Features

Brightside Newsroom


Abramson Celebrates Brightside’s Clean and Green Programs

Thursday May 17, 2007

Fred Wiche Award winners honored at breakfast

Mayor Jerry Abramson and hundreds of community and business leaders celebrated community success with local cleanup and beautification efforts at Brightside’s Annual Breakfast this morning at The Galt House.

Abramson and the Wiche family presented the ninth annual Brightside Fred Wiche Awards to local schools and local schools were awarded more than $4,000 in “Keep It Clean” grants and scholarships.

“We live in a time when concern about the environment has grown and deepened not just in our community but around our nation,” Abramson said. “As we think globally, we can be proud that we have Brightside as one way to act locally to make a difference.”

Abramson said the heightened environmental awareness was evident at Brightside’s annual community-wide cleanup held in March, when more than 3,000 volunteers picked up more than 21 tons of trash and litter across the community. It was the largest one-day cleanup in Brightside’s 21-year history.

Wiche Awards honor environmental stewards
This year’s Fred Wiche Award recipients were Maryhurst School, J. Graham Brown School, Stephen Foster Academy and Tim Baker, a local school teacher from Meyzeek Middle School. In addition, Eastern High School, Maryhurst School and J. Graham Brown School earned cash grants for outstanding cleanup efforts. Christopher Judy, a student volunteer from Eastern High School received a $500 scholarship.

“This year’s Fred Wiche award recipients are doing incredible work to make Louisville a beautiful place to call home,” Abramson said. “As Louisville’s longtime television and radio garden expert, Fred was a member of the Brightside family from the beginning. Fred’s love of our hometown continues as we honor local schools and individuals who teach students to become environmental stewards.”

The Brightside Fred Wiche Awards were created to honor individuals, groups and schools who exemplify Mr. Wiche’s commitment to preserve and improve the environment. Cash awards were given to schools. The awards are sponsored by Motorola, Inc.

Brightside began in April 1986 as Operation Brightside, serving the former City of Louisville. Since then, Brightside has expanded to all of Louisville Metro with Brightsites, wildflower plantings, community gardens, organized cleanups, anti-litter initiatives, and education and awareness programs across the Metro area. Over $8 million in private funding has been raised and invested in community beautification initiatives.

For information about Brightside and upcoming cleanup activities, enter keyword “Brightside” at LouisvilleKy.gov, or call MetroCall 311.

 

BRIGHTSIDE / FRED WICHE AWARD WINNERS

The Wiche Award, sponsored by Motorola, Inc., honors individuals and groups who exemplify Fred Wiche’s commitment to preserve and improve the environment. Mr. Wiche was Louisville’s long-time television and radio garden expert. An independent panel of judges selected award winners.

Tim Baker, 2007 Adult Division Recipient – Tim Baker is the environmental education teacher at Meyzeek Middle School located at 828 South Jackson Street in the Smoketown neighborhood. As the school’s environmental education coordinator, Mr. Baker encourages his colleagues and students to experience the natural world and works tirelessly to provide opportunities to provide safe, accessible and engaging opportunities. He teaches classes in the garden and has an after-school gardening club. Students see the fruits of their labor – literally! Newly introduced to freshly grown fruits and vegetables, students begin to make connections between the environment and food production. He was instrumental in helping ACTIVE LOUISVILLE establish the St. Peter Claver Community Garden which is used by Meyzeek Middle School students and residents in the Smoketown and Shelby Park neighborhoods.

Maryhurst School, 2007 School Division Recipient, First Place $2,500 - Maryhurst School is a residential school for young women ages 11 to 18 with a student body of about 60 to 70 girls. The school is located in eastern Jefferson County. They have had a Japanese garden and comprehensive outdoor environmental classroom for five years. They received $2,500 as first place winners of the Brightside/Fred Wiche Award. Plans are to use the funds for an additional outdoor program. The garden program has given students higher self-esteem and, as a result, many of the students have entered traditional schools. “Nature has truly been a nurturing factor in the lives of these young women,” said Mari Renn, project director and art teacher at Maryhurst School. Maryhurst school is also the second place recipient of the Brightside Keep It Clean grant this year.

J. Graham Brown School, 2007 School Division Recipient, Second Place $1,000 – The J. Graham Brown School located in downtown Louisville is a magnet school for self-directed learning. It is the only kindergarten through twelfth grade school in Jefferson County Public School System. Located on First Street between Muhammad Ali and Chestnut, the Brown School is surrounded by buildings, a parking garage and I-65. As a result, students have to take field trips to explore the outdoors. The only outdoor space is a concrete courtyard. Plans are to use the Wiche Award grant to convert the courtyard into an outdoor classroom with construction of raised beds for plants, teaching stations with trees and construction of a wooden pergola to add plant material which will provide needed shade and form a natural walkway of native climbing plants.

Stephen Foster Academy, 2007 School Division Recipient, Third Place $500 – The Stephen Foster Academy is an elementary school located in Louisville’s west end area They have an existing outdoor classroom garden established last year. With the Wiche grant, the school plans to build a pioneer garden as part of their new outdoor classroom. The garden will be designed to represent the kinds of gardens planted by American pioneers. Plants will include popcorn, gourds, blackberries, beans and potatoes. They plan to add fencing similar to type made by early Americans. In addition books will be purchased about the lives of pioneers, history, gardening, plant science, animal science and weather to give students a hands-on learning experience.

2007 “Keep It Clean” Anti-Litter Campaign Grant Recipients
Brightside also gave three local high schools cash grants and a student scholarship as part of Brightside’s “Keep It Clean” anti-litter campaign. One of Brightside’s “Keep It Clean” campaign goals is to change people’s behavior so that litter is not a problem for future generations. The grant period was from January to May of 2007. In addition, participating schools nominated a student who took a leadership role in campus anti-litter projects for a $500 scholarship. The high schools earned points by organizing cleanups, involving parents and teachers in cleanups and conducting campus awareness campaigns utilizing school media outlets.

The three top-performing schools to earn “Brightside School of Distinction” grants were

  • Eastern
High School, first place, a $1,500 grant (second consecutive year as first place recipient)
  • Maryhurst School, second place, a $1,000 grant (new to earn a top school of distinction)
  • J. Graham Brown School, third place, a $700 grant (won second place in 2006)
  • Christopher Judy, student from Eastern High School, $500 scholarship
  • Christopher Judy received a $500 scholarship for volunteer efforts at Eastern High School. He has contributed more than 160 hours, all on weekends, days when school is not in session and after school, cleaning areas, planting trees, picking up trash and organizing events. He was the key player in a project that planted over 1,700 trees in Miles Park. He helped organize students and then oversaw the planting at Miles Park. He organizes school litter pick up every Friday and has organized cleanups at the park in Middletown.

    “Extra Mile” Award
    Mayor Abramson and Brightside honored Bob Fleck, who is the DUI Division Chief of Jefferson County Attorney’s Office with the “Extra Mile” award for keeping Louisville’s roadsides clean. Similar to the state’s “adopt a highway” program, local organizations and businesses take a section of a Louisville roadway and keep it clean year-round. Bob has gone the “extra mile” for several years by setting up and implementing a trash pickup program for first-time DUI offenders. Not only does he manage this program, but he also picks up litter with the groups. He is focused in targeting problem areas for picking up trash. During the spring of this year, this program has removed over 4.6 tons of litter from Louisville streets.