The arrival of warmer temperatures and fresh blossoms indicate spring is finally here! For many of us, it’s also a time to tidy up, get organized, and take on the household projects we put off during the winter months. Spring cleaning, as it’s often referred, extends far beyond our homes into our communities as civic groups throughout the state participate in the West Virginia Make it Shine program. These groups will pick up litter, clean along stream banks, and plant trees and flowers.
For the last 12 years, community organizations, businesses, local governments and volunteer groups from across our state have rolled up their sleeves to organize cleanup efforts in their counties. Volunteers for the Make It Shine program have cleaned up more than 836 miles along the state’s roads, 604 miles of stream banks; and collected more than 2,000 tons of litter and 34,940 tires. In addition, they have conducted recycling efforts and planted trees and flowers in their communities.
I believe this program is important to our state for a number of reasons. West Virginia is known for its natural beauty. As we continue our efforts to attract new jobs to our state, it is important to show interested business leaders, West Virginians are good stewards of environment. When we demonstrate responsibility in keeping our state clean, we show the world we are responsible, hard-working and proud of our home.
Just as important, is our ever expanding tourism industry. With four distinct and unique seasons, West Virginia welcomes visitors year round. Whether it’s to ski our majestic mountain slopes; raft on our abundant waterways; or hike our wooded trails; visitors often return to experience the natural beauty of our state.
The West Virginia Make it Shine program is a wonderful opportunity for West Virginians to become involved in their communities and I want to offer my sincere thanks to the many volunteers who offer their time each year to ensure the preservation of our state’s natural beauty. Together, we can make the Mountain State shine!
The Department of Environmental Protection’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP) program coordinates the various projects around the state, so volunteers will not be alone in their efforts. If you or your group is interested in getting involved in the West Virginia Make it Shine Program, please call 1-800-322-5530 or click HERE for more information.