Last weekend we did our last “Adopt a Highway” cleanup for this year and I’ve got good news to report. The “Adopt a Highway” program is a road-side cleanup project that is administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). Some years back one of our Meigs County neighbors, Rick Adams, approached me with the idea of having the Fur Peace Ranch adopt a section of the highway as part of the program. Rick and I had a meeting with the ODOT folks and we filled out the necessary paperwork and made a commitment to stick with the program for atleast a three year period. This is a great program and I’m sure wherever you live you have noticed these signs on the sides of the highways …..ADOPT A HIGHWAY….with the name of the group or organization that sponsors the cleanup of that designated area of road. It was decided that the two mile stretch of State Route 681 where the Meigs County Line begins would be the part of the roadway we would adopt.
Well, our very first roadside cleanup was April 19th, 2003…..and on that day 10 volunteers went to work cleaning up creation …..and by the time we had finished walking our stretch of highway picking up thrash we had collected 88 bags (the big ones) of garbage, a window frame, a hot water tank,a car tire and tire rim. Man, oh man……it was unbelievable. Now that of course was our first cleanup and you’ve got to figure that this thrash had been building up over the years. Jump to March 20th, 2004 …..just about a year later…. and our cleanup nets us 60 bags of garbage.
The garbage we find consists mainly of pop bottles and plenty of Colt 45 big boys……lottery tickets ( a whole heap of those scratch off kind)….chewing tobacco tins…….Happy Meals, with everything but the prize…….and a multitude of what-nots and unmentionables. Vanessa on two occasions found money….one time a $20 that we parlayed into some after cleanup pizzas. It is really amazing how much garbage we have picked up from time to time. Sometimes we talk in disbelief about how people could just chuck this stuff out their windows.
We always have a good time getting together and getting down to some serious cleanup…..we clean the roadside 4 times during the year. All the employees have taken part in this effort and on many occasions we have been joined by friends and family who like to jump in and help. My sister, even on a short visit from California, took the time one year to join us…..and she still talks about it to this day….”How about that…..I go to visit my brother and he gives me a bag and has me with the chain gang out on the road picking up thrash.” ……She really did love it. SO………..(OK, Hurl….you’ve built it up…..lets get to the good news)………It is with great pride that I report on last week’s pickup… October 2009………On that day the gang scoured the road and the roadside to come up with 9 bags of thrash. We all were thrilled ….there was a kind of excitement and satisfaction with the results and a feeling of…..maybe we are making a difference and getting somewhere. As we all piled into Rick’s pickup for the drive back to where we all park……I started singing “It’s getting better all the time…..better …..better…. better…..” ……..and you know what…….it really is.
Thanks to people everywhere that pitch in to keep my favorite planet clean. Thanks to all the good folks I work with, that take the time out of their off weekend to come out early on a Saturday morning to be a part of the team. Thanks to JAH for this great place he gives us to live… may we all be good stewards of creation…….Give Thanks!