Keep Tyler Beautiful Community Coordinator Erin Garner presented the 2022 annual report and awards at the Tyler City Council meeting Wednesday.
“We recognized that we could not achieve everything that we do without the support of our city leaders, our committed board members and our volunteers,” Garner said. “We are extremely honored to help make Tyler a more beautiful place and a place that people are proud to call home.”
The volunteer organization was founded in 1995 and has been part of the community for 28 years. It aims to make a difference by educating and encouraging citizens to actively participate in improving the city’s environmental sustainability.
The program is affiliated with Bee City USA, Keep America Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful.
Tyler was recognized with a Sustained Excellence Award and as a Gold State Affiliate by Keep Texas Beautiful.
Tyler has been a Gold State Affiliate consecutively over 17 years for its efforts in beautification, litter reduction, maintaining partnerships and educating the community through outreach, programming and events.
Only 82 out of the more than 300 affiliates received Gold Star status.
The Sustained Excellence Award was received by consistently achieving a score of 90 or above on the Governor’s Community Achievement Award application.
“Our affiliates are the backbone of our organization. We are proud to honor those going above and beyond to keep their communities clean and beautiful,” said Suzanne Kho, Keep Texas Beautiful Executive Director. “Our Gold Star Affiliates are educating and engaging community members, actively recruiting and managing volunteers, hosting cleanup and beautification events throughout their community, and so much more.”
Tyler has been a Bee City USA affiliate since 2019.
The Bee Committee meets regularly to plan events, programs and outreach efforts.
The Honey Bee Observation Hive at the Rose Garden was unveiled during the first annual Bee Day in 2021, and the second was celebrated in June 2022 with food trucks, vendors, workshops and activities for children to learn about pollinators. KTyB celebrated National Pollinator Week with trivia and a photo contest on Facebook.
“Litter abatement programs are an effort to keep Tyler streets and open spaces litter-free,” Garner said.
About 517 people volunteered during the Great Tyler Cleanup event in 2022; 113 were youth citizens — a 45.8% increase from 2021, when 237 people participated.
Volunteers removed nearly 2,300 pounds of trash from 18 locations during the event.
Over 2,000 volunteers removed 9,945 pounds of litter from 417 miles of roadway and 455 acres of greenspace through the Adopt-A-Spot program. Three college campuses, 18 parks and 37 streets have been “adopted” at the end of 2022.
Volunteers pick up nearly 4,000 pounds of litter from 116 miles of roadway through Andrews Diversified Industries contract.
Beauty and the Box is a beautification project where KTyB pairs a sponsor with a local artist to wrap traffic boxes. Since 2016, 94 boxes have been wrapped, and 12 were wrapped in 2022.
Park Service Day is another beautification effort, where 179 volunteers completed 19 projects, from littler and tree limb cleanup to installing bat racks at local baseball fields and building raised flower beds at senior centers.
More than 13,500 daffodils were planted by Parks staff and residents throughout the city through Project Daffodil, 78 trees were planted on Arbor Day, and 1,500 seedlings were handed out at the Seedling Giveaway thanks to Urban Forestry and the Tyler Tree Committee.
In another beautification effort, KTyB commissioned seven murals, two of which were completed in 2022: Golden Road Park restrooms and the Parks Administration Office retaining wall. Since 2019, KTyB has sponsored five restroom murals and four other public art murals.
The Tyler Against Graffiti program established a hotline and online reporting forum for residents. A part-time technician handles the graffiti reports and aims to remove them within 72 hours of reporting.
In 2022, 107 graffiti cases were handled in 47 locations.
In Nov. 2022, the organization partnered with Solid Waste, Ark-la-Tex Shredding and Interstate Battery to host Tyler Recycles Day in collaboration with America Recycles Day.
Staff, volunteers and youth advisory committee members collected almost 6,000 pounds of recycling material in four hours.
KTyB also created a recycled art contest, where there were 20 submissions. The contest aims to bring awareness to waste reduction and turn trash into art. There was a Christmas tree recycling event where people could drop off natural Christmas trees to be placed into ponds and other environments for habitat enrichment, and 126 people, primarily students, participated in Recycling Center tours and education events.
The organization recognized four local businesses with its Beauty and Business Awards for their effort to beautify their property and keep it litter free: Fresh by Brookshire’s, Tyler City Employee Credit Union, Zippy J’s #19 and Collins Complete Family Care.
There are 11 active high school and college students who participate with and help advise KTyB on its programming.
The organization was invited to present at the 2022 Keep Texas Beautiful Conference in Austin and spoke at two panels over its Park Service Day event and the Youth Advisory Committee. It also participated in 16 other outreach opportunities, including Boo at the Zoo, Fall Fest and the Tyler ISD Job Fair.
KTyB had 10,021.5 hours of volunteer time in 2022, a total of $300,144 monetary value in volunteer time.
“Y’all do a lot,” Mayor Don Warren said. “The Keep Tyler Beautiful Board seems to be one of the more popular boards to be on, but you gotta work.”