Today’s blog comes from our Director of Development & Marketing, Morgan Justice Black, who along with another member of the ILACSD team, are in Washington DC this week for the Keep America Beautiful conference.
Hello from a chilly Washington, D.C. Even though it may only be 25 degrees outside, we are having a great time at the Keep America Beautiful National Conference learning more about how affiliates throughout the US create vibrant communities through community beautification, litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling! We made it to D.C., despite blizzard warnings and having to sprint through the Philadelphia airport to make our connection. And once we arrived…it was snowing! Quite a change for the two of us, both born and raised in San Diego! Well, the conference kicked off with a keynote address from Peter Kageyama, the man who has written two books about loving your city. How perfect, since we have a little fondness for the word “love” too! He spoke about the importance of gathering people together to interact casually in the outdoors. Can you guess where the most social place probably is in your city? The dog park!
Last night was the awards dinner, and I have to say that ILACSD certainly cleaned up! We were up and down accepting three…yep…three first place awards! And we have the pictures to prove it!
Our awards included first place for our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, a program that we implement in San Diego in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation’s Hold onto your Butts program. Over the last five years, we’ve installed and maintained more than 100 ash receptacles in San Diego, helping make a dent in the amount of cigarette butts picked up during cleanups! In fact, in the areas that we’ve done this program, cigarette litter has decreased by an average 64%! This was a well deserved award for Natalie and her team in the Community Events Department!
Next, ILACSD was the recipient of a storytelling award, and this is the first year that this award category has been offered! Keep America Beautiful judges sifted through dozens of promotional materials, media articles, social media messages and more to identify five affiliates who are doing best at telling their story of building better communities. This is a true team win for us, as every member of the ILACSD team is involved in writing blogs and contributing to our social media!
The most exciting part of last night was the final awards category, the National Affiliate Awards. ILACSD was honored to receive First Place and awarded “Affiliate of the Year”. The plaque might not fit in our suitcases, but it will make it back to San Diego eventually! This award is truly an honor, since ILACSD has been an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful since the 1970’s. In fact, at breakfast today a man came up to me and told me how proud I should be to be part of I Love A Clean San Diego because we were (and still are) a pioneer in the environmental movement! Back in the 1970’s, there were less than 50 KAB affiliates nationally, and we were the only one in California. Now there are more than 600 affiliates, and although I am biased, I have to say that we are one of the best!
So cheers from Washington, DC and thanks to all of our supporters for being part of our success!
Now it’s time for a nap…this three hour time difference is killer when the conference starts at 8am local time!