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New KSBB coordinator - Charly Kinship to lead sustainability efforts, environmental concerns
Greater Statesboro Cleanup is set for April 28
Charly Kinship
Charly Kinship, the new Keep Statesboro Bulloch Beautiful coordinator and an established advocate for “earth-friendly” practices, has decorated a wall of her city office with a friendly earth. - photo by AL HACKLE/Staff

Charly Kinship, although new as Keep Statesboro Bulloch Beautiful coordinator, already embodied the role of an environmentally conscious promoter of sustainability and less-wasteful living. She founded the Free Market in the Boro and until very recently operated an emphatically earth-friendly local business, Kinship Endeavors.

Having started work in the KSBB role March 18, she is the third coordinator since the former Keep Bulloch Beautiful was relaunched under city sponsorship and added “Statesboro” to its name in 2017. Previous KSBB Coordinator Amanda Ross Clements led the agency for three years before departing last fall and now has a job with the Chatham County government. Keep Statesboro Bulloch Beautiful is a Keep America Beautiful affiliate and there’s an active KSBB Advisory Board, but Kinship is a full-time Statesboro city government employee. Her office is in the Public Works Department building on Braswell Street.

“I do seminars about conscious consumerism to teach people to make more conscious selections in the grocery stores, so, to choose items that are glass, metal or paper, as opposed to plastic, and, you know, I hold recycling or upcycling workshops where we take things that are otherwise known as trash and we make crafts,” Kinship said, describing things she already did before taking this job.

“I was part of the Fix-it Friday and we made windchimes out of cat pans,” she said, laughing about this example, “and I just teach people about minimalism and sustainability.”


It’s Earth Month

Now it’s April, a prime time for environmentally-conscious activities. Earth Day is officially April 22, a Monday when many people will be at work or in school. But KSBB will be meeting the public during Arts Fest, on Sweetheart Circle at the Georgia Southern campus on Saturday, April 20, and then will coordinate volunteers for a community spring-cleaning, the Greater Statesboro Cleanup, April 28.

“We will be doing our Greater Statesboro Cleanup as part of the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup,” Kinship said. “Our local effort … will focus on the five zones as we’ve identified around Statesboro. That is on Sunday, April 28 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.”

Statesboro City Councilwoman Paulette Chavers, right, and volunteer Yevette McCall are shown participating in a past Great American Cleanup held in Statesboro. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file

She will be working with the KSBB Board on further details, such as where the cleanup will be headquartered.

But first, during Arts Fest, Kinship and helpers will provide planting pots for children to decorate and show them how to plant their choice of fruit or vegetable seeds.

Also, during the city’s Downtown Live concert series, beginning April 18 and with seven more concerts through September, KSBB will participate in a way intended to help establish a Kids Zone area, with literature and games on how to be eco-friendly, she said.

Kindship and the KSBB Board will carry forward some programs started under Clements’ watch, such as grant-funded water quality testing and cleanup activities for Little Lots Creek in association with the Ogeechee Riverkeeper organization.

In addition to the KSBB Board, the city hosts two other environment-related panels, the Greener Boro Commission and the Tree  Board. Kinship, who had served on the Greener Boro Commission for nearly a year, can no longer be a voting member while KSBB coordinator but will still attend its meetings, as well as those of the Tree Board and KSBB Board, she said.


Her background

Originally from Valdosta, Kinship has lived in a number of  places  around the country, including Athens, Georgia, where she  worked for five years as an administrative specialist in the  University of Georgia’s Animal  Health Research Center. She also helped run an institute for plant breeding, she said.

Besides attaining two associate degrees, one in anthropology and one in business administration, from the University of North Georgia, she took a number of courses and trainings during her work in Athens and became a certified grant writer as well.

“I took an environmental science class while I was doing my anthropology program and became more of an environmental advocate at that point,” Kinship said.

She says she spent 28 years in “supply chain and business management” and so has experience working with regulations and coordinating programs. She moved to Bulloch about three years ago with her teenage daughter.


Other endeavors

Kinship was working remotely for an Ayurvedic (natural health) products company when she was downsized from that job in April 2023.

Later last year, she founded Kinship Endeavors, “a storefront where I’ve offered low- and no-waste packaging to help reduce waste in our area, specifically plastic waste,” she said.

Customers could bring in their own containers, or pick up some of the store’s glass jars donated by people in the community, and fill them with personal or home cleaning supplies, such as bodywash, hand soap, laundry soap or household cleaner, and return to reuse these containers in the store’s “bulk refillery.” Kinship Endeavors, which was beside the Walker Pharmacy on Northside Drive, also offered herbal products and “more earth-friendly tools that are made  of bamboo, coconut  or  agave fiber, as opposed to plastic and nylon,” she said.

Kinship had over 30 artisans represented through her store who refurbished “eco-friendly” real wood furniture or metal or glass items or made things such as natural self-care products, she said. But on Wednesday, April 10, she posted a notice on Facebook stating that the store is permanently closed “due to unforeseen circumstances.” Phoned about this, she said this was because of difficulty having help to operate the store while she does the KSBB work.

But Kinship plans to continue her involvement with Free Market in the Boro, a monthly event she founded and describes as “kind of like a huge family garage sale, but there’s just no money involved.”

It’s not even strictly a swap-meet, since donated items are often simply given away to the people who show up and want them, and organizers pass some on to charitable organizations.

“We kind of move around to different businesses, so that way their businesses also have exposure and show that they support the community in different eco-friendly events like this, because the premise of the Free Market in the Boro is, again, to keep things out of the landfill, establish greater community connections and then also, as a byproduct, we all save a little bit of money by sharing resources,” Kinship said.

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