When members of Beta Sigma Phi-Grace assembled for the first time to clean its two miles of adopted highway, they thought they would never reach the end. It took three days to remove trash and litter between mileposts 409 and 411 on U.S. 30 in southeast Idaho’s District 5.
Since that initial outing in April 1991, members of the civic organization have become more efficient, and in the past 10 years, for which records are available, they have removed more than seven tons of litter (14,350 pounds) in 23 outings.
For their efforts, Beta Sigma Phi-Grace was named the District 5 Adopt-A-Highway Group of the year for 2006. Representatives received a framed certificate and a clock fashioned from and Idaho license plate Thursday at the Idaho Transportation Board meeting in Pocatello.
ITD and the board truly appreciate the service of the Grace chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, said District 5 board member Neil Miller in presenting the award. To have a group with a consistent record like theirs and the level of participation they have demonstrated is unique and deserves special recognition.
The group has steadfastly met for highway cleaning campaigns twice a year, through blizzards, rainstorms, hail, heavy winds, sunshine and heat, report organizers.
Mary Wollin is the group’s president, and Rosli Gier is coordinator of its Adopt-A-Highway involvement. Nearly half of the 17 members usually turn out for the semi-annual roadside cleaning.
ITD’s statewide 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.
More than 1,100 groups spent approximately 30,000-person hours statewide gathering litter in 2006, removing an estimated 806,000 pounds of litter from Idaho’s roadsides. About 50 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 3.1 million pounds of litter, resulting in a savings to the state of more than a quarter-million dollars that can be applied to other projects that improve safety and driving conditions.
For more information about adopting a stretch of highway, contact Sweaney at (800) 443-2878.