Ardmore took home several awards Friday night at the 28th Annual Environmental Excellence Celebration in Edmond. The Ardmore Beautification Council, Ardmore Clean Team, Michelin of North America and Kay Watson all walked away winners.
The celebration is hosted by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, a statewide nonprofit organization that strives to improve communities through beautification projects, waste reduction and litter prevention. The public nominates organizations, businesses and individuals that exemplify these efforts. From this pool, a committee narrows down to a group of finalists whose efforts display truly exceptional work. Those named winners represent the best work being done across the state.
Julie Maher, executive director of Ardmore Beautification Council, described the evening.
“We had a really good night,” Maher said. “It was wonderful to see all the people in Oklahoma who are doing good things for their community.” She then explained the awards won by Ardmore citizens.
“The Ardmore Beautification Council won the award for a nonprofit organization in communities between 15,000 people and 40,000 people,” Maher said. She said that rather than being for any particular event or program, the award reflects the combined scope of the work they have done over the years.
In addition to the award won by the organization, Kay Watson, with Ardmore Beautification Council, received recognition as Affiliate Champion for her work coordinating the mural project on Lake Murray Drive.
Maher also gave the details about the business award received by Michelin North America.
“They are a zero-waste facility,” Maher said. “That means nothing that they produce goes into a landfill.” She also pointed out that Michelin is in charge of the recycling bins at MTC Federal Credit Union.
“They work hard to make sure they are doing the right thing,” Maher said. “Being a zero-waste facility and hosting the recycling bins is a big investment for them. It costs them money to provide those services and that’s something that I don’t think many people in Ardmore know.”
Ardmore Clean Team received an award for volunteer community organization for the work they have done both with the Dash 4 Trash and the countless other hours they have spent collecting litter.
Margaret Ward, of Ardmore Clean Team, said they were thrilled to represent Ardmore at the ceremony and found inspiration in the work being done in other communities across the state. She also said that while the job of picking up litter is never finished and there is always work to be done, Ardmore Clean Team would not exist without the work of many volunteers, particularly Phillip Capshaw.
“He is amazing and we couldn’t do what we do without him,” Ward said.
Capshaw agreed that there is still litter everywhere, but many people seem to be blind to it. He wants to continue to raise awareness of the issue and said that nothing helps to do that more than getting out there to pick up trash yourself.
“There’s nothing like being physically out there, getting your hands dirty and picking up trash,” Capshaw said. “If you just do that half a dozen times, there’s a switch that flips and suddenly you’re aware.”