Keep Texas Beautiful!

Written by Giulia Giuffre

Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) is partnering with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to provide free supplies to any group interested in protecting their local waterways.

Keep Texas Beautiful is a nonprofit organization affiliated with Keep America Beautiful. KTB’s mission is to educate and engage Texans to take responsibility for improving their community environment. Their vision is to make Texas the cleanest, most beautiful state in the nation. KTB focuses on litter prevention, beautification and waste reduction.

In 1967, Texas was preparing for the Hemisfair and was expecting millions of tourists to visit. A nonprofit educational corporation, known as the Beautify Texas Council, was formed to beautify the state for the visitors. The Council became part of the Governor’s office and it grew to include state officials and agencies. In 1985, the Council officially became Keep Texas Beautiful, INC. and a state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. KTB has since grown to an extensive network of affiliate programs, communities and participating organizations.

Keep Texas Beautiful has over 340 affiliates. The title of affiliate is designated to qualifying cities, counties or communities that work with KTB in achieving the goal of improving their community environment. The goal of an affiliate program is to increase the interest in litter prevention, solid waste management and beautification; to enable affiliates already involved in the KTB program to fulfill their commitment; and to encourage and help affiliates apply to the Keep America Beautiful system. Affiliates also help recruit volunteers, such as students, youth groups and organizations, to participate and aid in clean up and conservation efforts.

Communities and organizations that want to become one of KTB affiliates must first submit an application. They must attend an annual KTB training session. The training session can be a local or regional training session or an annual conference. There is an annual due of $75 and a short annual report.

Keep Texas Beautiful sponsors and coordinates many educational and clean-up programs. These include Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup, The Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-Off, Illegal Dumping Education and Enforcement, The Annual KTB Conference and The Texas Waterway Cleanup Program.

The Texas Waterway Cleanup Program is a partner of KTB and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The program’s goal is to protect, improve and maintain the quality of surface water that provides the state with drinking water, recreation, agricultural irrigation and beauty through litter cleanups and education.

“Cleanups are tiring, but they are also very rewarding and fun, and they go really well,” said Marie Castagna.

Every year, KTB awards individuals and groups for their efforts to enhance their community and protect Texas’ environment. The KTB award winners for 2007 were honored in July at the KTB 40th Annual Conference in San Antonio. Some of the awards bestowed include the Ruthe Jackson Youth Leadership Awards, the Individual Leadership Awards, Sadie Ray Graff Education Leadership Awards, the O.P. Schnabel Senior Citizen Awards, the Ebby Halliday and Maurice Acers Business/ Industry Awards, the Civic Organization Leadership Awards and the Media Awards.

For more information about KTB, its programs and affiliates, call 1-800-CLEAN-TX or visit the website www.ktb.org. To find out how to participate in the Texas Waterway Cleanup Program, contact Katie Sternberg at 1-800-CLEAN-TX. For more information on making your organization an affiliate of KTB, visit the website and follow the link to the affiliate page, or contact Anne Cunic, Affiliate Services Manager.

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