A few Saturdays ago, I woke up early in the morning instead of sleeping in.


I drove to a site in downtown Phoenix in order to participate in our local chapter of Keep America Beautiful.


The gate led into a 15-acre site on Indian School Road and Central Avenue.



This site is “the largest transformation of vacant land happening right now in the country.”

Other volunteers were trickling into the area and we met in the center where we were given t-shirts, tools and assignments.


TroyBilt, is a huge supporter of The Great American Clean-Up and they had TroyBilt  equipmen ready to be used to help clear weeds from the lot.

Over 4 million volunteers across the country, come together to help improve their community through a chapter of ‘Keep America Beautiful’. 

The focus is on “waste reduction, recycling, beautification and community greening.”

The available assignments that day included weeding, trash pick-up, painting and creating ‘art’ from recycled materials.


I volunteered to help paint picnic benches and raised garden beds.


We used clear deck stain on all the wood surfaces.

I was able to make some new friends while we worked side by side.


After I had finished painting, I walked around seeing the other projects being done including some of the recycled art that will later be displayed at the site.


A group of girls were working hard on making a shield for a figure that was to be created out of recycled material.

This was the first time that I had participated in this kind of event and it was such a rewarding experience.

Click on the following links to see how you can participate in keeping your community beautiful:


Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

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