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Group sets environmental mission, goals / March 14, 2013
A new group has formed in the region to promote environmental education and stir action on everyday problems such as litter tossed by the roadside.

About 20 residents, including members of various resource organizations, gathered Monday at Smokin’ Jakes House of BBQ to lay out a mission statement, goals and objectives for the new group, the Southern Virginia Regional Environmental Education Committee.

Representatives from Halifax, Mecklenburg and Pittsylvania counties brainstormed for nearly five hours before coming up with the mission statement.

The group first looked at the strengths of the area, citing the level of talent and skills in the community, good public facilities and strong school systems, and geographic diversity. They also noted recycling efforts in place in the region, the local strength of the Virginia Farm Bureau and adherence to the best management practices by local agricultural growers.

Other assets identified by the group include a favorable attitude among the population towards natural resources, good land use practices and a cherished and evolving rural way of life.

The top weaknesses: too much litter by roadsides and in fields, and a lax approach in dealing with the problem of litter. Also, a general lack of positive promotion by the region’s leaders.

To address the litter problem, one participant suggested, for the sake of raising awareness, posting signs that she had seen used in another area: “Trashy people throw trash on the roads.”

The committee acknowledged issues that could affect its ability to follow through on the mission statement, including funding shortages and a lack of volunter time. Members of the environmental team agreed to set a goal of enlisting the aid of outside groups, including churches and civic groups that might volunteer their services.

The environmental group set a five-year vision of achieving measurable results in reducing litter along highways and byways. Members also hope to educate local leaders on the importance of green spaces and work with civic groups to promote such efforts as VDOT’s “Adopt a Highway Program.” They also support more K-12 educational programs stressing environmental matters.

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Congratulations from the Litter Prevention Program and on the attention to littering. Not littering is the easiest and most enduring 'green' action a person can ever take. We specialize in changing littering behaviors. Our goal is to reduce the overall rate of littering by teaching people how to not litter using engaging and uniquely effective methods. Visit a site dedicated to the topics of litter and littering or Twitter @white_sheila to get linked in to the latest news and info.

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