Community volunteers collected more than 46,000 pounds (23 tons) of debris as part of Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake, according to the final 2018 collection report,
Read the report -> TPISML_final stats_2018
“We tweaked the format and got many more people involved in organizing and implementing Take Pride this year, and it made a huge difference. We are absolutely amazed with the numbers,” said the Paula Shoffner, Executive Director of the Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission, which organizes the program in collaboration with the Smith Mountain Lake Association and the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.
According to the report, 222 individuals participated in Take Pride in SML, which involved 32 registered events throughout May.
Shoffner said, “That’s more than double the number who participated last year when Take Pride was a summer-long event. Those volunteers contributed to collecting nearly four times more debris than what was reported in 2017. Amazing!”
Debris collected along 55 miles of shoreline included plastic and glass bottles, beverage cans, plastic bags, food wrappers and food containers. Gardner said the most unusual items collected included a kiddie pool, washing machine agitator and a bag of freshly shucked corn on the cob.
“We’re not sure how a bag of corn ended up in the lake but figure some family was pretty disappointed come dinner time,” Gardner joked.
Among the changes made this year that organizers say greatly impacted participation include:
- Declared May “Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake Month”
- Re-branded the event with a new logo
- Established an organizing committee made up of community leaders, as well as volunteers with past TPISML experience
- Partnered with local civic groups and businesses to organize three events (May 5, 12 and 19) at various locations around the lake with large dumpsters provided for free
- Worked with Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire/Rescue to coordinate limited debris pickup from docks of those not able to dispose of it themselves
- Offered participants the option to plan their own Take Pride cleanups anytime in May
- Made signup easier by allowing participants to pre-register and pick up their free supplies (t-shirt, work gloves and heavy duty orange trash bags) at the SML Business Expo in early May
- Added a post-event celebration at Mango’s Bar & Grill as a thank you for volunteers, organizers and sponsors
Sponsors for 2018’s Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake initiative included American Electric Power, Western Virginia Water Authority, Berkshire Hathaway Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate, Capps Home Building Center, Carilion Clinic, Glenda McDaniel – Long & Foster Real Estate, Turner’s Dock Building, and The Windward Waterfront Lots and Custom Homes.
“We’re so thankful for the long-standing commitment we’ve had from these businesses, because the success of Take Pride could not have happened without their support,” said Lorie Smith, SMLA President. “We feel like we’re definitely prepared to elevate the event to another level again next year.”