Keep Delaware County Beautiful

Keep Del. Co. Beautiful Award
(L- R) Back Row: Kristen Piper of City of Delaware, Matt Huffman of Liberty Township, Mitch

Blackford of Ohio Department of Transportation District 6, Paul Wise of Genoa Township, Gail Messmer of Orange Township and Jenifer Way-Young of Keep Delaware County Beautiful.

Front Row: Katie Karacson of Buckeye Valley East Elementary, Robin Clay of Buckeye Valley East Elementary, Amy Burchinal of Glen Oak Elementary School, Donna Imel of SHARE and Jens Paglialunga, Delaware Area Career Center student.

DELAWARE, Oh. – Several community members, leaders, schools and groups received recognition at the annual Keep Delaware County Beautiful Awards that occurred Dec. 4 at Preservation Parks' Deer Haven Preserve.

The Recycling Award went to three recipients, who combined forces to bid out the waste in their three communities. Working together, Genoa, Liberty and Orange Townships jointly bid for curbside trash, yard waste and recycling services saving residents millions of dollars over the next three years. It is expected that through the ease of curbside service, recycling rates will significantly increase.

The Environmental Educator Award went Amy Burchinal, a fourth grade teacher from Glen Oak Elementary School in the Olentangy School District. Burchinal teaches inquiry-based environmental education with an emphasis in service learning. Several years ago she led a water pollution, erosion and weather study. The service project for the lesson included marking all the storm drains in the Glen Oak subdivision with "no dumping" labels. Ms. Burchinal is currently working with the school's garden club to try to reduce erosion from the school's garden plot. Her students are experimenting with how cover crops planted at the end of the gardening season can help reduce erosion and phosphorus and nitrogen runoff.

The Beautification Award went to the Ashley mosaic mural project. Last school year, as a part of the Artist in Residence program Buckeye Valley East Elementary art teacher Robin Clay enlisted artists Virginia Corwin and Lynda Elias and the staff and students of Buckeye Valley East Elementary School to design a mural for the village municipal building. Together they designed a beautiful mural of handmade tiles depicting the history of the village of Ashley.

The Community Stewardship Award, which recognizes individuals and groups for their effort in improving the environment of their neighborhood or community, went to Delaware Area Career Center South student Jens Paglialunga.

Paglialunga donated 58 saplings to the Delaware City Parkland behind Glenwood Commons. In addition, he took it upon himself to remove dead ash trees from the woods behind DACC and clear trails for people to hike.

The Business Award went to the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio (BIA). BIA contacted Keep Delaware County Beautiful and the Delaware, Knox, Marion, Morrow Solid Waste District (DKMM) last summer requesting to borrow recycling containers for the Parade of Homes. No containers existed or did the funds to purchase them. BIA offered to partially fund the purchase of recycling containers as long as they were made available for future Parades of Homes. The DKMM Solid Waste District funded the remainder of the purchase. Because of this assistance, Keep Delaware County Beautiful will be able to loan the recycling containers for other community events.

The Litter Prevention Award went to two different recipients. The first recipient was the Ohio Department of Transportation Division 6 (ODOT). ODOT pledged $50,000 to the Delaware County Sheriff's Office for income reimbursement for deputies who supervise inmates who pick up litter along state routes. The second Litter Prevention Award Winner went to Ohio Wesleyan University sorority Delta Delta Delta. Forty young women gathered on a Sunday morning in May and cleaned up 960 pounds of litter on less than two miles of roadway.

The last award was the Garrison-Brown Award, named after Charlotte Garrison and Janet Brown who by their own initiative formed a planning committee to beautify the village of Ashley. This award is given to recognize initiative and significant environmental contribution to the community. This year, the award went to Donna Imel, founder of SHARE in Delaware, which provides opportunities and means for the sharing of resources with those in need. SHARE teaches volunteers to make sleeping bags from clean, used blankets and neckties. The sleeping bags are given to organizations and are distributed to the homeless in central Ohio. Imel has worked with a range of people and taught them how to take what would have been discarded items and turn them into something useful.

The last award was a Special Recognition Award and went to Kristin Piper, Watershed Coordinator with the city of Delaware and KDCB Coalition member. Piper this year organized the first Northern Olentangy Watershed Festival, along with three waterway clean-up events and the planting of tree stakes to prevent erosion along the Delaware Reservoir.

Led by the Delaware General Health District, the Keep Delaware County Beautiful coalition provides recycling and litter prevention programs and environmental education activities to the residents and businesses of Delaware County.