Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. annually recognizes programs and activities that substantially contribute to environmental improvement, clean up, beautification, site restoration and historical preservation.
Awards are given in the following categories: City, County or State Government; Community Group; School or Youth Group; Business; and Individual.
On October 19, Keep Michigan Beautiful announced the 2012 winners. Several Oakland County projects and individuals were honored.
Dinosaur Hill and the Home Depot, Rochester
Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve created a children’s garden where children can experience hands-on gardening projects. Using a nearby underutilized park for the garden, it was paid for I large part by a grant from The Home Depot. The Home Depot volunteers also assisted in the construction of the garden. The garden is home to multiple raised beds where children can participate in all phases of gardening from starting seed to weeding, watering and , of course, harvesting! The garden also serves to educate the children about composting with a rotating compost bin. Water conservation is also illustrated by a demonstration rain barrel. The children’s garden club, the Garden Gnomes, donate some of their harvest to the local food pantry.
Waterford Beautification Committee, Waterford
The Waterford Beautification Committee in conjunction with the Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce and Waterford Township has designed, erected and landscaped the first of four gateway signs to designate entrance into the lake filled community of Waterford. The WBC started efforts over nine years ago to enhance and enrich the curb appeal of Waterford Township. The first, new gateway sign is a wonderful representation of the community welcoming travelers from the west on M-59, Highland Road, just east of Williams Lake Road. The sign emphasizes that the township is referred to as a “Lakeland Paradise.”
Team 8 B – Waldon Middle School: Class of 2012
Michigan Plaque – Youth and Schools
Science teacher Jon Gray of Waldon Middle School organized 90 eighth grade students and six other teachers to participate in an Adopt-a-Road service learning project in Orion. They filled 60 plastic bags full of trash for the 2.3 miles of roadway along Waldon Road near their school. The students tracked the amount of trash they picked up as a part of the project. Records indicate they picked up over 5000 pieces of trash, everything from cigarette butts to discarded wood pallets. The service learning project provided funds for their field trip to Waste Management’s Eagle Valley landfill and the GM Orion Plant. The students learned about reducing, reusing and recycling, plus the process of exchanging the landfill methane gas to energy.
Tollgate Children’ Garden, Novi
The children’s Garden at the MSU Tollgate Education Center is a great asset to SE Michigan. This garden is part of a community of gardens that are available to visitors at the farm. The Tollgate Children’s Garden is really a combination of many gardens, all designed to engage the interest of children in the world of plants. The Children’s Garden is composed of a pond, prairie, maze, butterfly, shade gardens and many other interesting elements. One of the most impressive aspects of the garden is that it is totally maintained and supported by many dedicated volunteers.
Michigan Plaque – Individual
In the United States, 33 states have laws against idling of vehicles when they are not in gear. Michigan is not among them. Raj Raina wanted to change that. He became involved with this project in January 2010 as a student in Novi Middle School. He noticed how many parents who came to pick up their children often left their engines running while waiting. This motivated Rah to begin a campaign to educate drivers against idling. Through his efforts a “No Idling” sign was placed on the Novi Middle School premises. The Novi Police department enacted a no-idling policy for its cars. Raj is now working with the state to get legislation passed to make Michigan a No-Idling state. Passage of such legislation will improve Michigan’s environment.
Michigan Plaque – Individual
Carolyn Morrison, a Master Gardener, has volunteered her gardening skills to work with youth in the Clarkston Community to help build raised garden boxes, arbors and patios at the Independence Township Senior Center. Most of the plantings around the Senior Center are a result of Carolyn working with Brownie Troops, Eagle Scouts and the Renaissance High School students. Sashabaw and Clarkston middle schoolers, elementary school children and seniors have also learned gardening skills from Carolyn. She not only organized the projects but is a “hands on” person as well, digging and planting with children and adults to make her community a better place to live.
City of Novi, Nine Mile Pathway
After months of ongoing work, final touches have been made on the City of Novi’s new Nine Mile Pathway Project. The six foot wide pathway is already in use by numerous residents, strolling, jogging, cycling or walking their paths. It is a new one mile connection that allows users a fully paved trail along Nine Mile Road all the way from Meadowbrook Road to Haggerty. Part of the city’s Non-motorized 2011 Master Plant, the design allowed preservation of existing vegetation, the addition of 80 native trees and provides an interesting, pleasant and barrier free walk. Residents have shown an overwhelming positive reaction to the pathway.
City of Novi, Baseline Marker
The Novi Baseline Project, proposed and executed by the Novi Historical Commission with the assistance of many others, commemorates the 1815 survey of the Michigan baseline. The marker is located in Novi’s ITC Sports Park and is a blend of many elements. The marker and paver area celebrate the history of Michigan and the Novi community. The marker itself is part of a broader art installation located in several communities along Eight Mile Road, the Michigan Baseline. The area also includes a garden and seating area which invites visitors to linger, enjoy and appreciate the significance of all parts of the instillation.
City of Southfield, Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve
The 42 acre Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve provides a peaceful sanctuary for visitors who are rewarded with an interactive nature experience along beautiful woodland trails. Interpretive signs showcase the park’s natural features and a fishing platform overlooks the five acre lake. Lake restoration created underwater fish habitat and shoreline wetlands for waterfowl. The reconstructed dam retains up to two feet of water across the surface for storm water management. Rainwater drains through the surface of the porous parking lot to a rock layer below, preventing run-off damage. The Preserve was funded with $1,530,000.00 in grants from the EPA and the Michigan DNR.
To learn more about Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. please visit www.keepmichiganbeautiful.org.