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Melissa Steele started out as a volunteer who organized a local group to clean up the banks of, and the roads adjacent to, Rose Creek in Oconee County, Georgia. The Rose Creek Stewardship is an official member of Keep Oconee County Beautiful's Adopt-a-Mile program.
About four years ago, Melissa became an auxiliary member of KOCBC, attending many meetings and participating in recycling, cleanup and other events on a higher level than many full board members. In 2013, she was among the inaugural recipients of KOCBC's highest award, the John McNally Environmental Stewardship Award.
Melissa joined the board of KOCBC in July of 2014 and became even more active than before. She is a creative, passionate and inspiring advocate for spreading the word that while litter costs taxpayer dollars, recycling pays by creating jobs in our communities.
Melissa has been involved over the last 5 years with the Great American Cleanup in Oconee, chairing the event once and receiving KOCBC's Great American Cleanup Hero Award twice (once as an auxiliary member and once as a board member). Most impressively, Melissa is a true nature lover who always has her boots on, going places others won't go to clean up litter, whether in the weeds along Highway 15 or wading in sections of Rose Creek. She is not afraid to get her hands dirty even if it means spending hours sorting recyclables out of bags of litter at a GAC event.
Approximately two years ago , Melissa began contacting interested students in the local high schools and formed a Youth Advisory Council for our affiliate called the Clean Community Coalition. With Melissa's inspiration, one of the goals of the group is to make Oconee County the "cleanest county in Georgia." The other goal is to have local businesses sign recycling pledges.
Melissa is also a visual artist who has created a beautiful exhibit showing the interconnection between our lives and nature: http://www.mechanted.com/.
Keep America Beautiful has a strong national network of affiliates and partners that work with millions of volunteers who take action in their communities.