KCNB keeps it green

Lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion has worked for the en­vi­ron­ment for al­most 30 years

The Covington News - - Local News - By Jenny Thompson

For nearly 30 years the mem­bers of Keep Cov­ing­ton/ New­ton Beau­ti­ful — a lo­cal af­fil­i­ate of Keep Ge­or­gia Beau­ti­ful and Keep Amer­ica Beau­ti­ful — have sought to “chal­lenge, mo­ti­vate and in­spire ev­ery­one to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for a clean and beau­ti­ful com­mu­nity,” as the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s motto states.

KCNB Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Con­nie Waller has served as the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s chief since 1983 and has fol­lowed other direc­tors Jackie Car­son, Martha Tay­lor and Lynn Cobb.

Waller said the main goals of the group are lit­ter pre­ven­tion, com­mu­nity beau­ti­fi­ca­tion, waste re­duc­tion and re­cy­cling.

The 12 New­ton County Neigh­bor­hood Re­cy­cling Cen­ters are the most vis­i­ble ac­com­plish­ments of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, ac­cord­ing to Waller.

“We started out with one green dump­ster at the city site off Al­covy Road,” Waller said.

In the late 1980s, KCNB launched a news­pa­per drive to kick off the new county re­cy­cling ini­tia­tive.

When the Ge­or­gia leg­is­la­ture passed the Solid Waste Man­age­ment Act in 1990 ask­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to re­duce the amount of waste in their land­fills by 20 per­cent, KCNB mem­bers pushed to open more re­cy­cling cen­ters at the ex­ist­ing garbage col­lec­tion sites around the county.

“We changed the names to Neigh­bor­hood Re­cy­cling Cen­ters,” Waller said, “be­cause we wanted to ex­press that al­though you can throw your garbage away there, you can re­cy­cle there too.”

To­day, the cen­ters ac­cept plas­tic, news­pa­per, of­fice pa­per, card­board, aluminum, tin, yard waste, paint, mo­tor oil and bulk metal waste for re­cy­cling.

Res­i­dents can weigh their re­cy­clables at the orig­i­nal re­cy­cling cen­ter on Turner Street in or­der to raise money for the non-profit of their choice such as schools, churches and other civic or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“That was one of our orig­i­nal pro­grams to en­cour­age peo­ple to re­cy­cle,” Waller said.

She added that al­though ev­ery­one in the county has ac­cess to the neigh­bor­hood re­cy­cling cen­ters, the ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams cre­ated by KCNB such as pup­pet shows, en­vi­roscape pre­sen­ta­tions and learn­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries are the most im­por­tant of the or­ga­ni­za­tions en­deav­ors.

“We want to give peo­ple a rea­son to know why th­ese is­sues are im­por­tant,” Waller said, “and what bet­ter place to do that, than in our schools”

Ev­ery year KCNB pup­peteers visit the county el­e­men­tary schools to per­form shows fea­tur­ing De­tec­tive Sey­more Green — a rac­coon ded­i­cated to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of lit­ter­ing and pol­lu­tion and spread­ing mes­sages about how to com­bat and solve en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems.

En­vi­roscape pre­sen­ta­tions use three- di­men­sional di­a­grams to demon­strate how storm wa­ter can carry pol­lu­tion, and de­scribes mea­sures in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses can take to pre­vent pre­cious wa­ter re­sources from be­com­ing con­tam­i­nated.

Learn­ing labs bring stu­dents to the New­ton County Land­fill for a two-hour ex­cur­sion where they learn what ma­te­ri­als can be re­cy­cled, how to com­post, how to dis­pose of haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als, how to make re­cy­cled pa­per, about the wa­ter cy­cle and how to pre­vent wa­ter pol­lu­tion, how a land­fill works as well as view how bot­tles and cans are re­cy­cled in New­ton County.

Through­out the year mem­bers of KCNB also plan com­mu­nity- wide beau­ti­fi­ca­tion ef­forts such as the Great Amer­i­can Clean-up — a one­day lit­ter clean-up across the county in the spring and Rivers Alive — a half-day in the fall when stu­dents join KCNB vol­un­teers to clean up around lo­cal rivers, lakes and streams.

Also in the fall mem­bers or­ga­nize the Green Get­away — a din­ner with en­ter­tain­ment to raise money for KCNB ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams and beau­ti­fi­ca­tion projects.

In Jan­uary, the Bring One for the Chip­per pro­gram al­lows res­i­dents to re­cy­cle their Christ­mas trees and re­ceive free mulch from other re­cy­cled trees.

On Earth Day, Satur­day, KCNB spon­sors ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties and school cam­pus clean-ups. In June, the or­ga­ni­za­tion awards prizes to lo­cal busi­nesses ad­her­ing to the group’s goals.

Cur­rently, KCNB mem­bers are or­ga­niz­ing events re­lat­ing to wa­ter qual­ity and con­ser­va­tion such as the Xeriscap­ing (wa­ter ef­fi­cient gar­den­ing) work­shop from 10 a.m. to 2 p. m. April 26 at the Cov­ing­ton Home De­pot.

Maddy Mar­shall, stu­dent at the Montes­sori School of Cov­ing­ton, was re­cently rec­og­nized by the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers for nam­ing KCNB’s new wa­ter mas­cot “ Dewey the Wa­ter Drop.”

Ef­forts to con­struct new and re­vamp ex­ist­ing wel­come signs along the ma­jor thor­ough­fares en­ter­ing New­ton County and to in­tro­duce a new pup­pet show are also un­der­way.

Waller said usu­ally one of the more than 60 board mem­bers rec­om­mend new mem­bers to join.

“We are not exclusive by any means,” Waller said. “We want any­one in­ter­ested to come and join our board or as a won­der­ful vol­un­teer.”

She added Earth Day pre­sented a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to vol­un­teer for one day if they could not com­mit year round but felt pas­sion­ate about pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Keep Cov­ing­ton/New­ton Beau­ti­ful or its pro­grams, visit the de­part­ments sec­tion of the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers’ Web site at www.co.new­ton.ga.us.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Com­mu­nity model: Keep Cov­ing­ton/New­ton Beau­ti­ful Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Con­nie Waller in­tro­duces BC Crow­ell, right, to a pup­pet made in his like­ness named “BC” which stands for “Be Clean” in 2006. Crow­ell was a for­mer chair­man of KCNB.

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