Many cities all over the U.S. encourage community participation in beautifying their environments with special awards programs.
San Francisco Beautiful’s awards program is a great example. Since the early 1970s, the Beautification Awards have recognized individuals, organizations, community groups, and businesses that improve the quality of life in San Francisco. Nominated projects have improved the City’s physical environment and have enriched the life of the community. To be eligible for the award, projects must be located in San Francisco and be visually or physically accessible to the general public.
The Alvord Lake Gardening Work Party is a prime example. Alvord Lake, located at one of the entrances to Golden Gate Park, was created in 1801 but fell into disrepair. “It has been lovingly taken under the wing of the Alvord Lake Gardening Party, which meets every fourth Saturday to plant, weed, trim, pick up litter, and sweep.”
The New Hampshire Arborists Association gives awards that include tree planting. This project shows Gov. John Lynch celebrating Earth Day with Association members and children from the Boys & Girls Club, planting a native tree, a red maple, at the Governor’s official residence. The tree was a gift to the State of New Hampshire donated by the New Hampshire Arborists Association.
An award winner in Bend, OR includes a 95-year-old train depot station that was meticulously restored into a popular restaurant. This photo shows the “before” of this 2007 winner. The awards program is managed by Bend’s Arts, Beautification, and Culture Commission.
Here’s how the city of Ferndale, MI, goes about encouraging community participation in making the environment more beautiful:
“Have you ever wondered how you get a beautification award? How a neighborhood is selected for a block award, or who determines who gets a holiday lighting award? It’s easy. You decide. You simply nominate a friend or neighbor for an award and the Beautification Commission does the rest!”
For community beautification programs in your area, contact your local chamber of commerce – a likely source of information. Other possibilities for starting or participating in community projects include your local gardening and horticulture associations and community action groups.
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