Isn’t it wonderful to walk along a sidewalk, bicycle or drive down a road with trees and grass along the side — all clean and clear with no litter?

A UUCV group has joined Adopt-A-Highway, a Clark County program to beautify the roads we travel each day. Our stretch is a few miles of NE St. Johns Road just north of 78th Street. There are sidewalks on both sides and it looks ever so much better after we’ve cleared it of litter.

We often hear “Thank you!” called out to us from car windows, passing cyclists and walkers. Last week we even had a motorist stop and ask how to sign up to help! People appreciate clean roads.

Wildlife both here and downstream does better with litter-free areas, too. Litter is easily mistaken for food by animals and fish. It is very damaging to them and can cause death. Dogs can become very ill after eating a cigarette butt, the most commonly littered item, after which they may require veterinary treatment.

It can be interesting too and give pause for a chuckle or head scratching moment. We find discarded clothing, sweatshirts, t-shirts and, yes, underwear at least one time, oh my! We recycle those items that can be recycled, and wash and donate clothing in good enough condition for reuse.

Sometimes we find treasures in the process: credit cards and driver’s licenses that are tracked back to their owners when possible, license plates returned to the Department of Transportation, even a $100 bill that was turned in to the Vancouver Children’s Center, one of our Change for the World recipients. Some of the daffodil bulbs we have planted were donated, and some were purchased with money that had been found along the highway. Recyclables from the trash collected are sorted out and the metal taken to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store as part of the UUCV Beyond Curbside Recycling Program.

The photo at left shows the measure of one day’s work: trash in white bags, recyclables in clear bags, and a separate bag of toxic cigarette ends which a pose a threat to wildlife.

Come join us. Contact Ellen Ives at for more information.