We South Carolinians love where we live and the abundance of natural beauty, from the foothills to the coast and everything between. That said, keeping our state looking its best is no small feat, which is why Keep the Midlands Beautiful was established in 1989. An organization serving Richland and Lexington counties, which includes the City of Columbia, Keep the Midlands Beautiful does exactly what the name suggests and has continued to engage the surrounding community since its inception almost thirty years ago.
“The mission of Keep the Midlands Beautiful is to educate the Midlands of South Carolina to invest in our community through litter prevention, recycling, and beautification,” explained Jacqueline Buck, current executive director for the organization.
Many programs are implemented to assist in the mission, and “thousands of Midlands residents,” according to the organization’s website, volunteer their support to make things happen. Programs include Adopt-A-Highway or Street, Adopt-A-Waterway, RiverSweep, Grinding of the Greens, and more. There’s even Regional Recycling, a program that assists households in the responsible recycling of items such as electronic devices, hazardous waste and even vehicle tires. Another program, Green Steps, teaches school-aged children about the importance of a greener planet.
According to Buck, Keep the Midlands Beautiful also seeks to partner with businesses and organizations.
“We love to help businesses take steps, both large and small, in going green,” she said.
Recently, the organization has had a few triumphs in the way of keeping things green. In the month of October 2017, more than 250 trees were planted in Granby Park to help with erosion and restore understory, the layer of vegetation that lies just beneath the ground surface. Meanwhile, in the Irmo and Columbia area of the state, trees were planted outside of the entrance to Saluda Shoals on Westcott Road to discourage illegal dumping and parking, “which was a continual problem,” according to Buck. Finally, 150 more trees went to Chapin to shade and beautify a new sports park.
Buck pointed out that projects such as tree planting not only make the state look more beautiful, they create an overall better existence.
“The beautification of the Midlands will help preserve a healthy, more desirable place in which all of us can live, work and have fun,” she said. “We want everyone to understand that by recycling waste and keeping streets and neighborhoods clean and attractive, we’re all encouraging the overall health of a community.”
For the coming year and beyond, Keep the Midlands Beautiful plans to continue the mission of making South Carolina cleaner and greener. And while the website states that almost 375 groups regularly remove litter on area roads and waterways, schools and businesses come together to implement recycling programs and communities pursue beautification projects, there’s always a new opportunity to donate and give your time for the good of the state.
“We need to continue to promote and grow our core programs,” said Buck. “If you can’t donate monetarily, please volunteer, volunteer, volunteer!”
To make a donation or find out about volunteer opportunities, visit the Keep the Midlands Beautiful website at
KeepTheMidlandsBeautiful.org or call 803-733-1139.