Keep America Beautiful announced that the Great American Cleanup, the organization’s annual campaign to clean-up and green-up thousands of communities in all 50 states, resulted in a record 48,000-plus gardens, green spaces and Xeriscapes created in 2008.
This is the first year that the organization tracked the number of gardens created. In previous years, participating organizations tracked only the number of trees, flowers, bulbs and shrubs planted.
“The impact of more than 48,000 gardens nationwide is wonderful to imagine,” said Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. “Every one of these public spaces could be providing a quiet place to reflect on nature, food for the community, a gateway for the neighborhood, an activity space for kids, or even an offset to a community’s carbon footprint. We are incredibly thankful to all the volunteers and partners who made this possible.”
The movement to create gardens in 2008 involved public-private partnerships between businesses and governments at the national, state and local levels. One such partnership involves The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, which has provided 47 grants to Keep America Beautiful affiliates to support the creation and maintenance of green spaces and community gardens since 2005. This year, ScottsMiracle-Gro also supported a national campaign to educate consumers about the importance of conserving water. Participants signed a pledge to be “Water Smart” and voted for their communities to receive a $10,000 green space grant. The winning community, Flint, Mich., will use the funds to create a gateway garden at the Flint Farmers’ Market.
“Green spaces and community gardens provide numerous benefits to our environment and neighborhoods, from protecting our water, to providing a place for relaxation and recreation,” said Rich Shank, chief environmental officer for ScottsMiracle-Gro. “We are proud to have played a part in this remarkable effort, and remain committed to building green spaces and gardens for communities to enjoy.”