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  • Keep RC Beautiful Staff

Earth Month Declared a Success in Rutherford County!

Team Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority after their cleanup of Coxe Road. Members (left-right) Taylor Hardin, Don Cason, Jim Masek, Elizabeth Randall, Kayley Smith
Team Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority after their cleanup of Coxe Road. Members (left-right) Taylor Hardin, Don Cason, Jim Masek, Elizabeth Randall, Kayley Smith

Rutherford County, NC - June 4, 2024: The eighth annual Keep Rutherford County Beautiful Spring Litter Sweep brought together local citizens in a unified effort to enhance the cleanliness and beauty of our cherished county. From parks to parking lots, roadsides to trails, volunteers collaborated with our ongoing cleanup programs and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to remove litter and debris, rejuvenating our outdoor spaces for everyone to enjoy.


This year, 22 dedicated Team Leaders orchestrated the efforts, rallying over 240 volunteers to join the cause.

"We were thrilled to see a significant number of first-time leaders step up to the challenge," remarked Jenna Bailey, Executive Director of Keep Rutherford County Beautiful. "Once individuals witness the litter problem firsthand, they become passionate advocates for change."
Team First United Methodist Church on the Thermal Belt Rail Trail
Team First United Methodist Church on the Thermal Belt Rail Trail

Passionate leaders led the Spring Litter Sweep teams from various organizations, including Audrey Friedman, Team TJCA Upper Campus; Brenda Davis, Team Cleghorn Mill Road; Chele Mills, Team First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Rutherfordton; Cynthia Robbins, Team 4-H; Dayna Causby, Team Hinton Creek Rd; Garry Williams, Team FUMC Rutherfordton Youth Group; Jenna Bailey, Team Artifacturing; Jill Graudszus, Team Boy Scouts; Kaitlyn Sampson, Team Befesa Zinc Metal; Kasey Jackson, Team Foothills Board of Realtors; Kat Scala, Team Chimney Rock State Park; Madison McComas, Team TJCA Upper Campus; Miranda Parker, Team Meta; Stacy Dawkins, Team RS Central High School; and Teresa Stone, Friendship Club (FUMC Rutherfordton After School Program). We extend our gratitude to all participants and sponsors for their invaluable support.


In addition to the community-driven efforts, the NCDOT has increased its commitment in 2024, cleaning 430 SHM (shoulder highway miles) of roadways every quarter as well as an additional 339.28 SHM so far this year, ultimately removing over 50,000 lbs of litter or 25 tons of litter to date.


Keep Rutherford County Beautiful also operates a paid pickup program aimed at addressing roadside litter in areas deemed unsafe for volunteers. With $20,000 allocated from our annual $50,000 budget, this program plays a crucial role in advancing our mission of a cleaner, greener Rutherford County here in North Carolina. During this round, we invested $10,695 to clean up 70.5 miles across the county, resulting in the collection of 562 bags of litter. Despite its costliness, this initiative is instrumental in achieving our goal of a cleaner and safer environment for all.


Furthermore, Keep Rutherford County Beautiful actively engaged in events focused on both litter removal and beautification throughout the month of April. Befesa Zinc Metal hosted an Arbor Day Celebration, featuring trash cleanup and tree planting activities to enhance the local environment. R-S Central High School celebrated Earth Day by filling the flower beds at the front entrance with perennials and pollinators, sweeping the campus of litter, and making found object art.


Team R-S Central High School busy at work on Earth Day replenishing the beds with topsoil
Team R-S Central High School busy at work on Earth Day replenishing the beds with topsoil

RCTDA's leadership, staffing, and $50,000 contribution to the 2023-2024 budget have been instrumental in driving the success of these initiatives. Don Cason's dedication to instilling community pride and educating citizens has been pivotal in achieving our goals. "TDA staff are proud to participate in our bi-annual cleanup along Coxe Road. It's essential to be part of initiatives that foster community pride and enact positive change," said Don Cason, Executive Director of Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority (RCTDA) and the largest funding partner.


Looking ahead, Keep Rutherford County Beautiful is committed to expanding educational initiatives to address the root causes of pollution.


For more information, please visit our Facebook page @KeepRCNCBeautiful or email us at KeepRCNCBeautiful@RutherfordCountyNC.gov.

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