Children are back in the classroom yet plants know the summer sun still shines. The grass waits to be mowed as gardens burst with produce. Yards take time and energy. Keep Alliance Beautiful is hosting a yard cleanup contest to recognize that effort.

The contest is open to all Box Butte County residents. To enter, take before and after photos then email them to keepalliancebeautiful@gmail.com along with your name and address. Submissions will be accepted until October 15. KAB will judge the entries and award prizes.

This is not a “yard of the week” contest as may be found in some hometown newspapers. We are not looking for a few tweaks to an already well-groomed and landscaped green space. Photos should show the transformation of a yard that needs attention.

KAB Executive Director Kathy Worley emphasized she understands people often do not have time, money and resources to adequately care for their yards. Anyone needing help with mowing may seek assistance for no charge through the local Handyman program. Contact Angie at 762-1293 on how to receive help with yardwork. She also has information for individuals who want to work for the program.

KAB is promoting cleaning up your space through this contest. I believe a tidy community helps improve the quality of living for residents and makes a good impression on visitors. In this instance, taking part in our contest could be a prime opportunity to invite family, friends and neighbors to help. Make a pitcher of lemonade or even use the cleanup as an excuse for an end-of-summer barbecue. A couple lawnmowers, a trimmer, maybe a rake or two and that space can look spiffy.

Residential property is often like a coin, there are two sides. Depending on my mood or selecting a route with less traffic, I like to walk and ride down alleys in Alliance. I would not say backyards appear to need more work overall though there is a different character than projected by the front yard. This contest is for any yard -- front, back or side. So, if you have been able to focus on one area this season and not been able to address another space this may be a good time to show how much difference a day’s work can make.

Third graders in the KAB Black Ops program will be learning how to help with yard cleanups from Kari Bargen. She will teach them skills such as how to tell what is trash and what’s not, such as items that can be recycled.

For information on the cleanup contact the KAB office at 762-1729.

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