Keep Smyrna Beautiful plans fundraising events to celebrate 40 years as a nonprofit

Two jonquils

by Juliane A. Balog

Keep Smyrna Beautiful, a local nonprofit organization and a Keep America Beautiful affiliate, celebrates its 40th anniversary as it prepares for the 15th annual Garden Tour.

On May 4, the 15th annual Garden Tour starts at Taylor-Brawner House, where attendees can enjoy a variety of beverages, food, live music, and even buy plants. This self-guided tour takes you to five local residential gardens. At each garden there will be volunteer artists painting as attendees explore and engage.

“If you’re a gardener, it could be snowing. These are dedicated people,” said Nell Robinson, a veteran KSB board member.

The goal of the Garden Tour is primarily to educate. They aim to show people how to create a sustainable garden full of native plants, pollinators and various fruits or vegetables.

KSB’s Garden Tour is the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser. It allows the nonprofit to support the Smyrna community in a variety of ways.

KSB aims to educate all people, including children. As a part of their education program, they offer recycling center tours every third Friday of the month. They offer private school field trips where they create age-appropriate tours.

All schools in Smyrna are able to apply for grants, up to $1000, which are used for environmental education and beautification.

“Schools don’t always know what’s out there. We want people to come to us and ask,” Phyllis Owens, At large Board Chair, said.

St. Benedict’s Episcopal School received a unanimous vote in favor of awarding the school a $1000 grant toward building a vegetable garden that aims toward educating students and staff about environmental awareness.

Schools in Smyrna send applications with a detailed plan stating what they aim to do with the grant. Not all schools ask for the maximum award. King Springs Elementary School asked for $550 to fill terracotta pots that were donated. Their plan is to fill the pots with native pollinators that will beautify the school.

After some discussion, the project got a vote of approval.

Another program KSB hosts is Paper Making Demonstrations to students between the ages of six and eight. A representative shows students how to recycle a used piece of paper into a new sheet of paper. The representative then shows what can and can not be recycled by explaining the recycling process in a way young students can understand.

“We’re introducing the idea that throwing things away, they have to go somewhere,” said Eloise Holland, KSB coordinator.

College students who are current Smyrna residents and high school students attending Campbell High School or Whitefield Academy who are pursuing a career in an environmental-related field can apply for a scholarship through KSB for up to $1,500.

KSB has high hopes for the 2024 Garden Tour. In 2023, the Garden Tour welcomed 290 guests and over 300 tickets were sold.

There will be no event designed to celebrate 40 years as a nonprofit organization, however KSB asks community members to donate $40 in honor of 40 years.

They will also acknowledge the milestone at the Great American Cleanup Kickoff happening on April 20, 2024.