Keep Michigan Beautiful awards go to two Southwest Michigan Groups

Keep Michigan Beautiful honors South Haven Boy Scout Troop 188 for their Black River Preserve restoration work.

Keep Michigan Beautiful award to South Haven Boy Scout Troop 188On Saturday, April 18, 2015, Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group’s Bill Strong led an expedition into Black River Preserve near South Haven. The mission for Bill’s contingent of volunteers from SWMG and co-workers from Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, Van Buren Conservation District, and South Haven Boy Scout Troop 188 was to plant 200 new trees.

(For a report on the Black River Preserve restoration project and its coverage in the press, along with a brief video on the Preserve’s history, click here.)

Bill was so impressed with the way the Boy Scouts pitched in and got the work done that he nominated Troop 188 for an award from Keep Michigan Beautiful. Bill’s fellow board members at KMB agreed. Above right is a photo of the plaque the Scouts received.

Bill, left, presenting Keep Michigan Beautiful award to Bot Scout Troop 188 Scoutmaster, Pastor Jeff Dick

Bill Strong, left, presenting Keep Michigan Beautiful award to Boy Scout Troop 188 Scoutmaster, Pastor Jeff Dick

Bill is already working with Allegan Conservation District Executive Director Justin Burchett to set up a similar tree planting project for Earth Day 2016.

Keep Michigan Beautiful has served Michigan for 50 years. Volunteers work on a wide variety of projects on behalf of KMB objectives.

Keep Michigan Beautiful recognizes Kalamazoo In Bloom beautification projects

Bill also nominated Kalamazoo In Bloom for KMB’s prestigious President’s Plaque for promoting beautification and restoration projects and for encouraging the enhancement of environmental quality by beautifying public spaces in Kalamazoo and Portage.

Keep Michigan Beautiful presents award to Kalamazoo In Bloom

Left to right: Keep Michigan Beautiful board member Bill Strong, Kalamazoo in Bloom educator C.J. Bailey, Kalamazoo in Bloom Executive Director Monika Trahe, and Keep Michigan Beautiful Executive Director Henry Fischer.

Kalamazoo in Bloom planted 93,191 individual plants, 106 flower containers, and 148 flower baskets in Kalamazoo and Portage, carrying forward a tradition that KIB (formerly Kalamazoo County Flowerfest) started in 1984. KIB was formed to showcase flowers in public spaces to highlight Kalamazoo County’s thriving bedding plant industry. To celebrate its 30th year, KIB introduced a zoo of animal topiaries in flowerbeds for added appeal.

Over 300 volunteers join KIB on two separate community-planting days. Through partnerships with Michigan State University Extension and Kalamazoo Master Gardeners, volunteers knowledgeable in gardening assist local middle-school and high-school students.

At KMB’s annual awards ceremony, October 16 in Frankenmuth, Bill said the award recognizes KIB’s “30-year commitment to make the cities of Kalamazoo and Portage a spectacular showcase of flowers and plants, which is a reawakening of life, color and beauty in our communities.”