GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis in Bloom representatives returned home from the American in Bloom Symposium and Awards ceremony in Arroyo Grande, Calif., last weekend with perhaps one of their most prestigious awards to date.
The latest award marks Gallipolis as a national small town champion.
This year, GIB scored 824 out of 1,000 points. Last year, the organization scored 769 out of 1,000 points. Competitors in the America in Bloom competition are graded on six categories: floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation and overall impression. Gallipolis rated its highest in heritage preservation and floral displays.
While maintaining on the strength of what GIB has already accomplished, GIB Volunteer Coordinator Kim Canaday says the group will likely focus next year’s efforts in urban forestry and environmental efforts. Canaday said judges noted that Gallipolis had some extremely old trees the organization should look into studying more closely to determine just how old they think they are. One such tree judges noted exists near the Our House tavern and could be of historical significance. Canaday said GIB may also attempt to push for stronger recycling programs in the near future.
“Heritage trees aren’t quite as eye-catching as the floral displays,” Canaday said,” but they are important for people. There have been studies done that say landscapes and trees actually lessen the stress in people’s lives and that can even effect crime rates.”
Canaday, and GIB in general, feel one’s environment can affect the mood of a community as well as its behavior. America in Bloom’s has said its competition “envisions communities across the country as welcoming and vibrance places to live, work and play — benefiting from colorful plants and trees; enjoying clean environments; celebrating heritage; and planting pride through volunteerism.”
GIB President Bev Dunkle joked that the best part of going to the symposium was coming back “winners,” but also noted visiting the symposium was a great learning experience. Both ladies emphasized the natural helpfulness of other communities taking part in the competition and how communities and gardeners would freely exchange ideas on a frequent basis.
GIB has taken home many awards over the years as part of its returning participation in America in Bloom. Because of its continual success, it competes in the Circle of Champions, a category reserved for successful returning communities. Of 39 other competing cities, GIB walked home as champs. The group also had special nominations in Best Floral Displays, even against settlements with far larger populations. GIB also had a special nomination in Best Program for Engaging Children.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.