beautiful you can contact them by phone at (912) 880-4888 or email 

Sign up for our e-newsletters