Keep America Beautiful announces conference details

National conference takes place Feb. 1-3 in Orlando, Florida, and will discuss best practices to help end littering and improve recycling.

January 28, 2016

Keep America Beautiful (KAB), Stamford, Connecticut, has announced renowned Australian psychologists Rob Curnow and Karen Spehr will serve as keynote speakers at the 2016 Keep America Beautiful National Conference, which takes place Feb. 1-3 at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida.

Both psychologists have been working for more than 20 years on changing people’s behaviors in relation to the environment, according to KAB.

KAB says its annual conference, an educational and networking event, will bring together more than 350 leaders from KAB’s national network of more than 600 state and community-based affiliates, business leaders, policymakers and other experts who will explore innovative ideas and proven strategies to help end littering, improve recycling and beautify America’s communities.

As members of the KAB family meet, the organization says it also will launch its call-to-action for 2016: Imagine. Inspire. Transform:
  • Imagine:  A country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live.
  • Inspire: Your neighbors, friends, family, public officials, business leaders and others to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment.
  • Transform: The hearts, minds and behaviors of people all over America to take individual responsibility and collective action to help Keep America Beautiful.
Jennifer Jehn, KAB president and CEO, says, “Our national conference brings our powerful network of affiliate representatives together to share best practices; gain and discuss valuable insights from experts; network with other community, civic and business leaders; and to reunite with familiar faces and make new friends from across the Keep America Beautiful family.”

She continues, “Our network of affiliates and other partners serve urban, suburban and rural communities nationwide. The work we do instills a stronger sense of community stewardship and pride, enhancing environmental, economic and social health, and helping to fulfill a vision of a country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live.”

Keynote speakers Curnow and Spehr are world-leading authorities on how human behavior affects waste in public places, according to KAB. The pair has guided behavior change campaigns by targeting what people do rather than what they say in relation to littering. In their presentation, they will describe where understanding types of littering behavior—including the ‘foul-shooter,’ ‘wedger,’ ‘grinder’ and ‘undertaker’—can help KAB to achieve its ultimate goal to end littering in America. The team will explore why people litter; who litters and how they do it; how social norms work to prevent littering; personal responsibility; and the power of rewards and penalties. The Keep America Beautiful National Conference also will serve as the United States launch of the psychologists’ book, LITTER-OLOGY: Understanding Littering and the Secrets to Clean Public Places, first published in Australia in 2015. A special book launch event will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 6 p.m.

KAB says additional conference sessions will focus on:
  • the growing concern around litter, blight and its cost (environmental and economic) to communities; 
  • strategies for making recycling more successful in a challenging environment; 
  • how utilizing KAB’s proven behavior change strategies create positive lasting impacts on communities; and
  • translating how and why we measure our actions into increased economic benefit.  
Other featured speakers and sessions include:
  • Thomas McKee, owner of leadership development firm Volunteer Power, will discuss shifts in the culture of volunteerism, challenging leaders to adapt to “The New Breed of Volunteer.” 
  • Tammy Kaleel, environmental integration director for Walt Disney World Resort, will address the company’s international approach to creating and sustaining a culture of environmentalism. 
  • Lee Huang and Daniel Miles of consulting firm Econsult Solutions Inc. will present “Estimating the Cost of Blight in Your Community,” and reveal a new user-friendly blight calculator tool from KAB that will estimate costs imposed on a community by illegal dumping, graffiti and vacant/abandoned buildings. Joe Schilling, senior fellow with the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, will follow by leading a strategic planning session. 
  • The “End Littering” panel, featuring experts from government, academia and affiliates, will feature Lynn M. Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute; Alison Hammer Weingast, marine debris division deputy chief of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Response and Restoration; Robert Benson, senior program advisor, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Eliana Mozo-Reyes, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Georgia, who will share details about current research and projects that aim to end litter. 
KAB says it will conduct a special “Build & Grow” experiential education session, sponsored by Lowe’s, on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Conference attendees will construct oyster restoration mats that will be used to rebuild oyster reef habitats in suitable areas of Mosquito Lagoon, located in the Volusia County area that is part of the Canaveral National Seashore. Students from the University of Central Florida will place the mats by binding them to the estuary floor in a quilt-like pattern where free-floating oyster larvae will attach to begin to build a new reef. Lowe’s Heroes, who are employee volunteers from Lowe’s stores in the region, will serve as “project ambassadors” to make sure attendees are constructing the oyster mats correctly, KAB explains. There also will be staff and students from the University of Central Florida and from Sunrise Elementary School in Orlando on hand to assist with mat assembly.

The 2016 National Conference will highlight the award-winning work of KAB affiliates, partnering organizations and community leaders and volunteers from across the U.S. at the annual Keep America Beautiful National Awards ceremony the evening of Monday, Feb. 1.

The 2016 Keep America Beautiful National Conference is made possible through the support of some of America’s leading companies, including: Title Sponsor Wrigley Co. Foundation; Leadership Sponsors, Altria, Lowe’s and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co.; Stewardship Sponsors, Anheuser-Busch, RAI Services Co. and Recyclebank; Strategic Sponsors, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., and the Steel Recycling Institute; and Supporting Sponsors, Foodservice Packaging Institute, Northrop Grumman, Owens-Illinois Inc., and Publix.

KAB says it is a leading national nonprofit that inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Established in 1953, KAB says it provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering in America, increase recycling in America and beautify America’s communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 community-based KAB affiliates, millions of volunteers and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials and individuals.