From left, Northside Elementary School STEM Club members Luke Chambless, 9; Hudson Nestlehutt, 8; and Betsy Hoffman, 9, admire their handiwork in front of the Newnan Carnegie Library after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday for “April Showers Bring May Flowers.”

By REBECCA LEFTWICH

As spring begins in earnest, visitors to downtown Newnan may notice some unusual flowers sprouting from planters around the square.

“April Showers Bring May Flowers” is Keep Newnan Beautiful’s environmental art installation, which was unveiled Monday in honor of Earth Day. The project features a dozen displays of flowers created from recycled materials by Coweta County students, who used everything from plastic cutlery, CDs and cups to water bottles – along with paint, glue and their imaginations – in their designs.

“Environmental education is a huge part of the Keep Newnan Beautiful program, along with encouraging and supporting proper recycling,” said Page Beckwith, director of Keep Newnan Beautiful.

The art installation project partnered each participating school with a local business sponsor, and those schools will now have the opportunity to apply to KNB for environmental education grants for their schools or classrooms. Each sponsor donated $250, to create an environmental education scholarship fund. Schools can use their grants toward educational efforts like school gardens, educational materials, speakers and field trips, Beckwith said.

“It’s an opportunity to feel good about partnering together with local schools to bring attention to recycling and how important it is,” she said. “Some of the things the students did are pretty creative, and this is something we can do every year. Hopefully, more schools will want to get involved once they hear about it.”

Keep Newnan Beautiful commission members generated the idea for “April Showers Bring May Flowers” in an effort to strengthen the organization’s environmental education component by incorporating local schools, while also highlighting the importance of recycling, Beckwith said. The Leadership Coweta Class of 2019 helped build the planter bases from plans designed by Terry Love of the Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity construction team, and Lowe’s of Newnan donated the materials.

Participating schools are Northside Elementary (Blickle), Coweta Charter Academy (Buffalo Rock), Moreland Elementary (Aimee McBrier), Newnan High (Joy Barnes), Ruth Hill Elementary (Newnan Utilities), Welch Elementary (Niagara Bottling), Poplar Road Elementary (Renee Horton), Elm Street Elementary (Tree Protection Supply Company), Evans Middle and Newnan Crossing Elementary (Waste Industries), Western Elementary (United Bank) and Eastside Elementary (Yamaha Motor Manufacturing).

“The response has been really fabulous,” Beckwith said. “The teachers and kids have been really excited, and the businesses have enjoyed being involved.”