COUNTY SEEKS TO TEAM UP WITH YOUTH, CIVIC GROUPS FOR ANTI-LITTER PROGRAM

COUNTY SEEKS TO TEAM UP WITH YOUTH, CIVIC GROUPS FOR ANTI-LITTER PROGRAM

A $15,600 community beautification grant from the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department will allow Doña Ana County to team up with local youth and civic groups for community education and clean-up operations.

Secured by Steve Givens of the Doña Ana County Grants Department, the beautification money will go toward both educational programs on the adverse effects of litter and practical programs designed to get litter picked up at an array of county sites.

All activities funded by the grant, Givens said, will be documented in a project file and the results will be compared to previous years’ activities. Critical areas of litter and litter control will be addressed, with a focus on partnerships with community groups who can help maximize the effectiveness of the grant by coordinating educational programs or amassing volunteers for actual clean-up projects.

Of the grant money, Givens said, $4,000 will go toward purchase of equipment (shovels, gloves, rakes, safety vests, etc.), $1,000 will go toward purchase of trees and shrubs around public buildings and in designated “beautification areas” in Doña Ana County, $2,500 will go toward educational materials, and $2,000 will go toward continued participation in the Keep America Beautiful campaign, of which Doña Ana County has been a participant since 1990. The rest of the money, Givens said, will go toward trash containers, publicity costs, postage and other support aspects of the program.

With two major initiatives – “Trek for Trash” and “Spring Into Action” – in the planning stages, Givens said the grant will be used to “increase pride in the county by distributing educational and promotional materials to the public, the schools and various civic and youth organizations.”

Depending on individual groups’ willingness to participate, Givens said, the goal would be to have two or three groups volunteering in each of the county’s northern, central and southern sectors. Working with groups that indicate an interest, Givens said he will work to improve the program’s objectives and to encourage groups to adopt the program on an annual basis to help encourage increased participation.

“This grant isn’t going to solve all of Doña Ana County’s litter problems, “Givens said, “but we view it as a productive start that will create public-private partnerships designed to increase awareness of the litter problems we face and to create a pool of organizations willing to help address the problem in the form of bi-annual clean-up initiatives across the county.”

For more information or to volunteer to participate in the program, contact the Doña Ana County Grants Department at (505) 647-7262.