Citizens adopt good attitude about litter
Nobody likes litter along the roads. And give Tallahasseeans credit: Many of them are willing to do something about it.
You saw that Wednesday evening at the Renaissance Center, where the city held a sign-up meeting for its renewed Adopt A Street program. More than 35 people showed up at Wednesday's meeting. And they represented a rainbow of civic groups and motivations.
There were teachers, such as Karen Metcalf of Cornerstone Learning Community, who want their students to learn community service. There were businessmen, such as Applebee's Restaurant manager Bill Schack, who want to be good neighbors. There were Masonic Lodge members, such as Melton Headley, who want to improve the Frenchtown community where they meet.
There were individuals who just want to make a difference.
Hanson said Wednesday's meeting added 30 new groups to the 35 groups that were still active. She wants to find volunteer groups for the remainder of the 110 existing signed streets, then start adding more streets.
She expects to tap the many student, church and civic groups that participate in her clean-ups to volunteer for the Adopt A Street program – and she believes there is "lots of opportunity" to improve the appearance of the 6,700 streets and roads in Leon County.
"I would particularly like to see West Tennessee and all our corridors adopted, because that's where people come into town and we don't want them to look like a trash heap," Hanson said. "(Her organization draws) lots of high school and college groups and lots of groups with children. I have a perfect avenue and I'm going to make every effort I can to step it up."
Litter pickup programs, obviously, are meant to remove litter along roadsides. But as Tom Jackson, who oversees the county program, said, "I know if you clean (a road) today, it takes only one day for (litter) to be back."
So the real value of such programs is education and awareness, which, hopefully, lead to litter prevention. Florida Department of Transportation programs manager Steve Liner oversees the state Adopt A Highway program, which counts 1,200 groups covering 2,400 miles of state highways.
"The groups that go out there for three or four hours, especially in this hot sun, are going to think twice about littering," he said. "And the driving public will think twice because they see volunteers giving their time to keep a community free and clear of litter."
It does seem to work. The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of North Florida organization has participated in the city program for six years, picking up litter on High Road from Tharpe to Old Bainbridge. They do it the third Saturday of every month. Besides being good exercise, fun fellowship and a great way to "bond with the neighborhood," it's been effective.
"The (amount of litter) waxes and wanes, but we definitely see less than when we started," said Jennifer Butler, a member of the group.
That's the goal.(Read the full article here.)