PalmettoPride and the South Carolina Department of Corrections Receive National Recognition for Tree Grant Program

Columbia, SC (March 25, 2024) – The benefit of planting trees goes far beyond aesthetics. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, trees help cool the air, aid in flooding prevention, and improve community health and safety. Trees have a positive economic impact on real estate transactions, improving home values by 7% and business districts by 11%. In a recent study by the University of Michigan and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, researchers deduced there to be a 12% drop in violent crimes in areas within a half-mile of green spaces. 

Litter has been long considered a gateway crime. According to the law enforcement theories Broken Windows and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, litter and blight are key indicators that a community may be more susceptible to heightened crime rates.

PalmettoPride is dedicated to preventing litter in South Carolina and, in working through its Keep South Carolina Beautiful state affiliate status, believes that improving community safety encourages citizens to take ownership and pride in their communities which ultimately leads to less litter.

Left to Right: KAB Senior Vice President Affiliate Network & Programs, Jenny Lawson KAB President & CEO, PalmettoPride Executive Director Sarah Lyles, and PalmettoPride Grants Program Manager Sherryl Jenkins

“PalmettoPride is proud to serve as the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. We have 38 local affiliates in SC with two in the pre-certification stage. The three tenets of Keep America Beautiful are litter prevention, beautification and waste reduction,” said Sarah Lyles, Executive Director of PalmettoPride.  “Our Tree Grant is a great example of how community greening is an effective tactic of litter prevention.” 

On February 15, 2024, PalmettoPride received a Keep America Beautiful Innovation Award for the Tree Grant program, which is coordinated in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), and provides free trees for planting in public places across the state. The saplings are propagated through the SCDC’s horticulture departments, providing valuable job training to inmates. Annually, PalmettoPride coordinates the grant applications and awards trees to state and local governments, nonprofits, and various environmental groups. 

“Our staff and inmates appreciate the opportunity to work on projects that give back to the community, and planting trees helps everyone,” SCDC Director Bryan Stirling said. “We look forward to working with PalmettoPride and Keep America Beautiful in the future.”

To date, approximately 30,000 trees have been planted sequestering more than five million pounds of carbon. To learn more about PalmettoPride’s grant programs, visit


PalmettoPride is working towards a litter-free South Carolina. Created as a legislative initiative to fight litter and help beautify South Carolina by engaging citizens to take action in their communities through education, enforcement, awareness, and pickup.

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