DELAWARE, Oh. – Several community members, leaders, schools and groups received recognition at the annual Keep Delaware County Beautiful Awards that occurred on Dec. 4 at Stratford Ecological Center.   

The Recycling Award, which recognizes an outstanding effort or action that contributes significantly toward the success of recycling in Delaware County, went to local entrepreneur Steve Flaherty who is working on developing technology that turns non-recyclable plastics into asphalt paving through his business necoPlastics.

The Business Award recognized two businesses Accurate IT and TranSystems. Accurate IT was recognized for responsible recycling and their excellent customer service during this year’s Senior Citizen Electronics and Appliance Pickup. TranSystems was recognized for their help in cleaning the Olentangy River by providing volunteers and refreshments for 70 participants. 

The Environmental Educator Award went to educators at Olentangy Orange Middle School for leading students to perform environmental community service projects. Students have been to Preservation Parks of Delaware County to plant trees several times during the year and eighth grade Service Day students labeled storm drains in Powell and Sunbury, held a litter cleanup at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, on school campus and Oak Grove Cemetery and spent time at the John Beltz Retreat Center picking up trash on property that leads to the Hoover Reservoir.

The Beautification Award went to the Delaware Area Career Center Landscape and Architecture and Equine Science programs. These students pulled weeds, planted and mulched many areas around the Delaware County Fairgrounds over a two-week period. Their hard work was on display for the community and the many visitors that came to the Delaware County Fair. 

The Community Stewardship Award, which recognizes individuals and groups for their effort in improving the environment of their neighborhood or community, went to two individuals Saundra McBrearty of Preservation Parks of Delaware County and local volunteer Paula Ziebarth. McBrearty has worked with volunteers to do everything from special park events to litter pickup on park properties and nearby roadways. Just this past spring, McBrearty organized two cleanups in which 30 bags of trash and several large items were removed from the environment. Ziebarth has been volunteering in Powell, Liberty Township and with Preservation Parks by placing and maintaining nest boxes for bluebirds. Bluebirds are cavity nesters and benefit our community by eating different insects. Ziebarth also established a bluebird trail in the City of Powell and is teaching others how to maintain them. Powell alone has at least 100 nest boxes.

The Litter Prevention Award recognized Ohio Wesleyan University student Brianna Graber who coordinated with the City of Delaware on a project to install a storm drain net in Delaware Run on the OWU Campus.  The 6-and-a-half ton device is the first of its kind installed in the United States and collects trash and organic debris.  The collected waste will be analyzed and the water quality will be monitored giving the community a better picture of the health of our water resources.

The Garrison-Brown Award, named after Charlotte Garrison and Janet Brown who by their own initiative formed a planning committee to beautify the village of Ashley. This award is given to recognize initiative and significant environmental contribution to the community. This year, this award recognized local volunteer Sean Kay. This year, Kay and his family joined the Olentangy River clean up and brought 17 Ohio Wesleyan students to help in the effort. In addition, Kay and his family volunteered for the Scioto River Sweep and as an experienced kayaker took on the responsibility of ensuring the safety of other volunteers as they moved down the river.

The Partnership Award recognized two new clean-up events that occurred because of local partnerships and their commitment to Delaware County. The first event was hosted by Delaware State Park and occurred at Delaware Lake and garnered 35 volunteers. Partners recognized included the City of Delaware, Preservation Parks, DelCo Water Company, the American Kayaking Association and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Also recognized was a new partnership formed when resident Donna Liggett noticed that the water levels were down in the Scioto River south of Home Road and a lot of trash was exposed. The City of Columbus Division of Water and DelCo Water joined forces with Liggett to pull together a cleanup in just a few short weeks. Twenty volunteers met at the Home Road Marina and the Columbus Zoo’s Green Team joined in to gather trash on the exposed riverbanks by the zoo. The volunteers collected two truckloads of trash including tires and large items.

The Environmental Youth Leadership Award recognized two groups and one individual for their commitment to the environment:

  • Cub Scout Pack #108 held a cleanup in Blue Limestone Park and collected 12 bags of trash, some gutter, two chairs and a couple of large items.
  • Nature’s Friends 4-H club held a cleanup on Lawrence Road in Radnor Township and collected 18 bags of trash and recyclables from the area.
  • Brendan Sayer of Boy Scout Troop #284 raised money for materials to clean up and add walkways to the Veteran’s Memorial at Bellpoint Community Church.

Led by the Delaware General Health District, the Keep Delaware County Beautiful coalition provides recycling and litter prevention programs and environmental education activities to the residents and businesses of Delaware County.

For award photos, please visit the KeepDelawareCountyBeautiful Facebook page