Pollution and the nation’s overwhelming ecological problems of the 1980s prompted Pat Mitchell, an experienced teacher, to take an active leadership role in providing environmental education. She created the teaching concept of Auntie Litter (anti-litter) to “do for the environment what Uncle Sam has done for patriotism.” Mrs. Mitchell brought the character to life on Earth Day 1990 which began the Auntie Litter Needs You public education campaign. In the last ten years, she presented her educational and entertaining program throughout the Southeastern United States to over one million children and adults in schools, churches and businesses. She continues to reach thousands more in person while others have heard her informative messages through radio interviews, television appearances, news articles, and public service announcements. She is the founder of the non-profit organization Auntie Litter, Inc., which is dedicated to providing environmental education to the general public, particularly children. She volunteers as Executive Director orchestrating hundreds of volunteers in various capacities utilizing their skills and talents for anything from litter clean up efforts to producing educational kits for schools. One of her initiatives is a county litterbag distribution effort involving Mayors and County Commissioners which continues to grow each year.
Mrs. Mitchell has received national recognition from CNN Headline News, and has been featured in national publications, such as: Family Circle, Recycling Today, Weekly Reader, Country America and Waste Age Digest. In 1990 and 1991, she received the national Take Pride in America Award, and was honored by President George Bush at the White House. She has been recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Girl Scouts, and selected as a Community Hero and a 1996 Olympic Torchbearer. Auntie Litter was also selected as the 13th Point of Light nationally and the 1st in Alabama by President Bill Clinton.
Realizing that music could reach a wider audience, she developed The Pollution Patrol, a chorus of children to travel and sing Auntie Litter songs with her at special events. Because of their popularity, Auntie Litter and the Pollution Patrol are educating students in kindergarten through third grade in their series, The Pollution Patrol and Earth We’re in it Together, currently airing now on Alabama Public Television. Auntie Litter and the Pollution Patrol’s thirty second musical public service announcement, Team Up to Clean up America, airs nationally on cable television.
Knowing that a stage play would further the educational effort, Mrs. Mitchell recruited writers and performers to create a musical comedy for the environment, Auntie Litter’s Recycling Rescue. The show was a big success and has run twice in the Birmingham area. Teaching kits, complete with video and audio tapes and teacher booklets, were developed for schools to replicate this play in their communities. The first Auntie Litter educational coloring book, Auntie Litter’s ABC’s for the USA, is a classroom favorite. The organization is now developing a series of children’s books.
Every April, Auntie Litter, Inc. hosts it’s annual Earth Day Parade and Celebration for school children, the nation’s largest Earth Day parade for children. Here teachers and students are given a theme and unit of study to complete and the students are required to dress in costumes and create displays to reflect what they have learned to the viewing audience. Businesses and other environmental organizations join Auntie Litter in educating the children by setting up educational displays at the park. Everyone is required to pack lunches in reusable containers and make the event litter and waste free. Auntie Litter has touched the hearts of many people with her message, “Share the vision she can see, America litter free!”