Category Archives: Community Volunteer Days

National Planting Day 2017

Join Pride In McAlester, Saturday September 9, 2017 at 9:00am, at the McAlester Regional Health Center located of the corner Strong Boulevard and Monroe Avenue for National Planting Day! This year it is our goal to add 50 native Oklahoma Redbud trees (Cercis reniformis) to this city corridor that is accessed by an average daily traffic count of 8,000 vehicles.

The City of McAlester will dig the holes in advance of the work day and provide a planting demonstration. Volunteers will remove the plastic buckets from trees, place the trees in the holes, fill with dirt, and cover with mulch.  All supplies and trees are provided through a Keep America Beautiful / UPS Community Tree Planting Grant to Pride In McAlester, a local Keep America Beautiful Affiliate.

 

This year’s National Planting Day activities will focus on the importance of the native Oklahoma Redbud (Cercis reniformis) as the official state tree to increase awareness of native trees, beautify a busy area of the city, and provide a haven for native birds, insects and other pollinators. During the 1980s, the City of McAlester planted native Redbud trees along Strong Boulevard and Monroe Avenues. Ice storms and severe weather occurrences over the past twenty years in the community have caused significant damage to many of the city’s trees, bushes, and shrubs. Since that time, the City of McAlester, the McAlester Tree Board, and organizations like Pride In McAlester have restored hundreds of trees in public areas. The restoration of these plants is essential for the support of wildlife and the continuance of a healthy, beautiful and vibrant community.

All interested volunteers are welcome to show up Saturday September 9, 2017 at 9:00am, at the McAlester Regional Health Center located of the corner Strong Boulevard and Monroe Avenue. Gloves, shovels, trees and planting supplies will be provided. Bring a friend, or family member and become a part of making McAlester a more healthy, beautiful and vibrant community one tree at a time.  Share the opportunity! 

McAlester Volunteers Paint Fire Hydrants

Fourteen volunteers met at B and Jefferson Park on Saturday, March 8th to paint fire hydrants in parts of the city’s First, Third, and Fourth Wards.

Pride In McAlester Volunteers were joined by members of the Choctaw Nation Youth Advisory Board Crowder Chapter and within two and a half hours, fifty-one hydrants had a fresh coat of paint!

The hydrant project is possible thanks to a partnership with the City of McAlester Fire Department. They provide paint and a map with the updated hydrant colors indicating green, orange, or red based on output.

Painting fire hydrants not only helps to Keep McAlester Beautiful, but also helps the city be safer by ensuring that fire fighters can easily and accurately identify water pressure in case of a fire in the neighborhood.

MHS Student Council works to Keep McAlester Beautiful

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Thirty members of the McAlester High School Student Council worked with Pride In McAlester on Thursday, October 20th to beautify city areas. Meeting first at Thunderbird Park on East Pierce, students broke into three teams to tackle projects throughout the city.

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img_8887One team stayed at the park to clean and paint playground equipment, seating, and signage at the area dedicated to members of the 45th Infantry Division. Another crew of students traveled to Connally Park on North 12th street where they prepared and painted a guard rail that runs along the parking lot. The third team, consisting of fifteen students and the faculty advisor, went to the McAlester Public Library where they recoated a white guard rail with paint around the parking lot on East Adams Avenue. Each site was also cleared of litter during the workday.

 

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img_9659Together, these high school students contributed a combined sixty hours of community improvement working to Keep McAlester Beautiful. Pride In McAlester provided the paint and supplies necessary to complete the project.

 

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Pride In McAlester is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and Keep America Beautiful Affiliate. To learn more about volunteer opportunities and beautification efforts, visit www.prideinmcalester.com or call 918-426-4444.

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Volunteers Celebrate National Planting Day

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Pride In McAlester and several partners celebrated Keep America Beautiful’s National Planting Day on September 3, 2016. Twenty volunteers planted forty-three trees along McAlester’s Buffalo Run Disc Golf Course at Rotary Park.

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This project was a partnership between the Buffalo Run Disc Golf Course promoters, the City of McAlester, Pride In McAlester, and McAlester’s Tree Board. City of McAlester Land Maintenance Superintendent Sherman Miller and Gardener Robbie Patton started the day with a demonstration on proper planting techniques. Volunteers then prepared the trees by removing containers, placing them at the proper height, filling the holes, and adding top soil and mulch donated by Lowe’s Home Improvement Store of McAlester to the base of the tree.

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The trees were purchased by Matt House, local disc golf professional and designer of the Buffalo Run Course, with funds raised from tournaments. “This park and disc golf course is quickly becoming one of the best in the State,” House said. “I’m humbled by the community’s awesome support and willingness to help make it the best Park and Course in Oklahoma.”

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Loblolly Pines, a native species that grow fast and is hardy to the condition of Southeastern Oklahoma, were planted for National Planting Day, which puts particular emphasis on planting indigenous trees throughout the United States. According to the Keep America Beautiful website, National Planting Day is a “call to action designed to mobilize Americans to support local ecosystems.”

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Pride In McAlester is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and Keep America Beautiful Affiliate. To learn more about volunteer opportunities and beautification efforts, visit www.prideinmcalester.com or call 918-426-4444.

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Native Trees for McAlester

Native trees help clean our air, beautify our neighborhoods, increase property values, are hardy, and support critical pollinators that help produce our food. They are equipped to live with the local climate, soil types, and support wildlife.

It’s all part of the intricate web of life. Flowers and fruit of plants support native insects which support native birds. There’s no coincidence that native trees produce seeds and berries at the right time to support birds migrating through Oklahoma. These species have evolved to be dependent on each other in a way that benefits us all.

Here are a few species of tree that are great in McAlester:

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Bald cypress – This hardy specimen grows to 70 feet tall and is tolerant in wet and dry conditions. Looking for a beautiful fall display? Choose this one.

 

 

 

 

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Shumard Oak – These magnificent trees can reach over 100 feet if given enough time and produce acorns to ensure you have plenty of wildlife around. Heat and drought aren’t an issue for this guy.

 

 

 

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Redbud – Want a small tree that will make you happy every time you look at it? This one blooms magenta flowers and typically grows to 20 feet. It’s also Oklahoma’s state tree.

 

 

 

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Red Cedar – If you’re in to evergreens, this tree supports birds, smells great, and grows to 50 feet.

 

 

 

 

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Loblolly Pines – There are few trees as stately as these pine trees. They grow fast and shed their lower branches, providing good lower visibility while still keeping a traditional profile. These guys get up to 80 feet tall and are definitely winners to us.

 

 

 

Native trees and plants are part of what makes our area of the state unique. Promote a deeper understanding and respect for our land by helping us plant fifty native Loblolly Pine trees at McAlester’s Buffalo Run Pro Disc Golf Course on Saturday, September 3rd at 9:00 am in Rotary Park.

This project is a true partnership between the Buffalo Run Disc Golf Course promoters, the City of McAlester, Pride In McAlester and McAlester’s Tree Board with great support from Lowe’s Home Improvement Store of McAlester. We will meet at Hole #1 for a great planting demonstration from the City of McAlester’s Land Maintenance Superintendent, Sherman Miller.

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Pride in McAlester to paint Tobucksy County Courthouse – Local group participates in Keep Oklahoma Beautiful initiative

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(Oklahoma City, August 15, 2016) – 39 groups across Oklahoma have been chosen to participate in Fresh Paint Days. This Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB) program is designed to encourage volunteers to seek out community structures and renovate them with the creative use of resources. This year, Pride in McAlester was chosen as one of the participating groups.

Fresh Paint Days is a program founded on the collaboration between HIS Coatings and Keep Oklahoma Beautiful. KOB, with the help of sponsors, provides the paint and a stipend for supplies; selected communities supply the volunteers and elbow grease. This program has helped to revitalize communities across Oklahoma with a fresh coat of paint.

The Tobucksy County Courthouse is a pre-statehood structure located in the Old Town district of McAlester and once served as a government building for the Choctaw Nation. In a team effort, the City of McAlester is also contributing to this beautification project by conducting minor repairs before painting begins this fall.

“The ultimate impact on this important historic structure will ultimately be one of preservation and stabilization in addition to beautification,” said Stephanie Giacomo, Executive Director of Pride in McAlester.

Natalie Evans, the projects coordinator for KOB, works with potential participants throughout the application process.

“It is so encouraging to see the many individuals across the state who have a heart for bettering their communities,” Evans said. “These participants truly exemplify the spirit of Oklahoma, which was founded on hard work and a positive community outlook. Fresh Paint Days is a wonderful opportunity for these communities to work together to better their environment.”

Joe Cox, the CEO and president of H-I-S Coatings has been helping to make Fresh Paint Days a reality for over a decade.

“We have proudly partnered with Keep Oklahoma Beautiful for 11 years, providing roughly 11,000 gallons of paint to help communities in Oklahoma fill budget gaps,” Cox said. “It’s been an honor to help the small communities in Oklahoma over the years.”

“Fresh Paint Days has a great impact on preserving the character of Oklahoma communities.  It’s great to see communities come together and join resources to restore community structures and community pride.  PSO is proud to support their efforts,” said John Harper, Vice President External Affairs, PSO.

The group will have 30 days to complete their projects using donated paint from H.I.S Coatings of Oklahoma City and a stipend from Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Keep America Beautiful/Anheuser-Busch, and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Pride in McAlester will be one of 39 groups competing for the “Best Visual Impact Award” through the, ‘Communities Primed for Change’ online contest. Finalists will be chosen based upon their ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos. Winners will be announced at the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful 26th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards Celebration on November 17, 2016.

Keep Oklahoma Beautiful is a statewide nonprofit with a mission to empower Oklahoma citizens to preserve and enhance the state’s natural beauty and ensure a healthy, sustainable environment.

For more information about KOB, Fresh Paint Days, and the sponsors of this program visit: www.keepoklahomabeautiful.com

Volunteers Promote Clean Water in McAlester

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Clogged drains, polluted water, and a fine from the city are just a few things that can result from stormwater contamination in McAlester. Nineteen volunteers met at on Saturday, August 13th in Historic Old Town and spent a combined thirty hours promoting clean water during a Pride In McAlester Community Volunteer Day. Forty-nine stormwater drains received new markers reminding citizens that the drain flows directly to natural water sources such as streams, rivers, and lakes. Volunteers also spent time picking up litter and removing debris. Organized by Pride In McAlester and the City of McAlester’s Environmental Programs office, the project helps educate citizens about environmental and infrastructure issues.

 

 

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The rain and other runoff that enters the stormwater system does not undergo treatment or filtering at a water treatment plant. Any harmful items or chemicals that go down a drain directly affect the cleanliness of the water and the health of the wildlife and plants that live in these habitats.  Citizens are urged to be mindful of any substances that may flow into drains, including litter and yard debris. The City of McAlester’s ordinances prohibit residents from pouring any chemicals or oils into the stormwater system and also forbid anyone from mowing yard clippings into the street. In addition to being an eyesore, grass cuttings and other yard debris on roads can build up and restrict the movement of water out of yards and streets. Clogged drains can cost property owners and local government thousands of dollars a year in water damage.

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Pride In McAlester (PIM) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization partnering with citizen volunteers towards a cleaner, safer, and more beautiful community. For more information, visit www.prideinmcalester.com or call 918-426-4444.

Stormwater in McAlester

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Stormwater is probably something you’ve barely thought about before. When it rains, that rain moves off our roofs, down the driveway, through the street and disappears into the drain at the end of the block. Most days, this process goes smoothly and all is well.

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There’s more to that story once the rain flows into the stormwater drain. Moving through a series of concrete tunnels, the water eventually exits the city’s system and goes directly into a stream, river, or lake. That’s right, no fancy filtering, no water treatment plant, and no reuse – strait into a fresh water source. These are the same rivers and lakes we fish from and swim in – the ones that support wildlife such as frogs and turtles.

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Unfortunately, this means that anything that enters that drain at the end of your block, ends up in the lake or river. Chemicals, litter, and other pollution can affect the natural beauty and habitat we pride ourselves on in Southeastern Oklahoma. The last thing we need is one more detriment to our pristine natural environment caused by improper disposal of paint, motor oil, pesticide, or even fertilizer. There are plenty of ways to dispose of household hazardous waste in McAlester – say it with me: NOTHING BUT RAIN DOWN THE DRAIN.

 

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The whole point of the stormwater system is to move the water out of our city. This means that anything that obstructs the water and prevents its flow will affect people’s property. Flash floods, retained water, and damaged structures can occur. This is the reason it’s so important not to mow your grass into the street – and why there’s a city ordinance against it – those yard clippings run down the street with the stormwater and enter the drain. The accumulation over time then restricts or blocks the drain, causing water to back up. Litter does the same thing.

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These are the reasons that Pride In McAlester volunteers will meet at Hutchison park at 4th Street and Krebs Avenue in Old Town this Saturday at 9:00 am to install clean stormwater markers on drains.

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Volunteers Improve McAlester’s Chadick Park

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On Saturday, July 16, 2016 twenty Pride In McAlester volunteers worked at Chadick Park to paint light poles, trash can holders,  and remove weeds and vines at the Coal Miners Memorial. The guard rail at the park along Sixth Street was also given a fresh coat of paint.IMG_2170IMG_2161

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PIM conducts Monthly Volunteer Days to work towards a cleaner, safer, and more beautiful McAlester. The group’s next Monthly Volunteer Day will include installation of clean stormwater markers and painting fire hydrants at 9:00 am on Saturday, August 13th starting at Hutchison Park at 4th Street and Krebs Avenue in Old Town. For more information, visit www.prideinmcalester.com or call 918-426-4444.

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