An Adopt-A-Highway group from Filer has added new meaning to highway “litter” patrol.
Members of the National Honor Society at Filer School found an abandoned kitten during one of their semi-annual highway cleanups. The last of the litter was offered a new home and a new start on life when one of the participating students adopted the feline.
The kitten remains one of the most unusual items students have encountered during their six-year history as an Idaho Adopt-A-Highway group. The Idaho Transportation Board honored the student organization with District 4 Adopt-A-Highway group of the year honors Thursday (April 21) during its meeting in Shoshone.
Filer’s student group has been active in roadside cleanup campaigns since 1999, according to Shawn Webb, who coordinates the Adopt-A-Highway campaign for the district.
“I was impressed by some of the ways the advisors have come up with to keep the project interesting and active,” Webb said. “They have done data collection as they pick up trash thrown out by others. They have discovered, for instance, what the apparent favorite types of beer, soda and cigarettes are for the local litterbugs, as well as which direction these same people are traveling, and when they litter the most.”
Advisor Judy Youngman has arranged for prizes to the participants who record the most interesting discoveries. Students also engage in a post-cleanup social time with refreshments.
Usually eight to 10 high school students turn out twice a year to remove litter from U.S. 30. The group has adopted the stretch of highway between mileposts 206 and 209.
The Adopt-A-Highway program organizes the cleaning of Idaho roadsides by volunteer groups. Those groups “adopt” a specific stretch of highway – usually two miles long – and take responsibility for keeping it clean through regular litter patrols.
Approximately 1,150 groups committed 27,404 person hours to removing litter in 2004. About 55 percent of state highways have been adopted, leaving ample opportunities for other groups and individuals to become involved.
The volume of material collected from the shoulders of Idaho makes a tremendous difference in the appearance of Idaho’s highways, said statewide AAH coordinator Sherie Sweaney.
Volunteers collected more than one million pounds of litter, resulting in a savings to the state of about $250,000 that can be applied to other projects that improve safety and driving conditions.
For information about adopting a stretch of highway, contact Sweaney at 334-8465 or (800) 443-2878.