Organization honors individuals and organizations working to build sustainable communities.

Press Release

Atlanta, GA, Dec. 5, 2019 – Two different Bartow County groups and one individual received awards from the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation last week at the Marriot Century Center in Atlanta. The Great Lake Allatoona Cleanup received the Litter Prevention: Non-profit/Civic Group/Community Organization First Place Award for their annual fall cleanup of Lake Allatoona, now in its 34th year.  The BLESS Coalition received Overall Community Improvement/Non-Profit/Civic Group/Community Organization Second Place Award for their Annual BLESS Weekend Event, held last April at Allatoona Resource Center.   Mike Bearden, local Wilderness Camp/Happy Hollow lakeside resident and staunch Allatoona Lake advocate, won the Man of the Year “Steve Reynolds” Award.  Keep Bartow Beautiful, sponsor of the local awardees also was recognized with the annual Governor’s Circle Recognition.  Each year, the foundation celebrates individuals, schools, corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies striving to improve Georgia’s environment.

“We’re proud of the work being done in local communities to make our state cleaner, greener, and more beautiful,” said Natalie Johnston-Russell, executive director of the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation. “The people that we’re honoring this year truly bring our mission to life.”

The annual awards ceremony recognizes outstanding efforts in the areas of litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling, community beautification, and overall community improvement. Honorees include law enforcement officers, elected officials, students, volunteers, and two executive directors.

The program also honors Georgia’s Keep America Beautiful affiliates for their comprehensive environmental impact on local communities. Since its founding in 1978, the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation’s network of affiliates has grown to encompass over 70 local programs serving 80% of the state’s population.

“We were honored this year to partner with such great organizations, and happy to submit applications for state awards on their behalf,” said Sheri Henshaw, Executive Director, Keep Bartow Beautiful.  All this year’s applications were focused on Lake Allatoona and the surrounding neighborhoods and communities that have the lake as their backyard.  We serve on the Great Lake Allatoona Planning Committee, and were aware that their efforts to eradicate lake litter were taking off into the stratosphere, becoming a year-round, very concerted effort to not only clean the lake but to advocate for it and provide greater outreach and education.  Mike Bearden, Keep Georgia Beautiful’s Man of the Year “Steve Reynolds” award winner, has been a key part of that committee, as well as promoting the history of the lake region and promoting a regional trails system he calls Parks Allatoona.  And finally, the BLESS Coalition won second place for overall Community Improvement, the amazing work they have been doing to build and expand BLESS Day, now BLESS Weekend, to  South Bartow County to provide much-needed services in conjunction with the Allatoona Resource Center.  We congratulate all the winners. 

GLAC Committee receives Keep Georgia Beautiful 2019 First Place Award in Litter Prevention:  Non-Profit/Civic Group/Community Organization on Dec. 5 in Atlanta.  Pictured are Cheryl Preheim (WXIA News host and emcee of this year’s award program), pictured with Great Lake Allatoona Cleanup Award Winners Mike Bearden, Chris Purvis (USACE), Linda Hartsfield, Aaron Feldt, Carole Miller, Keep Georgia Beautiful Board Vice President Mike Martinez, Dart Container Corp.; Dean Bourne, and Natalie Johnson-Russell, Keep Georgia Beautiful Executive Director.
Bartow County resident Mike Bearden, pictured here with his wife, Jan, received the 2019 Man of the Year “Steve Reynolds” Award for his advocacy work with Lake Allatoona and surrounding lake region.

Bartow County Administrator Peter Olson congratulates BLESS Coalition members Patrick Nelson (Board member and Redevelopment Coordinator for Bartow County Government), Bailey Beaver (Executive Director of BLESS Coalition) and Matt Warren (Board member and Engagement Pastor at Crosspoint City Church.)

The Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation Awards Luncheon is made possible by the generous support of sponsors, including The Coca-Cola Company, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia Beverage Association, Georgia Power, Georgia Pacific Foundation, American Chemistry Council, Chik-fil-A, Inc., Coca-Cola Foundation, Cox Enterprises, Dart Container Corporation, Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, and Pratt Industries.