Beautification Committee

2024 Beautiful York County Calendar Photo Contest

The York County Beautification Committee is focused on a green, sustainable environment.  The committee invites you, our citizens, to share your photos displaying sustainability goals in York County for the chance to appear in the 2024 Beautiful York County calendar.  This includes planting native plants and trees, reducing waste and plastic pollution, recycling, clean waterways, and energy efficiency.

Photos are judged by the York County Beautification Committee based on the quality of the image and its adherence to the calendar’s theme. Thirteen winners will be selected to appear in the calendar – one for each month and the cover - with each winner receiving $100!

All York County citizens are eligible to participate by submitting up to two photos (submissions must be made by individuals who are not photographers by trade, and business photos are not accepted).

Submissions must include an address for verification of residency. Addresses will not be listed in the calendar. Individuals submitting on behalf of a minor should list both their name and the minor’s name.

The deadline to submit your photos is Sunday, October 1. This contest is open only to York County residents.  Photos must be original pieces, and must not contain watermarks, screen credits, or other embellishments.  Up to two photos may be submitted from each individual. Each photo submission should include:

  • Citizen’s name and address (Individual’s name is required, no business names will be included).
  • A short description of the photo, including how it represents environmental sustainability.
  • Location in York County where the photo was taken (this information will be included in the calendar, but will not include specific addresses unless they are public areas).
  • An email address and telephone number where the citizen can be contacted.

Only digital JPEG photos will be accepted. Photos must be landscape (horizontal) format (no larger than 11 inches wide x 9 inches tall) and at least 300 dpi. Vertical photos and files larger than 20 megabytes will not be accepted.

Please do not include photos of people.  These will not be considered in the contest.

Online submissions may be made here.  Individual’s whose photo is chosen for the calendar will receive a photo credit and two copies of the calendar to share.

By entering the contest, you agree to give the York County Beautification Committee rights to publish your photo in the 2024 calendar and to use it to promote the calendar and contest in the future in print and social media.

Helpful Hints:

  • Use the highest resolution setting on your digital camera.
  • Photograph wildlife in their natural environment/native habitat.
  • Photos should reflect sustainability in the areas where York County citizens live.


Can I mail a CD/DVD/prints? Sorry, but no. With the volume of entries we receive, the time it would take to go through loading or scanning files makes this impractical for us.

Can I send a link to my online gallery? Only photos directly submitted will be considered. Entries containing links to online galleries will be disqualified.

Are black and white photographs acceptable?  Yes, as long as they apply to the standards set above.

I don’t have Photoshop, how do I adjust the file size? There are other applications that you can use, but explaining how to use them is outside our scope. Much information about photo editing can be found online. 

How do I make my files 300 dpi? You will need some photo editing software, such as Photoshop. The photos must be 300 dpi at approximately 9×11 in size.

My photo is a vertical, can I enter it? Our calendar is oriented in landscape format.  So, all calendar images are run horizontal. So, we cannot accept photos that are vertical.

I can’t decide which photo to send, can I send more? Individuals may submit two photos only.

Can more than one person from the same household enter? Yes.

Is there an age limit? No, but work by minors must be submitted by an adult. See the rules above.

Can I add an artistic signature to my photo? Sorry, no.  This calendar is to showcase the work of amateur photographers.

Native Plants
The Beautification Committee encourages gardening to include plants that are native to the Southeast Virginia region. Plants that are native to Hampton Roads have evolved in this specific area, are attractive and relatively easy to acquire and maintain, and offer various benefits to the local wildlife and environment. Our committee can share this information with York citizens, who are dedicated to protecting our beautiful County environment! 

Learn how to restore biodiversity and ecosystem function with a Homegrown National Park.

This is an image of native plants

Community Cleanup Partnership Programs

Learn more about Team Up 2 Clean Up, Adopt-A-Spot, and more.


Learn more about a composting program in Upper York County.

Natural Cleaning Products
Learn how to make your own laundry detergent, or switch to refillable, sustainable products.


Want some ideas on how you can recycle or repurpose over 200 household items?  Check out this guide from Personal Creations, an online site specializing in one-of-a-kind personalized gifts.  If you have any questions regarding local best practices, please contact the Waste Management/Recycling Facility at (757) 890-3780.

This is an image from the Personal Creations Recycling Guide

Choose to Refuse (Single-Use Plastic)

First, what is single-use plastic? It’s plastic that’s intended to be used only once before it’s thrown away. That includes products such as plastic grocery bags, straws and coffee stirrers, most food packaging, Styrofoam to-go containers and much, much more.

When we use single-use plastic products, we’re making a bad problem even worse.

  • Did you know that in the next ten years, the plastic in our oceans is expected to triple?
  • Did you know that if we don’t change our behaviors NOW, in thirty years our oceans will have more plastic than fish?
  • Did you know that right now, there are more microplastics in our waters than there are stars in the Milky Way?
  • Did you know that a plastic bag or take-out container can be that harmful? It can. It is.
  • Did you know that when you choose to refuse single-use products, you increase the chance that our planet can recover from plastic overuse? Let’s all do our part and, together, we can make a difference.

Challenge yourself to get drastic and refuse to use single-use plastic. Choose a reusable or recyclable product instead.

Clean Business Awards Program 

The York County Clean Business Program recognizes County businesses that recycle, and set an example for other businesses as a good environmental steward.  Exemplary environmental behavior may include, but is not limited to, keeping an attractive and litter-free storefront, participating in cleanup events with employees and the community, or providing education on native gardening, wildlife, or environmental protection.  Once per quarter, the Beautification Committee selects a County business to receive the Clean Business award.  The business receives a letter of thanks from the Beautification Committee and an award sign to display on their property for the quarter. Nominate a York County Business

Trex Recycling Challenge

The York County Beautification Committee collects plastic bags and wraps to participate in the Recycling Challenge, hosted by The Trex Company.  The Trex Company has hosted the Recycling Challenge since 2006, with the objective of educating public on the importance of plastic film recycling through school and community recycling programs. Participants collect plastic bags and film with the goal of collecting or exceeding 500 pounds of plastic in a 6-month period. If the goal is met the group is awarded an earth-friendly Trex bench, created from recycled plastic bags and film.  This is an ongoing program, and donates the benches to local schools and public county areas.

This is an image of a Trex Bench at the Tabb Library

Plastic bags can be delivered to the Tabb Library, the Yorktown Library, or the drop-off recycling center at 145 Goodwin Neck Road, Monday through Saturday, 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  When delivering plastic bags, please make sure they are contained in some way, such as a box or paper/plastic bag.  

The following items are being collected (clean, dry and free of food and residue, please):

  • Grocery bags
  • Bread bags
  • Case overwrap
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Newspaper sleeves
  • Ice bags
  • Wood pellet bags (clean of all debris)
  • Ziplock and other reclosable bags
  • Produce bags
  • Bubble wrap
  • Salt bags
  • Cereal bags

Hampton Roads Green Learning Guides

Green Learning is a free educational guide designed for third and sixth grade students. Written according to Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) guidelines by a team of experts who work in the region’s public works and public utilities departments, this resource connects students to their environment by combining educational information with colorful maps, interesting facts, and interactive activities to teach concepts such as watershed education, pollution prevention, stormwater management, water conservation, and resource management.  

Teacher’s Guide
An accompanying teacher’s guide has also been developed to enhance the use of Green Learning in the classroom. The teacher’s guide includes suggested resources and additional educational activities, and identifies the SOLs met by each section of Green Learning.

Green Learning was created by, a public education and outreach program that encourages environmental stewardship among all residents here in southeastern Virginia. It is funded by the 17 local governments in Hampton Roads and administered through the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC).  Your contacts in York County are listed below. Please feel free to use these individuals as a resource (or even for a class presentation!) in the future:

Recycling & Beautification: Samantha McNeil
Stormwater Education: Joe Brogan
Fats, Oils, and Grease: Amy Zieman, Randy Estness
Water Awareness: Joe Brogan

Mini Grants
We also wanted to let you know about an Environmental Education Mini Grant available to your classrooms. offers grants of up to $500 for environmentally-themed projects and may be used to fund a portion of or an entire project. All Hampton Roads school teachers (K-12) are eligible to apply. More information is available at:

BayStar Homes 
The BayStar Homes program is sponsored by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, better known as This regional organization recognizes homes who pledge to make a conscious effort to conserve and protect water in their homes.  BayStar Homes will receive a flag to advertise their commitment to their community, and information from their specific locality.

BayStar Business 

Like BayStar Homes, the BayStar Business program recognizes businesses who make a similar pledge to protecting the water in their area.  Water conservation techniques are adopted by these businesses, and they are provided with the tools to share their education with the business community.

Want to find out how the Williamsburg Area Transit Authority helps our community?  Williamsburg Area Transit Authority (WATA) provides a transportation system to citizens and visitors of James City County, the City of Williamsburg, and the Bruton District of York County. WATA operates 8 fixed-routes and 3 specialty routes, including the Williamsburg Trolley, William & Mary Green Line, and Surry Line.