- Associated Press - Saturday, February 20, 2016

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - There are 282 public libraries in the 95 Tennessee counties.

This month all 282 received a new addition to their respective collections.

The Keep Tennessee Beautiful Foundation recently donated copies of “Nancy and Sluggo Love Tennessee: A Story About Keeping Tennessee Beautiful” in order to educate children across the state about the need for recycling and what littering does to the environment.

Published Sept. 15, 2015, the 45-page, full-color, hard-bound children’s book, illustrated and written by Guy Gilchrist, highlights Tennessee’s most popular tourist attractions through the eyes of Nancy and her friends, who tour the state in their homemade recycled rocket, emphasizing the importance of preserving natural resources by not littering and cleaning up the environment, according to a news release.

Each library received a letter along with the book from Keep Tennessee Beautiful Executive Director Missy Marshall, encouraging all to host a reading of “Nancy and Sluggo Love Tennessee” during the month of March in conjunction with Keep Tennessee Beautiful Month, as proclaimed by Gov. Bill Haslam.

“I am proud to call Tennessee home,” Gilchrist said in a release on the Nancy and Sluggo website. “This state is one of the most beautiful in the nation. The way to keep and preserve Tennessee’s natural beauty is by teaching our children the importance of both recycling and not littering. ‘Nancy and Sluggo Love Tennessee’ does this while also educating children about the wonderful attractions and places that make Tennessee special.”

To purchase a copy of the book, visit www.keeptnbeautiful.org.

Jodi Jacobs, Keep Jackson Beautiful coordinator with the City of Jackson, said she first heard of the book last year during a meeting of affiliates of Keep Tennessee Beautiful.

“We try to go to the schools and read when we can,” Jacobs said. “This will be our new book to take. In between the affiliates and the libraries that will really help to get the word out.”

In addition to March being Keep Tennessee Beautiful month, March 1 is the beginning of the Great American Cleanup, which runs through the end of May.

Jacobs said they are partnering with Jackson’s Month of Miracles, which also kicks off March 1, for local cleanup projects across the city. Volunteers will sign up in March for projects to be completed in April. There is also an Earth Day celebration planned for April 23. Find more information at https://miraclesinjackson.com/

“The Great American Cleanup encompasses all of those different aspects of Keep America Beautiful,” Jacobs said. “We’ll do cleanups all the month of April.”

To help promote the Great American Cleanup, Mickey Utley, a musician from Haywood County, recorded a new version of his single “You, Me, and Tennessee” at Jaxon Record Studios in downtown Jackson on Jan. 21. Utley will perform the song live as part of the governor’s official kick-off party at the new Bass Pro Shop in the Pyramid in downtown Memphis on Feb. 29.

“We are very excited to partner with Keep Tennessee Beautiful on this song,” said Charles “Chuck” Freeman, owner of Tuff Duck Music, the record label that recorded the new version of the Utley single. “It is a special song, and their organization plays such a special role in making Tennessee a better place.”

“It is my hope that this song will inspire and instill a sense of pride in fellow Tennesseans,” Marshall, the executive director of Keep Tennessee Beautiful, said in a news release. “It takes all of us to make our state a cleaner, greener, safer place to live, work and play in.”


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