Special to The Sun

In a gathering at St. Augustine, Keep America Beautiful affiliates from throughout the state, environmental enthusiasts, and experts came together for the Keep Florida Beautiful Annual Conference. The conference serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas, strategies, and innovations aimed at addressing the pressing environmental challenges facing our fragileth environment .

This year’s conference was particularly significant as it culminated in a prestigious awards ceremony, recognizing the outstanding efforts and achievements of individuals and organizations dedicated to environmental conservation and sustainability.
Wakulla County was represented by board members Steve Cushman, Lesley Cushman, and Loyd Childree, Executive Director Tammie Nason, 4-H Community Emergency Response Team youth Caden Gruebel and Lauretta Compton, and 4-H Extension Agent Dr. Rachel Pienta.
The 4-H CERT youth developed a project with a goal of promoting community pride and anti-litter awareness. They enlisted the help of local artist, Rachell Mathis, to develop signs that would send a message and catch people’s eye by incorporating color and animals. Keep Wakulla County Beautiful partnered to assist the teens in their mission. For their concern and determination to make a difference, the group was awarded the Outstanding Partnership Award by Keep Florida Beautiful.
Keep Wakulla County Beautiful received the President’s Circle Award from Keep America Beautiful Regional Director, Mallory Coffey. The President’s Circle Award recognizes exemplary performance by certified affiliates of creating clean, green, and beautiful communities. KWCB Executive Director, Tammie Nason, was recognized by Keep Florida Beautiful for 5 years of service in her position.
The conference featured thought-provoking presentations from Esther Wagner with Keep South Carolina Beautiful discussing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, and Maggie Winchester with the Ocean Conservancy on empowering youth & businesses to stop plastic pollution in their communities.
The conference concluded with a collective commitment to action, emphasizing the need for collaboration at local, state, and national levels. Attendees pledged to implement the lessons learned during the conference in their respective communities and organizations.
The Keep Florida Beautiful Conference and Awards Ceremony served as a powerful reminder that, in the face of unprecedented environmental challenges, collective efforts and innovative solutions are essential for creating a sustainable and resilient future. KWCB was honored to be recognized and to be a part of a beautiful partnership with the youth, who are realizing that actions have consequences and they see our environment being impacted by those actions.