WFO Austin/San Antonio OPL Steve Smart, WCM Paul Yura, MIC Joe Arellano, Forecaster Orlando Bermudez and SOO Jon Zeitler (Photo: Theresa Smart)
(December 13, 2012) - National Weather Service staff members from the Austin/San Antonio forecast office spent a portion of their Saturday morning, Dec. 8, picking up trash along their stretch of an Adopt-a-Highway road. It spans a two mile section of roadway near the weather office. Several bags of trash and discarded debris were collected.
"Having the opportunity to keep our section of highway clean is only one small way we can give back to our community," said Steve Smart, observation program leader for the office.
The Adopt-a-Highway program began in Texas in 1985 and continues to grow, saving taxpayer's money and keeping our rights-of-way clean. The Tyler Civitan Club became the first group to volunteer, adopting two miles along US Route 69 between Tyler, Texas and Interstate 20.
Following Texas, other states have created an Adopt-a-Highway program, and officials from Great Britain, Japan, and South Africa have visited Texas to learn more about starting programs of their own.
The Texas-born program has spread to 49 states, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Mexico. Today, more than a million volunteers participate in the Adopt-a-Highway program nationwide.
Participants may include individuals, families, youth organizations, businesses, civic and non-profit organizations, religious groups, fraternities, sororities, schools or anyone interested in making a difference by keeping our roadways clean and beautiful.
Program participants agree to adopt a two-mile stretch of highway for a minimum of two years and pick up litter four times per year (more on high traffic roads).
Adopt-a-Highway signs will then be posted with the group's name at the adopted section and the volunteers will receive safety vests, litterbags and appropriate training.