Just outside Nashville, Tennessee lies the sixth most visited of all U.S. Corps of Engineers lakes. More than 6.5 million visitors each year boat, ski, barbeque and camp there… and they leave tons of their garbage behind. In fact, the Corps of Engineers estimates more than 100 tons of lake trash amidst 24 islands and 213 miles of shoreline, with more at the bottom of the lake.
We identified a necessary two-pronged campaign against trash at Percy Priest Lake. The first positioned a series of trash pickup events as fun, community activity. With Waste Management Inc. and Bridgestone Americas, we partnered with two of the country’s largest corporations, and established a base camp at the city’s popular water park. The community turned out with overwhelming support; Grammy winning recording artist Kathy Mattea even supported the effort with a free concert for all who got involved! Our second parallel effort involved identifying the many types of pollution and violators, the numerous land access points, and the various entities we’d work with for longer term solutions.
Our ongoing campaign, now in its fourth year, has become the largest ever on any lake in the U.S. that is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Together, we gifted more than 4,000 collective work-hours to the environment and filled commercial-sized dumpster after commercial-sized dumpster with reclaimed trash – bottles, cans, plastics, coolers, tires, Styrofoam, chairs & BBQ grills, a full-sized traffic light, an office copier, a residential air conditioner, even a mannequin arm. (Seriously, who goes to the lake with a mannequin?) So far, we’ve reclaimed more garbage than an average shopping mall produces in two months! Our corporate partners are consistently blown away by the media support, gaining serious bump in newspaper and television coverage at the time of each cleanup event. We have amassed countless community advocates and a volunteer base nearly 1,000 strong – imagine what a similar initiative could do for your brand, too.