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A short synopsis relating to how America in Bloom was birthed follows;
A movement was started in France after World War II to make towns and villages bloom again. The movement was named “Villes Et Villages Fleuris” or France in Bloom. The French movement was made official in 1959 and presently enjoys the involvment of over 11,000 local councils, villages and/or communities. This program is run by the Department of Tourism and Agriculture and focuses on Trees, Shrubs and Flowers and its goals are Tidiness, Environment, Flowers and Tourism. (www.villes-et-villages-fleuris.com/GB/thecompetition.htm)
There is a similar program operating in Ireland that is over 50 years old named Tidy Towns of Ireland. It currently has over 700 communities involved and it is government run by the Department of Environment, Heritage, and local Government. Its focus is on a broad criteria related to Tidiness and Litter Control. Its goals are a Cleaner Environment and Tourism Investment. (www.tidytowns.ie)
Britain in Bloomhas existed since 1963 and was started by “Tidy Britian Group”. This program currently involves over 1,400 communities in different population categories and has regional as well as national competitions. Their focus is on Landscape, Environment, and Community Involvement. The goals are Pride, Volunteerism, Litter Control and Tourism. (www.rhs.org.uk/britaininbloom)
Communities in Bloom began in Canadain 1995 and started with 29 communities. It currently has over 500 communities involved and is a non-profit organization with participation by Parks and Recreation groups and there are provincial and national competitions. They incorporate 8 different criteria in evaluating or judging the involved communities including the following: Tidiness, Environmental Awareness, Community Involvement, Heritage, Urban Foresty, Landscape, Floral Displays and Turf and Groundcover. Their goals are the Environment, Heritage and Community Involvement. (www.communitiesinbloom.ca)
America in Bloombegan in 2001 as a pilot project with Canada’s Communities in Bloom. The American version of this program uses the same 8 criteria when judging a community; Tidiness, Environmental Awareness, Community Involvement, Heritage, Urban Forestry, Landscape, Floral Displays and Turf and Groundcover. The goals of the American program are the Environment, Heritage and Community Involvement. (www.americainbloom.org)
In the eight years the America in Bloom program has existed or been active in the US 172 cities have been judged in 38 states and over 32 million people have been affected. In 2009 there are 29 cities being visited and judged by the volunteer AIB judges.
America in Bloom won the Urban Beautification Award for 2009 from the American Horticultural Society.
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America in Bloom is simply an independent, non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization encouraing nationwide beautification programs, personal and community involvement, educational programs, and the challenge of a friendly competition among participating communities across the United States.
America in Bloom is about:
Improving the Quality of Life
Learning and Leading
The Benefits of participation include:
Civic pride, a cleanermore colorful community, community involvement, cooperation between government, business, private citizens and communities, economic development, increased property values, decreased vandalism, valuable feedback from AIB judges, a new sense of “Pride of Place”, Increased Recycling, helps build a clearer heritage and legacy, safer environmental practices, sustainable development, “Best Practices” blueprint for action, increased tourism as the community becomes a destination and participation provides a purpose for community groups to gather together and work toward a worthy common goal.
The America in Bloom focus is on: Floral Displays, Tidiness, Landscaped Areas, Urban Forestry, Heritage Conservation, Community Involvement, Turf and Groundcovers and Environmental Effort.
For more information about the America in Bloom program please look at www.AmericainBloom.org or call (614) 487-1117.
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My name is Patrick Bones, APLD and I am a professionally certified landscape designer. I am certified by the international organization named the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (www.apld.com).
My purpose in creating this blog is to share my experiences as I volunteer as a judge for the organization called “America In Bloom”. (www.americainbloom) Last year was my first year traveling as a judge for AIB after receiving training and it was a great adventure. I traveld with another judge, Bruce Riggs from New York state and we visited five cities within the 15,000 to 25,000 population range. We started our judging trips in late April of 2008. Our first visit was to Stuart, Florida for a couple of days then we traveled to Colleyville, Texas. After a couple of days in Texas we flew to Artesia, California. We then both flew back to our respective homes to continue to write our Evaluation reports and prepare for the next AIB trip.
On the first of May, 2008 Bruce and I flew into Arroyo Grande, California via San Luis Obispo airport where we spent a couple of delightful days touring this lovely city. We then each returned home. At the end of July, 2008 we both flew into Northfield, Minnesota to tour and judge.
Each one of the five cities Bruce and I visited in 2008 were unigue and certainly delightful in different ways. Cities of this size are normally not visited by persons looking for a vacation spot to visit but I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent in each of these cities and the most enjoyable aspect is meeting the people who have worked hard in making improvements in the cities they love as these are the types of positive people one enjoys learning from and befriending. Even though I would never have thought to visit any of these five cities before judging them I can honestly state they are most remarkable and I would be happy to return to each of them and to take my family with me to experience them as I did. That in itself speaks highly of each of these cities.
This year (2009) I am scheduled to travel to four cities in the 20,000 to 50,000 population range. I will be traveling with Katy Moss Warner. The cities we are scheduled to tour and judge are as follows; Junction City, Kansas, Collierville, Tennessee, Michigan City, Indiana and Westfield, New Jersey. I am looking forward to traveling this year, touring some wonderful new cities and meeting some wonderful people. This blog is intended to record and share some of the unique experiences a judge encounters when traveling for America In Bloom.