Birmingham, AL— Reuse, Reduce, Recycle…Recover!”Courtyard Marriot

was the theme for the 4TH Annual Take Pride Statewide Conference, sponsored by Auntie Litter, Inc. on October 11 and 12 at Samford University.  This year’s Keynote Speakers Mayor William Bell of Birmingham and Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa delivered inspirational and uplifting speeches about how their two cities carried this year’s theme into action when stuck by devastating tornadoes. Mayor Maddox started the conference with a six minute video showing the images from the April 27th tornadoes in the city of Tuscaloosa. He then explained how the city pulled together in time of need and how Tuscaloosa is coming back with more energy efficient buildings, new nature trails, and an increase in curbside recycling.  Mayor Bell painted a different picture for the audience, speaking about specific events of what happened that day and how the city was able to recover and save 5 million dollars by recycling all storm debris rather than purchasing a new landfill cell. Both mayors agreed that the recovery process could not be done without the unity of a community and its volunteers.

Following the Keynote Session, the Take Pride Awards were given to those communities that support the ideals of promoting a clean and healthy Alabama.  A special award established by Auntie Litter, Inc. is the William R. Ireland, Sr. Make a Difference Award given in honor of the late Mr. Ireland because of his belief in improving the quality of life for Alabamians and protecting our environment through education. Based on these ideals, this year’s award was presented to Andy Thomason of Helena in memory of his son, Evan, for his outstanding contributions to promoting Take Pride Statewideenvironmental protection as a member of Auntie Litter’s Pollution Patrol. This prestigious award was presented by Executive Director and Founder of Auntie Litter, Inc., Pat Mitchell, and John Ireland, a son of William Ireland, Sr.

Along with Mayor William Bell of Birmingham and Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa as the Keynote Speakers, conference presenters included Director Jim Byard, Jr., Alabama Department of Economic & Community Affairs (ADECA), Steve Jones, Councilman Place Five Coastal Resiliency Coalition City of Gulf Shores,  Kenneth Lapierre, Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IV, Matt Hartzell, Coordinator Bibb County Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), Andre’ Richardson, Division Manager Environmental Services Department, Alabama Recycling Coalition City of Auburn, Michael Churchman, Executive Director Alabama Environmental Council, Christina Andress Materials Management Section, Alabama Department of Environmental Management Land Division (ADEM), Marilyn Stamps, Publication Manager Alabama Department of Tourism, Bonner Wagnon, Grants Manager & Director of Programs Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham, and Tree Davidson, Executive Director Hands on Birmingham.

Conference workshops focused on litter-prevention education and related environmental issues that affect communities statewide. Participants learned strategies from presenters such as how to determine sources of funding, as well as how to develop a network for idea sharing and problem solving. At the close of the conference, attendees received thousands of educational and campaign materials to implement environmental efforts in their respective communities.

Registered attendees from 120 cities represent their communities on beautification and recycling boards, as educators, government officials, environmental organizations, business and industry representatives, association and civic leaders, and concerned individuals.

2011 Take Pride Statewide Award Winners:

Best Volunteer Effort

Adele Phillips: Town of Valley Head

Best Special Event

Guntersville High School-Students for Earth Club

Best Community-wide Program

City of Demopolis

Best Program for Children

Perry County Extension System

Best Educational Program

Dr. Doug Phillips: Discovering Alabama

For media inquiries and to schedule an interview with Pat Mitchell, contact Latoya Gladney at 205-879-3009 or via e-mail at [email protected].

Happy 21st Anniversary Auntie Litter!

Auntie Litter, Inc. is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Birmingham, AL, Auntie Litter, Inc. is dedicated to promoting a clean and healthy environment. Founded in 1990, the organization has been honored with numerous awards for its innovative educational programs based on the anti-litter character, “Auntie Litter.” Through live presentations, educational workshops, and comprehensive teaching strategies and tools, young people, their families, and educators learn how to conserve our natural resources, eliminate litter in our communities, and become good stewards of the environment. Its efforts have been featured on nationally-televised shows such as CNN Headline News and ABC’s Good Morning America.