By Sarah Richardson
After winning the America in Bloom competition in 2019, Lewisburg has been invited to participate in the international version of the competition: Communities in Bloom- International Challenge. This competition combines winners from Communities in Bloom, Britain in Bloom, America in Bloom, Tidy Towns of Ireland, Japan in Bloom, Comuni Fioriti (Italy), Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and other countries competing with each other based on population categories.
Recent America in Bloom wins for Lewisburg include the top award in the Circle of Champions Small-Sized Cities category in 2017, the Coolest Downtown Special Award in 2018, and the Eye Popping Pots Special Award in 2019, as well as a Special Recognition for Community Involvement at the 2019 America in Bloom Symposium and an overall win in the 1,200- 4,000 Population Category that same year.
Lewisburg has entered the International – Small Category this year, and will be up against the following small towns: Glaslough Tidy Towns, County Monaghan, Ireland; Comune di Ingria, Turin, Italy; Municipality of Velika Polana, Pomurje, Slovenia; City of Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada; and the Town of Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada.
Due to Covid-19, the Communities in Bloom competition was postponed for two years. Now, two judges will be evaluating the Coolest Small Town in America on Wednesday, July 13 based on community appearance, environmental action, heritage conservation, tree management, landscaped areas, and plant and floral displays, with community involvement being taken into consideration in all criteria. The judges will meet with local officials and citizens, and visit community green spaces. Lewisburg will host the judges from July 12 through July 14.
“The Lewisburg in Bloom Committee hopes that residents of Lewisburg will feel as much pride as we do about Lewisburg being invited to participate in the international Communities in Bloom competition,” said Lewisburg in Bloom Coordinator Shannon Beatty. “Residents, businesses, and the City all need to work hard to make Lewisburg shine for the judges visit in July. Let’s work together to look better than we ever have.”
Participating municipalities are invited to attend the 2022 National and International Awards Ceremonies along with the Symposium on Parks & Grounds, which will be held in Victoria, British Columbia Canada from October 20-23, 2022.
About Communities in Bloom:
Vision: To inspire all communities to enhance the quality of life and our environment through people and plants in order to create community pride.
Mission: We are a volunteer and partnership-driven organization that uses a multi-tiered competitive evaluation process to foster community strength, involvement and continuous improvement. This is accomplished by nurturing environmental sustainability, enhancements of green spaces, and heritage conservation, in cultural and natural environments encompassing municipal, residential, commercial, and institutional spaces.
Values: Integrity – Respect – Collaboration – Excellence – Accountability
Diversity and Inclusion Statement: CiB is a volunteer and partnership-driven charitable organization that inspires all communities to enhance the quality of life and our environment through people and plants in order to create community pride. We strive to ensure that we are a collaborative and inclusive organization where all people are welcomed and can feel comfortable, respected, and valued.
“Growing Great Places Together” is our slogan, and it captures the essence of the program.
History: Established with the guidance of Britain in Bloom, Tidy Towns of Ireland and Villes et Villages Fleuris de France, Communities in Bloom held its first edition in 1995 and 29 participating municipalities were honored at the first awards ceremonies on Parliament Hill. The program now includes hundreds of communities across the country and an international challenge involving communities from the United States, Asia and several European countries allows participants to compete internationally.
Program: The program consists of communities receiving information and being evaluated either provincially or nationally by a volunteer jury of trained professionals on the accomplishments of their entire community (municipal, private, corporate and institutional sectors, citizens) on six key criteria: Community Appearance, Environmental Action, Heritage Conservation, Tree Management, Landscape and Plant & Floral Displays.
Benefits: Participating communities unanimously agree! Growth in civic pride, positive sense of community, and tangible improvements generated by their efforts are immediately felt. Communities in Bloom is a community program where everyone wins. It is a citizen led, community economic development program, with a Return on Investment that is measurable, predictable and accountable. An invaluable information exchange network also allows communities to share accomplishments, best practices and projects. All participants are showcased on www.communitiesinbloom.ca which highlights the communities, features in-depth articles and provides educational content. There are also promotional opportunities through special initiatives and events.
National Symposium on Parks and Grounds: Held in conjunction with the annual national awards ceremonies, this event is a unique opportunity for elected officials, parks and grounds professionals and community volunteers to learn and share about current issues, trends and challenges not only in horticulture and gardening, but in community tourism and projects, environmental awareness, and much more. Workshops and awards ceremonies are also held in all provinces throughout the year.
The Communities in Bloom Foundation, established to support the educational aspect of its activities, is dedicated to funding, developing and disseminating education and awareness to a wide audience on the value, improvement, importance and sustainable development of green spaces and natural environment in Canadian society. The foundation also awards bursaries to students in horticulture/environment programs.
Within the context of climate change and environmental concerns, communities involved in the Communities in Bloom program can be proud of their efforts, which provide real and meaningful environmental solutions and benefit all of society.