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How the Adopt-a-Highway program helps the planet in the long run.

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Do you belong to a group that does something…large or small…to help the planet? If so, please let me know by posting a message here. The following is based on what one reader shared.

When you drive down a road littered with trash, do you feel sad? Angry? Discouraged? All of the above? Me too. At least, I used to. That was before I learnd that tens of thousands Americans volunteer their time to make our highways clean and beautiful.

Take, for example, the folks at Ascension Lutheran Church in Newtown-Upper Makefield, Pennsylvania. Twice a year, on Saturday morning, volunteers give two hours of their time to clean a two-mile stretch of Highway 532 that goes past their church.

Mike Kelly, coordinator of Ascension’s Adopt-a-Highway project, has a way of turning problems into challenges, and challenges into group solutions that are rewarding for everyone. Volulnteers are teamed up…often with someone they don’t know well, yet, and walk the highway together for about one and a half hours. “Its great for getting folks acquainted and building new friendships,” Mike says. “We divide the group into two teams that start at opposite ends of the two-mile stretch and work their way toward each other.”

You’ve heard the jokes about church folks and refreshments, so you’ll not be surprised to hear that afterwards, the group celebrates with coffee, bagels and cream cheese while telling stories of the adventures they’ve had and stuff they’ve found. “It’s amazing,” Mike says. “Besides the beer cans, liquor bottles and car parts, we’ve found watches, and even billfolds with ID inside!”

For the volunteers, it takes only two hours. A small price for a very big payoff and a rewarding sense of satisfaction. For Mike, who coordinates the project, it also involves going to the county seat to pick up supples…gloves, orange safety vests, plastic bags and traffic signs. All provided free of charge by the Adopt-a-Highway program, which even sends a truck to pick up the roadside bags.

You can learn more about the program by checking out Adopt-a-Highway International. Think about volunteering two hours to keep America beautiful! 

Also, have you done something with friends, relatives, or a group to help improve our planet somehow? Let me and other readers know by posting your ideas here!


Feel free to email me your environmental tips and questions!


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