As the St. Louis metro area continues to experience temperatures that have been warmer than usual for this time of year, the first day of winter is just days away, highlighting the importance of maintaining our environment and air quality. That’s why this month, we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on Madison County Planning & Development for their noteworthy green achievements and innovations that are having a positive effect on the environment and helping clear the air in the region.
During the 2020 St. Louis Green Business Challenge, Madison County Planning & Development earned the esteemed title of Challenge Champion for completing work with the Leader scorecard and committing to continued implementation of deeper sustainability strategies. The organization also elected to develop and report on an Innovation Project – Madison County Clean Communities – to promote cleaner neighborhoods, businesses and organizations.
The project is modeled after the Riverbend Trash Tag Challenge, which started when a group of Alton area residents — in partnership with Alton Main Street, the Sierra Club Piasa Palisades Group and The Nature Institute — launched a social media campaign focused on reducing litter in their community. Madison County Clean Communities (MCCC) seeks to expand the scope and scale of this existing framework to serve all of Madison County. As a result, Madison County Planning & Development launched the Madison County Clean Communities Facebook group last fall, gaining over 600 members in the first six weeks. Since then, the group has also identified over 100 individuals willing to step up as community leaders, along with over 40 potential partner groups and organizations.
“Madison County Clean Communities launched online in September, and we’re off to a great start. Community input and brainstorming processes clearly showed one thing: this program’s top value is our community members,” said Andi Campbell Yancey, Sustainability Coordinator for Madison County Planning & Development. “So many dedicated individuals throughout the county want to make a difference but aren’t sure how. MCCC aims to unite those individuals behind a common cause and connect them to resources and opportunities for sustainable action. We are so excited to grow this initiative and see what we can accomplish in the years to come.”
To further guide the program’s creation and implementation efforts, Madison County Planning & Development sustainability staff created a survey to gauge public perception on littering in the area and to identify additional community leaders, partner organizations and target areas. In all, they received more than 200 survey responses from Madison County residents to help improve the program.
Another impressive initiative that earned Madison County Clean Communities recognition in the Challenge was a focus on public outreach and education about the harmful impacts litter has on local communities, the environment and air quality. MCCC elevated its anti-litter messaging through their Small Green Steps Newsletter, social media accounts, Green Schools Program, press releases and more to do their share for cleaner air and reduce their overall carbon footprint. Moreover, MCCC has also partnered with Heartlands Conservancy to collaborate on wetlands and watershed cleanups in 2021.
For additional information on Madison County Planning & Development and how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, subscribe to their weekly E-Newsletter or visit stlouisgreenchallenge.com. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.