On Oct. 10, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful held its 13th annual Environmental Address, which featured Governor Brian Kemp, who said that Gwinnett is “on the front lines” in dealing with environmental issues.
The luncheon celebrated the environmental preservation efforts of Gwinnett-based companies, organizations, and schools.
Executive Director of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, Schelly Marlatt, said the organization strives to cultivate leadership, stewardship, and recognize “those who take ownership of their community to leave this place better than founded.”
Among those recognized were two GGC students, each of whom won the Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful scholarship worth $2,500.
“This is my third year of winning it,” said environmental science major Candi Abbey. “I’m excited that I received this honor.”
The second winner, chemistry major Lois Iddrisu said much the same. She is set to graduate in May 2020 and wants to volunteer with Doctors Without Borders.
President Jann Joseph thanked Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful for their longtime support of GGC students.
“Thank you for creating this opportunity. [The students] enjoy the experience of networking with community and business leaders from across the state and have the honor of hearing the governor’s environmental address,” she said. “I’m very proud. I’m happy this award will recognize two [of the students]. In my mind, it’s recognizing all of them.”
Governor Brian Kemp recognizes GGC
“Last week we had a teacher listening tour at GGC with a bunch of K-12 teachers. Some of our local legislatures were there. We’re committed to continue to listen and learn from our educators,” he said.
“I’ve seen a lot of great things done to help make sure our students and our folks working in the schools are safer than they were a year ago. A big problem in our schools is school violence tied with mental health issues. That’s why we’ve doubled funding to the existing aid program to put more counselors in our schools to take the workload off our nurses and teachers,” he said.
Addressing the environment, Governor Kemp said the Peach State has a lot to be proud of.
“Our parks and recreation areas offer visitors and Georgians opportunity alike to visit outdoors and also understand the importance of environmental stewardship. It’s our job to be forward-thinking and empower groups like this and people like you to continue to protect our precious environment and invest in our local communities and preserve our unique ecosystems for generations to come,” he said.
Governor Kemp said the State Properties Commission is working to secure access to environmentally sensitive properties and natural resources.
Information technology major Greatzel Unabia is seeking a career in sustainability. “I’m so glad to see that there are so many people in Gwinnett who are dedicated to an environmental cause. Although I did wish Governor Kemp talked more about environmental responsibility and sustainability, which was the theme of the event, instead of other things, which were equally important but not very relevant to the original theme.”
Other rewards are set to come
The Connie Wiggins Environmental Legacy Award was given to Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful’s Chairman Bartow Morgan Jr. for being a “pioneer for change,” said Marlatt.
Gwinnett district commissioners and Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful’s biggest sponsor and winner of the Green Community Partner of the Year Award, Primerica, were applauded for their contributions. Gwinnett County’s Department of Transportation was awarded as the Green Government of the Year for their road clean-up services.
Mason Elementary School, a national Green Ribbon and Georgia STEM certified school, earned the Jim Steele Educator Award for making sustainability a common thread in their school curriculum.
“All students participate in environmentally based learning projects throughout the year. This year’s project included the Food Waste Warriors,” said Marlatt.
The Green Business Leader of the Year award was presented to Charity Recycling Services as one of the local businesses to take “significant or innovative strides to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt environmentally friendly practices, waste prevention, recycling, and water conservation.”
The luncheon adjourned after Director Marlatt’s final speech, thanking the attendees for their support and appreciation.
For Peachtree Ridge high schooler Sivani Desai, the event “felt like a great opportunity to meet elected officials across the county and hear from Governor Kemp.” She was excited to have the opportunity to attend.