Environmental Education

It Starts with Education: Learning how to ‘Keep FL Beautiful’

We’ve all seen it. Somebody driving down the road casually chucks a can or a bag from their vehicle as they drive by. Litter is scattered around town, in our public parks, along our favorite running trails, and clogs up our streams or rivers. Why do people litter? And what does it take to make them stop? These are the kind of thoughts that drive Keep Florida Beautiful and its network of more than 40 affiliates to action as the state’s leading non-profit volunteer-based organization. We’re dedicated to improving Florida through litter prevention, increased recycling and beautification efforts.
Research has been conducted by many entities to determine such things as where to place trash receptacles so that people are likely to use them. Sounds like a smart idea, right? Yet just recently, I was out on a run in one of our local parks and came across a scenic overlook where someone had left the Styrofoam container from their lunch on the ground by the bench where they sat just a mere 18” from the trash can.

So how do we change the behavior of those that don’t know or understand the harmful effects of haphazardly and improperly discarding trash? Education is one place to start, but leading by example is often more a powerful method of change.

Woman with Drive it Home Bag | Keep Florida Beautiful Blog
Keep Florida Beautiful works in conjunction with affiliates throughout the state that excel in mobilizing volunteers to remove litter and debris from roadways and waterways. They also plant trees, flowers and gardens to improve a community’s appearance. All of these actions emphasize the importance of litter prevention education and behavior change, and ultimately create and restore community pride.

Participation in programs such as the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup yield impressive statistics for our state.

  • 1,441 cleanup events in 2015
  • More than 55,000 volunteers participated throughout the state
  • Collected over 850 tons of debris, which is equivalent to more than 21 semi-trucks, in 2015

But it doesn’t stop there! Florida affiliates are gearing up as we speak for the International Coastal Cleanup Day on September 19th and continue other efforts to reach out and educate the public in hopes that one day litter becomes a thing of the past.

It is our hope that you will join forces with us and help in our litter prevention and beautification efforts either through volunteering or setting an example for youth and peers.

We all have the power to set a positive example and make a difference. Remember that bench and the discarded Styrofoam container I mentioned? Well the best part of that story is that my running buddies were the ones to spot and quickly put the container in the trash can, all the while looking at me with big smiles on their faces! Keeping Florida Beautiful!

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