After the Keep Delaware County Beautiful Awards were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, several community members, businesses, schools and groups received recognition at the end of 2021 through the KDCB awards, including:
• The Recycling Award, which recognizes an outstanding effort or action that contributes significantly toward the success of recycling in Delaware County, went to Genoa Township.
The township received a grant to get low-cost recycling carts for households participating in recycling with Rumpke’s curbside service. In addition, the township offers a yard waste drop-off and evergreen recycling event at the township parks in the fall.
• The Business Award recognized Alpha Waste for added a recycling service in Ostrander at no additional cost to residents.
• The Environmental Educator Award went to Olentangy Berlin High School teacher Sarah Nethero who started and manages the Environmental Club at the school, where she introduces students to different topics about natural resources, sustainability, and conservation with special guest speakers and projects. Nethero was the driving force to have a native plant garden installed on school property. Acquiring plants and mulch from businesses in the area, she was able to create important pollinator and wildlife habitat, and a place for students to learn even more about the world around them.
• The Community Stewardship Award, which recognizes individuals and groups for their effort in improving the environment of their neighborhood or community, went to Denny Devine.
Devine has managed natural resources programs and helped manage the grounds at Camp Lazarus for many years. He organizes the canoes and leads the maple syrup season work.
• The Litter Prevention Award recognized Performance Columbus Impact 60 who gives back to their community once a month for 60 minutes. The group picked up litter every Saturday morning following Main Street Delaware’s First Friday events. The group cleaned up for five months in order to beautify downtown Delaware by picking up excess litter that may have been produced during First Friday events.
• The Garrison-Brown Award is named after Charlotte Garrison and Janet Brown who came together to form 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, this award recognized a local community member Joe Okuley. In 2020, Okuley took it upon himself to clean up over 30 tires along Alum Creek near his home. In that same cleanup, he also loaded two 30-gallon garbage cans of recyclables, three full bags of trash, and various other pieces of refuse.
• The Environmental Youth Leadership Award recognized Gary Weckerly who earned his Eagle Scout rank by creating a pollinator garden at Compassion Christian Church in Delaware. Weckerly directed 24 volunteers and received donations of supplies for the garden.
Led by the Delaware Public 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.