KEEPING POLK COUNTY BEAUTIFUL

KEEPING POLK COUNTY BEAUTIFUL

WITH THE SUPPORT FROM DONORS AND VOLUNTEERS

BY LAVERNE STEVENS

The non-profit agency, Keep Polk County Beautiful (KPCB), works in partnership with Polk County Government and many sponsors to make Polk County a beautiful, ecologically sound, and special place to live. Traveling through this county is a joy to behold with beautiful natural Florida landscapes, gorgeous Florida skies, and towns that have neighborhoods neat and clean. This has been accomplished in part by the volunteer hours and support of many.

Katie Yoxall has worked for KPCB for eight years. She began as an administrative assistant, then became a program coordinator, which qualified her to become Executive Director, a position she has held for the last six years. Her scope covers all of unincorporated Polk County and some cities. Lakeland and Winter Haven have their own staff employed by their local Keep America Beautiful affiliates to accomplish this task.

“I love what I do,” said Katie. “At the end of the day, I look around and can honestly see the difference that we make here. Thanks to our wonderful volunteers, our volunteer board of directors and sponsors, we are really able to make a difference in Polk County both aesthetically and ecologically.”

Dry River Bed

A special Annual Awards Ceremony was held on December 6 to honor many groups, individuals, businesses and schools who have worked hard over the last year to “Keep Polk County Beautiful.” This event was held at Bok Tower Gardens with approximately 100 people in attendance. Russ Cannons was honored at this event as Volunteer of the Year for 2013.Over 10,000 volunteers are coordinated with business sponsors to make established programs become a reality and continue such as: Adopt-ARoad, America Recycles Day, Beautification, Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, Clean It Up to Green It Up, Community Clean-up, Community Gardens, Illegal Dumpsite Clean-up, Great American Clean-up, International Coastal Clean-up, Litter Enforcement, Litter Index Survey, Litter Trooper, Speaking Engagements/Display Events/ Educational Opportunities, and Tire Recycling.

The newly expanded recycling project, now in existence within Polk County, has been a great help. It is gratifying to residents to see the recycling bin now containing the bulk of their disposables that will not be going to the landfill. Realize that 70% of what we used to throw in the trash can is now going into the recycling project, leaving only 30% to make the trip to the county landfill.

There are so many ways we can use recyclables. Last year, Katie Yoxall ran a two-hour educational workshop at Bok Tower Gardens. The public paid to attend the class which instructed the art of making “Green Crafts.” Useful items to be reused in the home or made into gifts were the end result.

KPCB is a 501/(c)3 non-profit organization and a certified affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. Their mission statement is “To empower individuals to take greater responsibility for enhancing their community environment.”

If you would like to partner with this program, volunteer, voice a compliment or an area of concern, you can contact Katie Yoxall at kpcbeautiful@yahoo.com. or call 863-676-7019. More information is available at the web site www.keeppolkcountybeautiful.org.

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