Keep America Beautiful — a community improvement nonprofit organization — recently presented Keep Starkville Beautiful with its William “Bill” Nash Award at the organization’s national awards ceremony.

The ceremony took place during its recent National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, which also saw Keep Starkville Beautiful honored with the 2018 President’s Circle Recognition award. The honor marked the first time the local organization has won the award.

Amy Counterman

Keep Starkville Beautiful Executive Director Amy Counterman with the The William Nash Award presented to the organization by Keep America Beautiful (Submitted photo)

The William Nash Award recognizes a new Keep America Beautiful affiliate, which has completed affiliation within the last three years, for its outstanding achievement in implementing the Keep America Beautiful Behavior Change System in their community.

Keep Starkville Beautiful was nominated for the award by Keep Mississippi Beautiful (KMB and is one of nearly 50 Keep America Beautiful affiliates in Mississippi. It’s also one of four affiliates in Mississippi which has received the William Nash Award this decade, with Keep Canton Beautiful, Keep Ridgeland Beautiful and Keep the Rez Beautiful receiving the award in 2018, 2016 and 2013, respectively.

“While a young organization, KSB has significantly grown its partnerships and support in the community. They are rallying volunteers to energize community improvement across the state,” said Keep Mississippi Beautiful Executive Director Sarah Kountouris.

Keep Starkville Beautiful launched in 2017 and has made significant investments to end littering, beautify public spaces, and improve recycling, according to the organization’s Executive Director Amy Counterman.

“[Keep Starkville Beautiful] has organized and partnered on multiple beautification and litter cleanup efforts,” she said.  Keep Starkville Beautiful has worked to revamp two city parks and enhance recycling options in public spaces.”

She then said as part of its recycling efforts, Keep Starkville Beautiful received a Keurig Dr Pepper/Keep America Beautiful Park Recycling Bin Grant Program award resulting in the placement of 30 recycling bins placed in parks throughout the city. What’s more, the organization has worked with the school districts to coordinate recycling efforts with ongoing recycling opportunities available in the area.

“Keep Starkville Beautiful is leveraging resources from local volunteers and partnering with its municipal leaders and the private sector to get things done,” said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Helen Lowman. “This is a model new affiliate, and one that is very deserving of receiving this year’s Bill Nash Award.”

STARKVILLE COMMUNITY CHURCH HONORED

A partnership between Keep Starkville Beautiful and a local church has paid dividends for the community and recently saw Starkville Community Church honored for its role in beautifying the city.

COUNTERMAN AND HORAN

Keep Starkville Beautiful Executive Director Amy Counterman (left) and Starkville Community Church Pastor Joseph Horan after the church was presented with a partnership award for Civic Organizations. (Submitted photo)

Keep Mississippi Beautiful awarded the Starkville Community Church with a partnership award for Civic Organizations.  

Counterman said Keep Starkville Beautiful nominated this motivated community group that serves the greater Starkville community through their faith in action days they hold regularly throughout the calendar year.  

In a partnership with Keep Starkville Beautiful, the church has assisted with multiple park improvement projects.  

Counterman plans and coordinates these improvement projects and enjoys working directly with church pastor Joseph Horan to help direct the participants who often help prepare days before the events and always show up with tools and a smile on their faces, happy to assist in any way possible.  

“The Moncreif Park Cleanup April 29, 2018 would never have been such a success without the assistance of these dedicated volunteers,” Counterman said. “They provided a place to stage materials, transportation of materials, trained individuals with power tools and landscape experience, as well as a well organized community cookout following the cleanup.”

Counterman said two separate cleanup efforts at George Evans Park were also a success thanks to the members of Starkville Community Church.  

“These helpful volunteers again showed up with their own tools and assisted by building a community garden bed at this often overlooked park,” she said. “A few skilled artists and many kid artists helped to paint fun games on a paved play area, and many other church members helped collect litter and plant many flowering plants and shrubs.”

She then said Moncrief Park has experienced a real transformation throughout 2018 that was started with Starkville Community Church's adoption of the park space.  

The cleanup efforts in Moncrief focused on beautiying the space near the most used portion of this park, the dog park area.  

“This helped to increase usage and improved user experiences,” Counterman said. “The erosion control efforts were successful, preventing silt from contaminating the downslope pool during the summer swim season.:

She also pointed to further improvements that have been made at Moncrief by the city’s parks department, including new play equipment, new surfacing material, pool screening improvements, road improvements and dog park improvements are planed for 2019.  

“George Evans park experienced an unrecognizable transformation thanks to the cleanup and improvement efforts from phases I and II,” Counterman said.  “This park now has a beautiful entrance plaza, better working equipment, and is utilized more by neighborhood residents.

“Starkville Community Church makes consistent efforts to cleanup and beautify the city of Starkville,” she added. “Their partnership with Keep Starkville Beautiful for their Faith in Action Sunday efforts has been a tremendous success and made such a difference in the status of our city parks.”

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