Elkhart County Sponsors $50,000 in Cash Prizes for Inaugural Leaf Collection Competition

GCS teams, clubs, classes, families or friends: If you are looking for a way to raise money, check out this innovative fundraiser that will also help clean up our county!

From the County:

Citizens of Elkhart County have the opportunity to clean the county during this coming fall season while also competing to win $50,000 in cash prizes. The Elkhart County Commissioners and Solid Waste Management District are sponsoring a leaf-collecting competition, where the group collecting the most leaves from unincorporated areas will win the largest portion of the $50,000 cash prize. All groups that bring in three tons of leaves are guaranteed $1,000 in cash prizes, with the rest of the prizes being allotted based on groups’ final collection total. Registration begins today and ends on August 31; the competition occurs between September 10 and November 21.

Since November 2017, plans have been forming on ways to combat the prevalence of leaf burning that occurs in unincorporated areas of Elkhart County. Smoke from burning leaves has negative impacts on public health and quality of place, especially in densely populated subdivisions. The competition is one of five pilot programs designed to address leaf burning in unincorporated areas of the county.

Bob Kronemyer, an Elkhart resident and environmental activist, said of the competition, “There is concrete momentum toward addressing outdoor burning in Elkhart County, and I applaud county government in following through on this creative effort. The more community involvement, the better outcomes for improved air quality.”

Groups of any kind may register for the competition, as long as the primary contact person resides in Elkhart County and the group is not affiliated with a for-profit business. Admittance into the competition is on a first-come-first-serve basis, with a maximum of 25 participating groups. There is no entry fee to register. Only leaves collected in unincorporated parts of Elkhart County will be accepted. A consent form for each property where leaves are collected needs to be shown at time of drop-off to ensure that leaves were collected in unincorporated locations and that the property owner gave consent. Groups will receive their prizes by February 1, 2019. All rules are included in the registration packet and can be found at https://www.elkhartcountyswmd.com/leaf-collection-competition.

For more information or to sign up, visit https://www.elkhartcountyswmd.com/leafcollection-competition. Questions can be directed to a.turner@sbenfocus.org.

1. Sign up

○ There are two eligibility criteria for groups participating in the Elkhart County Leaf Collection Competition: (1) the group must not be affiliated with a for-profit business, and (2) the primary contact person must reside in Elkhart County. ■ Helpful tip! Are you unsure if your group is eligible to participate? Email a.turner@sbenfocus.org to discuss. ■ Helpful tip! There is no limit to the size of your group. If your group is small, consider collaborating with other groups so you can collect a larger quantity of leaves. ○ All members of the group must be participating in a volunteer capacity; they CAN NOT receive compensation for their participation in the competition. ○ There is no entry fee to sign up or to participate in the competition. ○ The sign up sheet must be completed and return emailed to a.turner@sbenfocus.org on or before August 31, 2018. The competition is limited to 25 groups, first-come-first-serve, so groups are encouraged to sign up early. ■ Helpful tip! Make sure your designated “contact person” is over 18 years old. ■ Helpful tip! The sign up form asks if you’d like us to include your email on the Elkhart County SWMD Web site. This might help you identify homeowners who want their leaves collected as part of the competition. If you aren’t comfortable with having your personal email on the site, consider making a new email address specifically for the competition.

2. Collect leaves

○ Groups can collect leaves from any resident located in unincorporated Elkhart County. Groups should NOT collect leaves from incorporated areas of Elkhart County where leaf collection is already provided (including the City of Elkhart, City of Goshen, City of Nappanee, Town of Bristol, Town of Middlebury, Town of Millersburg, and Town of Wakarusa). Any groups found collecting leaves from incorporate d areas will be disqualified from the competition and will not receive any prize.■ Helpful tip! Are you unsure if a property is incorporated or not? Look at our printable or online competition map (page 9 of this document) to be sure! Also, before you collect leaves from a property, ask the property owner if their municipality provides leaf collection services. ■ Helpful tip! Use your network of family and friends to identify residents that might welcome help collecting leaves. ○ Groups may NOT charge property owners or accept payment for their work. Additionally, groups may NOT pay property owners for leaves. Any groups found charging property owners , accepting payment for their work, or paying for leaves will be disqualified from the competition and will not receive any prize.○ Before collecting leaves, groups are required to get approval from the property owner and complete the other fields on the “Property Information Form.” Any group s that DO NOT receive approval from property owners before collecting leaves are trespassing, will be disqualified from the competition, and will not receive any prize. ■ Helpful tip! Groups could have property owners fill out the “Property Information Form” in advance, saving time during the leaf collection visit. ○ Groups can collect leaves using whatever method they see fit (raking, blowing, curbside pickup, etc).

3. Bring collected leaves to the Elkhart County Landfill to be weighed

○ The official competition dates will be from September 10, 2018 to November 21, 2018. Leaves dropped off at the landfill on one of the official dates, during posted business hours, will contribute toward your group’s collection total (“Collection Total”); leaves dropped off at the landfill at any other time will not contribute toward your group’s Collection Total. ■ Helpful tip: The Elkhart County Landfill is located at 59530 County Road 7, in Elkhart. The Landfill is open Monday through Friday from 7:00am to 4:45pm, and on Saturdays from 9:00am to 11:45am. ○ When arriving at the landfill window, be sure to state that you are participating in the leaf collection competition and the name of your group. Also, give the landfill staff member your completed Property Information Forms. ○ Place loose leaves in the public leaf pile as directed by landfill staff. Landfill staff will weigh your vehicle when entering and leaving the landfill, and will record the weight of the leaves in a spreadsheet. ■ Helpful tip: Be sure to follow all instructions from landfill staff. They are here to help! ○ Only leaves shall be dropped off at the landfill’s leaf pile. Any group s found leaving bags at the landfill, or dropping off significant quantities of other waste, will be disqualified from the competition, and will not receive any prize.

4. At the end of the competition, fill out a feedback form

Feedback forms will be emailed to the contact person designated on your signup form before the competition begins ○ Please fill out feedback forms honestly and thoroughly. It will help us to make the competition better in the future! ■ Helpful tip: Don’t procrastinate. Consider filling out the feedback form as you go. ○ The feedback form must be completed and return emailed to a.turner@sbenfocus.org on or before November 30, 2018. Groups who do not complete and return feedback forms by this date will be disqualified from the competition, and will not receive any prize .

5. Receive your prize

○ All participating groups that comply with competition rules and drop off at least 3 tons of leaves (“Threshold Amount”) will receive a “threshold prize” of $1,000. ○ Groups whose Collection Totals exceed the Threshold Amount, will have their excess leaves counted toward the “grand prize.” Groups exceeding the Threshold Amount will receive a pro rated share of the “grand prize” ($50,000 minus funds distributed as threshold prizes) based on their percentage of leaves, collected during the competition, that exceed the Threshold Amount.○ Any prize money a group earns will be paid to the contact person listed on the sign up form, and sent to the address listed on the sign up form, before February 1, 2019.