10-16 RC&D WEB

Archived Story

Local litter prevention program wins regional RC&D award

Published 3:45pm Thursday, October 10, 2013

The “N Harmony with Nature” program (NHWN), an initiative begun by the Music Preservation Society to help local events such as the W.C. Handy Festival become litter-free, was recognized in Sandestin, Fla., recently as the Southeastern Regional winner for “Outstanding Completed RC&D Project for 2012.”  The NHWN Program seeks to create a sustainable model that can be used to help local events become litter-free.

“The N Harmony with Nature project has become a very important and positive partnership between the Music Preservation Society, Inc., sponsor of the annual W.C. Handy Music Festival, and the community,” said Selwyn Jones, Chairman of the Board of the Music Preservation Society, Inc.

“We are pleased to join with other events and agencies that have a strong commitment to litter-free use of public spaces, and deeply appreciate the support of the RC&D Council. ”

Judy Keenum, Coordinator of Keep the Shoals Beautiful, commented on the team effort and cost effectiveness that makes the NHWN model work so well at events like WC Handy.

“N Harmony with Nature brought together several partnerships which worked extremely well together and reached a large audience. People of all ages and walks of life were exposed to “Litter Free” events by ensuring there were plenty of trash receptacles as well as recycling containers available at numerous public events. Both the trash and recycling bins serve as a visible educational tool to keep public spaces clean and green. Equally important, N Harmony with Nature is sustainable as the containers are user friendly and available at no charge for event planners.”

The NHWN Program has benefitted from two separate grants awarded by the Northwest Alabama Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council over the past two years. The first grant helped fund the creation of a “how-to” handbook that was distributed to city and county officials throughout northwest Alabama to help them learn how to plan and host their own litter-free events.

The second and most recent RC&D grant was used to create a promotional video for use in encouraging the litter-free event concept.

Steve Richerson of Concrete Dream Inc., an Alabama Green Business Consulting company, wrote and produced the video which can be viewed at http://youtu.be/Oi_EAjxUw7I.

“It’s great to see the Shoals Region continue to be recognized for its commitment to the environment and recycling. Major congratulations to Nancy Gonce and the Music Preservation Society and the folks at RC&D for sharing such an amazing project,” Richerson said.

The RC&D Regional Award application was submitted by the Northwest AL RC&D Council with a letter of support from Sen. Tammy Irons. Since this project won the Southeastern Regional RC&D award, which pits the most outstanding RC&D projects from nine states, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico against one another, the NHWN Program will now compete for the top RC&D project in the United States. This not only highlights the merit of what the NHWN Program is trying to do, it also substantiates that the Northwest AL RC&D Council, located in Tuscumbia, is one of the best in the country.

“Everyone at RC&D is very excited about the regional award announcement. This is like winning a conference championship in sports,” said Charlie Meek, Executive Director of the Northwest AL RC&D Council. “RC&D appreciates the strong support we receive in our service area and the diversity of quality projects that are completed each year.”

April Rogers, Education & Outreach Coordinator at SSWA Recycling, is complimentary of the role that NHWN plays in the recycling efforts of our area as well as the program’s outreach efforts to other events in northwest Alabama.

“N Harmony with Nature is a great asset to the Shoals community. They are very supportive of the W.C. Handy Festival and the recycling efforts to keep it “very green” and as litter free as possible. Not only do they provide the means for litter-free events at the Handy Fest, but they are always looking and providing a way to support additional events and programs in our area. They have done a great job in making recycling visible and important at events they participate with.”

The NHWN Program is truly a home grown, grassroots effort, and the recyclables that are collected play an important role in local industry.

According to Rachel Mansell, Education Outreach Coordinator for the City of Florence Solid Waste, Street, & Recycling Department, “Materials that are recycled get a new life. Most of the materials are sold to industries within 60 miles of the Shoals. The paper turns into toilet paper at SCA Tissue Plant and the plastic bottles are processed in Athens,” said Mansell. ” The larger effect of N Harmony with Nature is the encouragement of a cleaner, greener way of life and supporting the recycling industry.”

Echoing that sentiment, Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock stated, “The Shoals area shines as an example of an environmentally friendly community. On behalf of the citizens of Florence, we congratulate N Harmony with Nature on winning the RC&D award and commend all of the entities involved.”

If you are interested in learning more about the NHWN Program or would like to view the promotional video created by Steve Richerson, you can visit their website at www.nharmonywithnature.org.

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