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Spring means time for Great American Cleanup
Keep Liberty Beautiful
Keep Liberty Beautiful logo
Sarah Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

I do not care about what that groundhog predicted a few weeks ago. Spring is here for Keep Liberty Beautiful. And that means it is time for the Great American Cleanup.

The 2018 Great American Cleanup is officially kicking off next weekend in Liberty County.

Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s leading environmental education nonprofit, will launched the 20th annual Great American Cleanup this spring.

The Great American Cleanup is the country’s largest community improvement program. It kicks off each spring and engages more than 4 million volunteers in more than 20,000 communities.

In Liberty County, we participate in this national effort each year because we know how important a clean community is for our quality of life.

Across America, communities like ours will recruit volunteers to engage in litter cleanups, to beautify parks, trails and recreation areas, to clean shorelines and waterways, to reduce waste and increase recycling, and to remove litter and debris.

Strangely, litter increases in several circumstances. Periods of events, like hurricanes and ice storms, the holiday season and even economic upswings with more construction, can show evidence of increased litter.

However, we can only blame increases of litter on the negligent folks who are careless about their efforts to dispose of trash properly.

People who do not keep their trash can lids properly shut, those who use their vehicles — particularly trucks — as mobile trashcans and those lovely individuals that think the ground or streets are trashcans and just toss their litter wherever they are create trashy problems for our community.

The Great American Cleanup (GAC) is one of our efforts to fight litter where it happens. GAC is our crazy notion that we as a community clean up after ourselves.

Volunteer efforts can have a powerful effect on our community. Keep America Beautiful cleanup programs help to create communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound.

During the Great American Cleanup, the value of volunteer work across the nation averages $175 million in measurable benefits annually in Keep America Beautiful communities.

Many national sponsors, including Dow, The Glad Products Company, Lowe’s, Troy-Bilt Lawn and Garden Equipment and Waste Management, help make annual Great America Cleanup events possible. But we particularly appreciate our local partners for our local cleanups.

Many of our local cities partner with Keep Liberty Beautiful to provide appreciation picnics for volunteers after each citywide cleanup. Also, more than 100 businesses, cities, churches, civic organizations, schools and youth groups, as well as individuals, partner with Keep Liberty Beautiful each spring to make our community cleaner and more attractive each year.

These volunteer groups have a vision for our community: It should be litter-free, attractive and healthy. These Great American Cleanup activities continue to move us toward that future.

Here are some of the citywide cleanup dates we have so far. The 2018 Young Adult Liberty Leadership group will be leading a cleanup effort in the Gum Branch area on Feb. 24 and invite local Gum Branch citizens to join them.

On March 10, citywide cleanups will also be held in Riceboro, Walthourville and Allenhurst.

On March 24, the city of Midway and the East End area of the county will hold their spring cleanups for 2018.

The Citywide Cleanup Day for Hinesville will be held on April 28.

We love to partner with these cities and their volunteers at these cleanup events. A number of local groups, neighborhoods and families have already held cleanups as well.

If you cannot participate in a local citywide cleanup, we can help you schedule a neighborhood or group cleanup on a day that works for you. KLB provides all the cleanup supplies (garbage bags, safety vests, work gloves and even litter reachers), water and arrangements for cleanup locations.

As I mentioned, most of our local cities provide picnics after the cleanups for volunteers in appreciation of their efforts. We also provide official great American Cleanup t-shirts to all registered volunteers.

Picking up the litter is important, but the powerful statement that local citizens make by participating in these efforts is even more valuable. It makes it clear to other citizens that litter is not acceptable. That message will mean more to someone who litters than any "Do Not Litter" sign ever will.

These events coupled with our Adopt Liberty adopt-a-road cleanups are our most effective teaching tools to fight litter. So join us in making a statement about who we are as a community.

To register for these upcoming cleanups or to form a cleanup group in your neighborhood, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880-4888 or

Make a difference where you live and work and play. Remember those other four million national volunteers will be counting on you, too.

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