The Massachusetts Clean Community Awards recognize volunteers, nonprofit leaders, government leaders, businesses, and municipal partners for exceptional environmental protection and community cleanup efforts.
The 2019 Clean Community Awards were presented on May 16 in Boston. A special thank you to our emcees, WCVB news anchors Emily Riemer and Ben Simmoneau.
Our 2019 inaugural class of award winners included:
KMB Environmental Legislator of the Year: Representative Jonathan Hecht
This award recognizes a Massachusetts legislator for his or her efforts to protect or enhance the Massachusetts environment.
Rep. Hecht was recognized for his efforts that focus on creating more efficient and environmentally friendly ways of managing waste. He was a strong advocate of expanding our Bottle Bill to include many products that are not currently part of our deposit system.
Rep. Hecht has championed product stewardship legislation that shifts more of the burden and cost of dealing with electronic waste to the companies that produce and sell the products we all consume.
He was also the lead sponsor of a bill to improve municipal recycling. Rep. Hecht has filed various other bills to improve access to renewable energy, reduce emissions from cars and buses, make our streets safer for those who choose to travel around without a car, and improve air quality conditions in our schools to reduce asthma and to increase access to clean drinking water in public places. Rep. Hecht has shown himself to be a true champion of protecting the Massachusetts environment!
KMB Business Partner of the Year: Dell Technologies
This award recognizes a Massachusetts business for its efforts to partner with Keep Massachusetts Beautiful to clean up and beautify our state.
Our Business Partner of the Year award recognizes a Massachusetts business for its efforts to collaborate with Keep Massachusetts Beautiful to clean up and beautify our state.
In 2018 and 2019, more than 200 Dell employees volunteered to give the Boston Marathon route in Hopkinton and Ashland a pre-race cleanup. Dell employees also volunteer over the summer to keep other main roads in Hopkinton litter-free. They recently signed up with the Department of Transportation to adopt the on/off ramps from Route 495 in Hopkinton.
These efforts are part of Dell Technologies’ Planet Employee Resource Group. This employee-led group focuses on creating a culture that drives social impact and engages team members in educational opportunities, volunteer activities, and best business practices that advance Dell’s 2020 sustainability milestones.
Within the first year of organizing the Planet Employee Resource Group in Massachusetts, Dell volunteers collected more than one ton of trash from parks, riverbeds, and the Boston Marathon route, removed three tons of invasive plants from the Charles River, collected and recycled 4.5 tons of E-waste, and helped provide 75,792 meals by planting and harvesting vegetables and fruits at local farms. Through May 2019, Dell volunteers had collected more than 4.25 tons of trash, sponsored educational events on sustainability awareness, and collaborated with Dell’s fitness centers to collect and recycle athletic footwear.
KMB Municipal Partner of the Year: Kristin Black of the Uxbridge Board of Health
This award recognizes a municipal employee for extraordinary efforts to implement sustainable practices and clean up or protect the local environment.
Kristin has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Uxbridge townwide cleanup for the past several years. Each year attendance and community participation has grown. And with it, pride for the town has grown too.
In the months that followed the town’s first cleanup in 2016, Kristin organized a Recycling and Sustainability Forum. Today an 8-person board works to promote and improve recycling and sustainability in Uxbridge.
Kristin later secured a MassDEP grant that paid for 600 reusable lunchroom trays, 50-gallon recycling bins at each school, and composting equipment. The grant also paid for four water-refilling stations and a stipend for Green Team Coordinators at each school who oversee school-wide recycling goals.
She then landed a local planning grant and served as the town’s primary point of contact for its successful Green Community Designation application. The Town of Uxbridge was officially designated a Green Community in December 2018 and received a grant for $158,000. More recently, Kristin helped the town secure a grant for wheeled recycling carts and pay as you throw startup funds.
2019 KMB Litter Buster of the Year: Peter Walter of Falmouth
This award recognizes an individual Massachusetts volunteer for his or her efforts to prevent and/or clean up litter in their community.
Every morning, rain, shine, snow, wind, you can see Peter’s car parked in the lot at the North Falmouth end of the Shining Sea Bike Path. That is where he begins his one-man effort to keep the bike path litter-free. His bike is decked out with three recycling bins: paper, plastic, and glass. There is a sign on the back of his bike that discourages littering. His daily efforts explain in great part why the bike path is a beautiful, clean experience. The expression, “Think globally, and act locally” describes Peter’s commitment to keeping this precious resource just what it should be: pristine.
Keep Massachusetts Beautiful Chapter Leader of the Year: Pat Conaway of Keep Natick Beautiful
This award recognizes a local KMB chapter leader for outstanding achievement.
Next up is our Keep Massachusetts Beautiful Chapter Leader of the Year, which recognizes an established chapter leader for outstanding achievement. The 2019 award goes to Pat Conaway, founder and executive director of Keep Natick Beautiful!
Pat is a retired teacher who has been leading multiple community cleanups every year in Natick for more than 10 years. He frequently visits classrooms in his "Plastic Bag Man" suit, which is made out of 500 plastic bags. That’s the number of plastic bags the average American uses each year. He educates children on how to be better stewards of the earth, calling them to action. As a result of his recent visit to Wayland’s Happy Hollow School, the school district will no longer distribute plastic straws in the lunchroom.
Pat founded Natick's annual Earth Day celebration, which has become a huge community event over the past ten years. He has also led the effort to ban plastic bags and Styrofoam containers in Natick. Pat also hosts a meeting every week called "Coffee with a Purpose," which is open to everyone. He brings coffee and often arranges for a local speaker to brainstorm and educate about local environmental issues. And finally, as his nominee pointed out, he also happens to be one of the nicest, kindest people you will ever meet.
KMB Rookie Chapter of the Year: Keep Walpole Beautiful
This award recognizes a KMB chapter that launched within the past 12 months for its impact and community improvement achievements.
In 2018-19, the team at Keep Walpole Beautiful has organized two successful community litter cleanups. Their most recent cleanup in April 2019 attracted more than 300 volunteers. They also launched a program to beautify downtown Walpole and other public spaces with flower barrels and other plantings.
Keep Walpole Beautiful has built a loyal social media following and has raised funds from local businesses and residents. They are changing the culture in Walpole to one that embraces individual responsibility and cares for the local community and environment. Congratulations again to Lisa Donovan, Rebecca Joyce, and Regen Milani, the founders of Keep Walpole Beautiful!