Denise grew up in Ocean County, New Jersey. Playing in the surf and sand of the seashore, she always loved the outdoors and nature’s beauty. It wasn’t, however, until she moved to Georgia in 2001 that her passion for recycling and advocating the preservation and conservation of our planet began.
Soon after moving to Georgia, Denise noticed that her neighbor, Kris, kept her recycling in her garage. Curious, Denise asked her one day why she didn’t place her recycling curbside. Kris explained that she took her recycling to the local recycling facility versus placing it curbside after her waste hauler repeatedly placed the materials in the back of the truck with other trash. Concerned that the same would happen to her recycling, Denise started taking regular trips to the local recycling facility with Kris. Denise's passion for recycling grew as she watched her trash diminish to almost nothing due to her increased recycling efforts.
In 2004, Denise and her family moved to Cumming, Georgia. The school to which her children were zoned had a PTA Environmental Education Committee. Starting out as a Recycling Coordinator, she soon thereafter became PTA Environmental Education Committee Chair (2005-2010). In 2006, she co-founded a student Green Team, an after-school environmental club for 4th and 5th grade students.
Denise is a published children’s writer and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her storybook, The Gross Graffiti Cover-up has been purchased nationally and noted as an anti-graffiti educational tool by Keep America Beautiful. Denise has received many awards for her environmental work, including Volunteer of the Year and Educator of the Year from Keep Forsyth County Beautiful.
Certifications & Memberships:
- Bacterial QA/QC Monitoring, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream; Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators; Georgia Recycling Coalition; Upper Etowah River Alliance.
- Volunteer of the Year, Keep Forsyth County Beautiful (2007); Educator of the Year, Keep Forsyth County Beautiful (2009); Certificate of Distinguished Service, Keep Georgia Beautiful (Reaping Nature Productions, 2009); 2nd place for waste reduction by a non-profit, Keep Georgia Beautiful (Reaping Nature Educational Outreach Foundation, 2012 & 2010), and Distinguished Service Citation - National Award Recipient, Keep America Beautiful (Reaping Nature Educational Outreach Foundation, 2012); Crystal Johnson Award, Keep Forsyth County Beautiful (2019).
Environmental Education Clubs/Groups:
- Sustainability Committee, Shepherd Center; Sawnee Woman's Club Conservation Department (2012-present); Eco-Eagles Coordinator, Cornerstone Schools (2009-2013); EE Classes, Rivers Academy (Reaping Nature Productions, 2013), and Green Team Coordinator, Daves Creek Elementary School (2006-2011).
- The Gross Graffiti Cover-up, Reaping Nature Productions (2009)
- Thinking Green: Making "Black Gold", aboutU July/August (2009)
- Thinking Green: E-Waste or E-Scrap, aboutU (May/June 2009)
- What Kind of Ball Is It?, Ladybug (June 2006)
- The Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, What Can You Do to Help Save the Planet?, Hopscotch for Girls (December/January 2011)
- Sunflowered Banana Snack, Hopscotch for Girls (June/July 2011)
- ConocoPhillips NEED Energy Workshop (spring 2009); Keep America Beautiful Climate Change/Recycling Symposium (October 2009); Sustainability Summit, Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center (May 2011); Healthy Schools Summit, World Congress Center (November 2011); International Young Environmentalists Youth Summit (IYEYS), Greening Forward (2014).
- Race Director, Five Points Challenge 5K (2013-2017); Publicity Chair, Friends of Tony, Inc. (2009-2011); Environmental Education Committee, Daves Creek PTA (2005-2010); Book Bound Writers and Illustrators Group, Cumming, GA, Member and Group Web Master (2003-2009); Windermere HOA, Cumming, GA, Pool Committee Chair (2006-2008); Abbotts Hill Elementary School, Duluth, GA, PTA Room Parent Coordinator Grades K-2, Each One Teach One Reading and Writing Chair and Jaguar Paw Prints Newsletter Chair (2002-2004); and Lexington Woods HOA, Alpharetta, GA, Social Committee and Newsletter Chair (2002-2003); Peer Mentor Volunteer, Shepherd Center (2020).
Denise was featured in mNorth Atlanta Magazine in September 2016 about her journey back from an accident in December of 2014 that left her paralyzed.
A Charity of Awareness - Supporting Environmental Education for Children, Adults & Communities
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead
Denise Carleton KFCB's Crystal Johnson Award Recipient 2019