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Students: Join KDB’s 2018 Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-Off!

Hey, UNT and TWU students: Are you ready for the Big Event? Each year, students the country volunteer at the Big Event, a nationally recognized student-run day of service and make big change in their community. YOU can take part in the Big Event too, right here in Denton on March 24! This year, KDB is working with both universities to provide litter cleanup opportunities to hundreds of students.

We’re shaking things up in 2018 with across-campus litter cleanup competition!

The ‘Don’t mess with Texas: Trash-Off’ is KDB’s new host-site experience for Big Event at UNT and TWU. Students who sign up to volunteer with KDB through their university’s Big Event will join the largest one-day cleanup event in the state! It wouldn’t be much of a competition without some prizes, so we’re awarding university cleanup groups for the following: Largest Group, Most Trash Bags collected, and Most Unusual Item Found. Request KDB when you sign up for Big Event to become part of this new competitive service opportunity- KDB’s Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-Off!


UNT’s Asian Student Association Gears up for KDB’s ‘Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off’

In preparation for the competition, we asked our most dedicated organizations if they’re ready for the event. UNT’s Asian Student Association ( ASA) is a social, cultural group with the mission to spread awareness of Asian culture on the UNT campus and throughout the Denton community. ASA focuses on creating an environment that accepts everyone and inspires long-term bonds for their 100 active members of Asian and non-Asian ethnicities, which includes Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, Malaysian, Hispanic and African American.

They believe they have “strength in numbers,” and they’re confident they’ll rise to the challenge for the Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off competition. ASA President Nell Jackson and other ASA officers think ASA will find the ‘Most Unusual Item’ during the cleanup competition. “We are always down for some competition, even between members,” Jackson told KDB. “The more eyes we have, the better chance we have of finding something unusual.”

 Above: ASA members volunteering at KDB’s 2017 Great American Cleanup.

ASA wishes their competitors good luck and reminds them to have a good time during the event. Be sure to select KDB as your organization or group’s host site for Big Event, so you can get in on the action. Think your group has what it takes to take home a prize? Bring your best, help us eliminate litter in Denton, and you might take a treasure home!

  • For years now ASA has been volunteering at KDB Denia Wildflower Garden workdays, the Community Tree Giveaway, and the Great American Cleanup. ASA President Nell Jackson says they especially enjoy the garden cleanups because they love “seeing the change the garden brings to the community and working with other student organizations.” Jackson says, “we love getting our hands dirty for a good cause!”

“One of our members dresses up in overalls and work boots because he loves [the garden workdays] so much!” Jackson said. You can join our next garden workday at the Denia Wildflower Garden: click here for more information!

2017-18 KDB Grant Recipients

Environmental Education Grant Header

Every year, Keep Denton Beautiful (KDB) awards up to $3,000 for environmental learning projects through KDB’s Environmental Education Grant Program. Public and private schools in the City of Denton and Denton ISD are eligible to apply for funding through the Environmental Education Grant program, and the KDB Board selects the winning schools based on a number of project criteria, such as how it will encourage student participation in outdoor learning and natural resource stewardship, along with the knowledge and skills that will be gained through their project. Ultimately, the KDB Board awarded funding to seven Denton schools whose proposed projects showed significant planning and school-wide support. KDB staff and Board members have presented grant checks to these awarded schools. We can’t wait to see how their projects turn out!

Environmental Education Grant Winners

Borman Elementary School

Borman Elementary School received a $500 KDB grant to renovate an existing outdoor learning center at their school.

Borman Elementary grant recipients with KDB staff member, Autumn Natalie.


Denton High School

Denton High School received a grant for $500 to to renovate their courtyard area and garden beds in front of their school. The students hope it will create more outdoor learning opportunities!

Denton HS’s courtyard to be renovated using KDB grant.
KDB staff member, Autumn Natalie presents check to Denton HS students.

Evers Park Elementary School

Evers Park Elementary School received a $500 grant to renovate their existing garden beds this spring!

KDB staff Julie Anderson, Autumn Natalie, Renzo Villamero and KDB Board Member Kathy Glasschroeder present KDB Grant to Evers Park Elementary recipients.

Immaculate Conception Catholic School

Immaculate Conception Catholic School (ICCS) received a $500 grant to fund a solar-powered heater for their newly constructed greenhouse. The greenhouse pictured below was previously funded through a 2016-17 KDB Grant!

KDB board members, Haywood Morgan and Kim Phillips, and KDB staff member Julie Anderson present check to grant recipients.

McMath Middle School

McMath Middle School received a $330 grant to fund front screens and new plantings for their existing school garden beds.

KDB staff member Julie Anderson and KDB board member Kim Phillips present check to McMath Middle School grant recipients.

Newton Rayzor Elementary School

Newton Rayzor Elementary School received a grant of just under $500 to fund new plantings and composters for their existing gardens. This grant was generously underwritten by City of Denton Watershed Protection.

KDB staff member Julie Anderson, City of Denton Watershed Protection staff member JoEtta Dailey, and KDB board members, Kathy Glasschroeder, Lancine Bentley, and Kim Phillips present check to Newton Rayzor grant recipients.

Rodriguez Middle School

First-time grant recipient, Rodriguez Middle School received a $500 grant to fund a new outdoor learning area that encourages physical education outdoors.

Rodriguez Middle School KDB Grant recipients

In addition to the Environmental Education Grant Program, KDB offers grant awards to neighborhoods, nonprofits, and other community groups through the Neighborhood Beautification Grant Program. Up to $1,000 in funding is provided for improvement projects that achieve one or more of the following: improve neighborhood public spaces; beautify the community; or nurture a shared sense of neighborhood identity and community pride. The KDB Board awarded funding to three applicants for the 2017-18 program year.

Neighborhood Beautification Grant Winners:

Good Samaritan Society – Lake Forest Village

Good Samaritan Society – Lake Forest Village received a $1,000 grant to beautify and replace existing rose beds infected with the plant disease Rose Rosette.

KDB staff member Celia Spilotro presents check to KDB Grant recipients.

Lucky Locks Beauty Bar

Lucky Locks Beauty Bar received $1,000 to fund the beautiful mural pictured below. It has been completed and can be viewed at Lucky Locks Beauty Bar on Austin St. Go check it out now!

KDB staff member Celia Spilotro and KDB Board President Ali Silva present check to KDB Grant recipients.

Rowdy Bees and Denton County Brewing Co.

Rowdy Bees and Denton County Brewing Co. received a $500 grant to fund the creation of public bee-friendly gardens on site at Denton County Brewing Co. We are buzzing about this project!

KDB staff members Julie Anderson and Celia Spilotro, and KDB board members, Katharine Wilcox, Ali Silva, Kathy Glasschroeder, and Gary Cocke present check to grant recipients.

Photos from 2017 Community Tree Giveaway

A majority of Tree Giveaway participants felt the event was seemless. There is a lot going on behind the scenes to make it so.
Most involved reported finding the event gratifying. After all, each tree is improving air quality, increasing land value, and contributing positively to quality of life. (For more about tree benefits check out our Denton tree initiative page.)
Tree giveaway volunteers arrive at 6 a.m. to help the event go smoothly.
Everyone gathers around,
and is instructed about their jobs for the day.
The event is held at the City of Denton Landfill. The entire drive-through takes an estimate of 20 minutes.
This time isn’t idle, though; enthusiastic volunteers answer questions about planting, sell t-shirts, and interview drivers.
We even have a tree expert (treexpert?) on hand to answer planting questions. Meet Steve Geer from Tree Shepherds!
Once a volunteer has verified your registration, they direct you to the proper pick up line to recieve your tree.
Then, they load your tree in the back of your vehicle, no matter the size.
Participants receive tree care package, including a tree planting handbook and a coupon for free Dino Dirt.
Our t-shirts this year were ‘shady’. If you would like your own, check out our ‘Shop’ page.
Tree Giveaway is KDB staff’s favorite event, and we think the community loves it too. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what they had to say.
For some, it’s a way of leaving a positive mark on the Earth, like Molly Pitcher, an advisor for UNT’s college of science. It was her first time at Tree Giveaway for a tree for her new home because she wants to “do something that makes this home my own.” She thinks that the community giveaway exemplifies that the Denton community as a bastion for the environment. (not pictured)
Some planters anticipate the event for months ahead of time, like Roy Gonzales, a jazz musician from UNT. He woke up early on registration day because he wanted a Little Gem Magnolia. His early alarm clock paid off, and he was excited to receive his tree.
Tree Giveaway is a family friendly event,
and pet friendly, too!
Woody Evans, a librarian at TWU, says Tree Giveaway is a good example of the character of Denton. He compared it to a quote by Joe Biden: “don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”
The last cars begin arriving at 11 a.m..
All the moving and grooving that the volunteers do,
is sure to work up quite an appetite.
Thankfully, Palio’s pizza donated enough food to nourish the masses.

The Community Tree Giveaway was a success! We love hearing your stories. If you had a good experience with tree giveaway or your own tradition, please email sam@kdb.org to share your our story and a photo with your tree, or if you would like a photograph taken of you at the event. If you’re interested in volunteering, mark your calendar for the volunteer registration next September. And, of course, the next Community Tree Giveaway registration opens mid September 2018, so don’t miss it. Thank you Wesley Kirk from The Beautiful Vision and KDB intern Samantha Hardisty for the photography.



By: Samantha Hardisty