If you’re like me, you probably don’t give the palm trees on 61st Street a second thought as you drive by them. You just accept that they are there and have always been there. But they haven’t always been there. It wasn’t until the late 1980s/early 1990s that those palm trees began to grace the 61st Street corridor between the interstate and Stewart Road. And it was all because Clean Galveston earned a Community Achievement Award that came with $100,000 to help landscape the area.
Clean Galveston has been around since 1982 when it was started to help with litter abatement and city beautification. Since then it has spent countless dollars on projects to keep Galveston as clean and beautiful as possible.
You know all of that new landscaping on Broadway? Clean Galveston was part of the committee that worked to make that possible and helped raise money to fund the local match for the project.
Ever seen a group of people out cleaning a neighborhood or city park or cemetery? Chances are those are volunteers coordinated through Clean Galveston. The office receives random calls from people coming to town for the beaches and looking for a way to do something good in the community as well. Whether it is cleaning a park or painting benches in a Little League park, Clean Galveston matches the volunteers with areas that need a little help and in the end, the entire city benefits.
All of those Adopt-A-Beach programs? Clean Galveston for 25 years has been the only Galveston coordinator for those efforts, putting some 150,000 volunteers on the beaches to clean them of trash and debris.
After enjoying a snack downtown, where do you discard your trash? Most likely it is in a trashcan provided by Clean Galveston. And next time you’re at a city bus stop, watch for a Clean Galveston trash can. The organization recently donated 26 trash cans to the city to help keep the bus stops clean and litter free.
After Hurricane Ike, Clean Galveston stepped up and helped to replace the landscaping at City Hall. They even worked with the Today Show’s Lend a Hand initiative to landscape a house that was being rebuilt as part of the program.
Behind the scenes, Clean Galveston works to educate the next generation, teaching kids about not littering and having pride in the way their community looks. During the Give Trash the Boot campaign, it was Clean Galveston that helped distribute coloring books to all Galveston schoolchildren.
Neighborhoods that coordinate cleanup days can get supplies such as trash bags from Clean Galveston. Basically anything that will help a neighborhood accomplish a cleanup project, Clean Galveston will step in and offer.
As the weather begins to cool, watch for volunteers to start making big changes in those empty circular planters scattered through downtown. They have a major tree-planting initiative planned and are just waiting for the right weather.
I’m sure they’d be interested in volunteers if you’re so inclined to get out there and help plant a tree, or clean a block. Just call the offices and I know someone will provide a good project for you.
The 25th annual Adopt a Beach cleanup is set for Sept. 24. I’ll be out there with friends as part of my month-long birthday celebration. Check out cleangalveston.org if you want to learn more and join us.
If you’re not inclined to volunteer but want to help the Clean Galveston cause just the same, watch for one of its two primary fund-raisers. The first one coming up is Walk-About, scheduled for Oct. 15. A treasure-hunt through Galveston’s downtown district, the afternoon event attracts more than 500 people downtown each fall to explore businesses and raise money to keep Galveston clean and beautiful. Then come next summer, the Back Garden Tour opens several private gardens for tours on the first weekend in June. Again, check out cleangalveston.org for information.
Clean Galveston is one of those organizations you tend to hear about but never piece together exactly everything it does in the community. But when you do stop and think back on all of the projects in its nearly 30 year history, it has been a tremendous and invaluable asset to the city of Galveston. What I’ve mentioned only touches a little of what it has done, and what it will do in the future with support of its event participants and contributors.
So keep up the good work, Clean Galveston. Nice to know the island has a dedicated group of volunteers watching out for our city.