Litter Education for Grades K-5 Receives Unanimous Support

litter educationphoto courtesy


By Susan Russell / Executive Director, Keep Louisiana Beautiful

At a time when our national and state politics are fraught with partisan discord, it’s significant to note that there are some policies that find favor on both sides of the aisle. Such a case occurred last month, when House Bill 111, which calls for the incorporation of litter education into the K-5 curriculum, received unanimous support from the House and Senate — to a round of applause. The bill was signed into law earlier this month as Louisiana Act 72, and Governor Edwards gave it his executive approval surrounded by Keep Louisiana Beautiful representatives, Representative Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette, author of HB111), First Lady Donna Edwards and Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, all of whom have been ardent supporters of anti-litter initiatives in our state.

Much has been said about Louisiana’s dirty habit: we have a crippling litter problem that seems to be getting worse. Much time and resources have been spent bemoaning the problem, pointing well-intentioned fingers in different directions, all trying to find out exactly what the problem is here that you don’t see in many of our neighboring states. As in most complicated social problems, there is no magic bullet to apply to this issue and a multi-pronged approach from all aspects of our society will be required. While parents assume a huge responsibly to teach their children not to litter, we cannot put this squarely on the back of those that are oftentimes the biggest offenders. The problem will only be resolved when all of Louisiana embraces three core initiatives: improving infrastructure and policy to make it easier to reduce littering and increase recycling; increasing enforcement of the litter laws; and influencing behavior change through environmental education. Louisiana Act 72 will go a long way to address the latter.

Teaching environmental stewardship and litter education is the first step we can make towards changing our prevailing cultural attitude from one of environmental disregard to one of true stewardship. Litter education goes beyond simply not throwing trash on the ground– it includes full understanding of the impact of litter on the health of our wildlife, waterways, and economy. Most importantly, it focuses on prevention rather than spotty-at- best treatment.

Keep Louisiana Beautiful, its statewide network of 40 affiliates that boast a combined force of 35,000 volunteers, and all of its many partners and supporters extend a sincere thanks to Representative Stuart Bishop and the state’s top leadership body for supporting legislature that teaches our children environmental responsibility. We hope that this measure will spark a new level of commitment and care for our state and its natural resources.


Everybody’s diggin’ the scene where it’s clean and green

March 23rd, Cleanest City Contest District Level Judging in New Orleans

clean and greenIn 1958, the Louisiana Garden Club Federation began sponsoring an annual state-wide “Cleanest City Contest.” The aim of the contest is to instill civic pride in the individual citizens and thus improve the appearance of towns and cities. New Orleans falls into Category J in population with Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

You can help this Sunday, March 20th by joining the “TRASH MOB” at 2200 Lafitte Street in New Orleans from 10 a.m. until noon. Help New Orleans win the Cleanest City Challenge, details in the link:

This year our slogan is “NOLA Clean in 2016, Join the Team, Keep it Clean.” Garden Club members of New Orleans are asking citizens to mow lots; maintain green space; involve community and YOUTH; form adopt-a-block groups; clean curbs and catch basins; paint over graffiti; and involve schools, churches, and organizations to make New Orleans more beautiful. On March 23, judges will inspect the Book of Evidence and do a drive-through visit to the city. If selected, the state level judging is during the first two weeks of April. Send before and after photos or published articles of your efforts to


*Litter free approaches to city, public buildings, schools, parks, cemeteries, & Blue Star Memorial Markers, with no weeds or tall grasses growing along fences, on street signs, or in cracks in the sidewalk.

*Vacant lots mowed at least 10 feet from street & void of abandoned cars.

*Green space maintained & beautified.

*Community involved in all aspects.

FOCUS: NOLA Residents vs Litter

Form Adopt-A-Block groups, pick up litter regularly in neighborhoods.

Talk to merchants about sponsoring their blocks and activities.

Clean curb on your block and clean catch basins of leaves & debris. A few minutes cleaning the storm drains near you can make a tremendous difference in the amount of water in the street during rain events.

Involve churches, schools, businesses and organizations.

Now until April, 2016 Great American Cleanup Events
Keep New Orleans Beautiful, as part of the Keep America Beautiful, is asking organizations to host clean up events all over the city and on dates that work for you. If your group is planning a spring clean-up or Great American Cleanup event, let Keep New Orleans Beautiful know so we can help publicize! For events with NOLA Trash Mob, visit Keep New Orleans Beautiful Facebook, to see a full schedule of Sunday morning clean-ups with each week’s location.


photos by Charlie London

Sarah Bertrand from the LSU Ag Center was one of many Leader Against Litter taking part in the "Green-Up" on the Lafitte Greenway.
Sarah Bertrand from the LSU Ag Center was one of many Leaders Against Litter taking part in the “Green-Up” on the Lafitte Greenway.

Keep New Orleans Beautiful along with City and community leaders took a pledge against litter today on the Lafitte Greenway. Volunteers did a “Green-Up” by picking up trash along the Lafitte Greenway in preparation for the Cleanest City Challenge (Judging is on March 23rd!).

Leaders Against Litter invite you to take part in the Cleanest City Challenge!
Leaders Against Litter invite you to take part in the Cleanest City Challenge!

Leaders Against Litter is an annual statewide Keep Louisiana Beautiful event that invites community leaders and elected officials to “lead the way” against litter. This initiative unites leaders throughout the state to raise awareness and to make a litter-free Louisiana a priority together to take pride in and cleanup their communities, and to inspire others to volunteer.

Keep New Orleans Beautiful along with City and community leaders took a pledge against litter today on the Lafitte Greenway.
Keep New Orleans Beautiful along with City and community leaders took a pledge against litter today on the Lafitte Greenway.


Keeping New Orleans Beautiful


February Updates from Keep New Orleans Beautiful

Keep Louisiana Beautiful “Healthy Communities” Grants now open
Orleans Sierra Club presents: “Common Sense Solutions to Waste, Litter and Pollution at the City Level”
YLC Recycles seeks Volunteers for Rock n’ Roll Marathon Feb 27 & 28
Lots of Spring Litter Clean-ups!

1. Keep Louisiana Beautiful “Healthy Communities” Grants now open

The Keep Louisiana Beautiful Healthy Communities Grant Program is designed to encourage community action in the specific areas of litter abatement, waste reduction, environmental education and stewardship, training, litter enforcement, and recycling. KLB will support strong, sustainable, action-oriented programs dedicated to our mission, and which demonstrate a clear commitment to community education, volunteer engagement and behavioral change.

Applications are available to 501c3s, governmental entities, schools, universities and other civic organizations. Awards vary from $1,000 to $10,000 and are offered on a reimbursement basis. These are great grants for purchasing recycling bins. Applications for this grant must be submitted by April 7th, 2016.

2. Orleans Sierra Club presents:
“Common Sense Solutions to Waste, Litter and Pollution at the City Level”.
Max Ciolino, No Waste NOLA
Sunday, February 21
6:30 PM refreshments
7 PM to 8 PM program
Audubon Zoo Dominion Auditorium
Call 504-307-0187 for information.

3. YLC Recycles seeks Volunteers for Rock n’ Roll Marathon Feb 27 & 28
YLC Recycles needs your help for our kickoff event for 2016, which is also one of our largest – The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on February 28th! We have 4 shifts available for our volunteers to help: (1) setup shift on Saturday, February 27th and (3) shifts between 7:15AM and 5PM on February 28th. Refreshments and other perks will be given to our wonderful volunteers to enjoy the race after party. Please bring your friends because this will be all hands on deck!

RSVP below for your spot today!

Setup Shift

Sunday 7:15-11am

Sunday 10:45am-2pm

Sunday 1:45-5pm

Lots of Spring Litter Pick-ups!
If your group is planning a spring clean-up or Great American Cleanup event, let us know so we can help publicize!

NOLA Trash Mob: Has a full schedule of Sunday morning clean-ups throughout the spring. To find out each week’s location, visit their Facebook page

Leaders against Litter: On Friday morning, March 18, local leaders working against litter will gather as part of a statewide awareness event. To participate, contact

March 23: Cleanest City Contest Judging : The Garden Clubs of New Orleans have entered the statewide Cleanest City Contest again, and they are calling on New Orleanians everywhere to mow lots, maintain green space, involve community and YOUTH, form adopt-a-block groups, clean curbs and catch basins, paint over graffiti, and involve schools, churches, and organizations to make New Orleans more beautiful. Send pictures of your efforts to On March 23, judges will do a drive-through visit to the city.

Dr. Robert Datzman Helped Maintain the City’s Beauty

Dr. Datzman photo by Charlie London
Dr. Datzman
photo by Charlie London

Dr. Robert Datzman served in the U.S. Army during World War II as a Flight Surgeon. He earned his Medical Degree in Radiology from Indiana University and Medical School. He co-founded Ft. Wayne Radiology and started the first hospice team at Parkview Hospital in Ft. Wayne, IN.

His love affair with New Orleans prompted him to move here in 1979. He was a Radiologist with BBNH Radiology Group at Jo Ellen Smith Hospital for over 10 years. After his retirement, he pursued his interests in Archaeology, Genealogy, and the Civil War. He so loved the local cuisine that he visited and rated over 700 restaurants in the New Orleans area.

To help maintain the city’s beauty, he dedicated himself to a daily routine of picking up litter in the City Park/Esplanade area. This dedication made him a local celebrity. He was a member of New Orleans Radiology, the Civil War Round Table, and the World War II Museum. Published in The Times-Picayune on 5/11/2008.

Dr. Robert Datzman picked up trash all throughout City Park and Faubourg St. John.  Robert Thompson gave him free coffee for life when Robert owned Fair Grinds.   Robert sent in the photo below and added the following comment, “The photo  I sent you shows his “logs” on the table, records of everything he picked up over those years!  He claimed to have found one of every kind of paper currency except the largest one. All went into the poor box at Holy Rosary. A real special guy in my estimation.”




If you were a child in the early 1970’s, you may remember the public service announcement in the link below. The message is just as a poignant today.

Some people have a deep abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once this country.


Thank you to the great volunteers from near and far
who came out to help keep New Orleans beautiful.




article courtesy

Larie McKeever is 80 years old. Every day she dons an orange safety vest, grabs a couple of trash bags, and takes a three-mile walk along Golf Course Road in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Along the way, she makes her neighborhood more beautiful by picking up litter and garbage.

“I try to leave the house as soon as it’s light outside,” Larie told the Northwest Herald. “But if I open my door and it’s pouring down rain, I won’t walk. Then again, if it starts raining while I’m on my walk, I won’t turn back.”

Larie finds all kinds of things.

You’d be amazed at what people throw away. Some of it is pretty normal — candy wrappers, for instance — but Larie’s found driver’s licenses and credit cards, too. She turns them in, of course. She also picks up aluminum cans, which are sold for recycling (the money goes to a local food pantry).

Her walks are even good for her heart.

Larie has a condition known as aortic stenosis. One of the valves out of her heart doesn’t work quite right. But the daily exercise is great for her.

Larie’s instinct for picking up trash has been with her for years, handed down from her father.

As she and her dad walked to his work every day in Story City, Iowa, they’d pick up any litter they’d come across.

“I think about my dad a lot when I’m walking,” Larie told the Northwest Herald. “I think about how proud he would be that I’m still picking up litter, all these years later.”

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Now, years later, this particular walk started as Larie going to meet her granddaughter Kate’s middle-school bus.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had a million of her?

Because we could certainly use them. If you’re a neat freak like me, you might not want to read this next sentence.

According to Keep America Beautiful, the average mile of roadway in the United States has over 6,500 pieces of litter on it.

That’s more than one piece per foot! All together, that adds up to more than 50 billion styrofoam 44-ounce soda cups, grease-stained fast food bags, and cigarette butts mucking up our beautiful country.

Litter is more than just ugly — it can be downright dangerous.

“There’s AAA research that shows that people have accidents as a result of litter,” said Cecile Carson, senior director of affiliate development at Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit dedicated to making littering unacceptable. 

If a piece of trash flies out of the back of a pickup truck, for example, it could hit another car and cause a crash.

Of course, litter hurts the environment, too. Broken glass and bits of metal can cut people and pets. Plastic and cigarette butts end up in animals’ stomachs. And anything on the road can end up in our water supply.

“Everything leads downstream,” said Cecile.

When you really love a place, you want to keep it clean. And this can have a big effect.

Keep America Beautiful has done a lot of research on this fact, and they say the problem is mostly individual people’s behavior.

“Littered environments attract more litter,” said Mike Rosen, a senior VP at Keep America Beautiful. “So if you can decrease the amount of visible litter, you can begin to change attitudes and change behaviors.”

Before and after a cleanup. I wouldn’t want to walk down “before,” but I’d be real happy to have “after” in my neighborhood. Image used with permission from Keep America Beautiful.

Furthermore, if people see their neighbors and community members making an effort to go out and clean up, that also makes people think twice before littering.

“It personalizes it,” said Cecile. A litterer might say, “Oh, that’s the Kiwanis Club, that’s the 4-H – I’m not going to litter on those people.”

Image used with permission from Keep America Beautiful.

People like Larie — and anyone dedicated to stopping litter — deserve some recognition for keeping our country beautiful.

It’s one thing to decry litter and trash, but it’s quite another to go out and do something about it yourself. Larie’s already inspired others in her community to pick up junk as they walk too, but imagine what America’s streets would look like if everyone were as dedicated as Larie.

“I just like seeing the parks and streets cleaner,” Larie said. “I don’t like litter; I never have.