There’s a reason that if you are caught littering by authorities, you may receive a ticket. Litter can be very harmful to the world around us. I’ll provide only a few examples. If the waste has some sort of food left on it, it may attract wildlife. Not only can the chemicals commonly found in human diets negatively affect that animal, but if they are drawn to areas of high traffic, it is far more likely that they will be hit by a vehicle. Beyond that, much of what we see littered are items that are not biodegradable, such as plastic and styrofoam. These items can take 1,000 years to break down, releasing harmful chemicals that contribute to climate change, human health issues, a loss of biodiversity, and much more. Despite the negativity that is associated with garbage polluting our planet, there is something you can do about it! You can do your part to keep our county clean, beautiful, and litter free. Join Adopt-A-Spot!
Adopt-A-Spot is a concept that has been in the United States since 1985. It began with James Evans, an engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation, that shares the passion of a litter free environment with so many of us. They created a program called Adopt-A-Highway, that still exists in most state’s transportation departments. They partner this initiative will the slogan “Drive it Home”, which encourages citizens to take whatever waste they thought about throwing out the window and throw it away in a trash can at their destination instead.
Keep America Beautiful took this information and decided to further the cause. They paved the way for its affiliates, including Keep Pensacola Beautiful, to do the same. Our program is called Adopt-A-Spot because it doesn’t have to be a highway. It can be a street, park, trail, campus, boat ramp, etc. If you name it, there’s a good chance we can make it happen! So, let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Adopt-A-Spot is completely FREE to all members. It is a group commitment to clean a space at least 4 times a year for 2 years. This means that a minimum of one cleanup is required for each quarter. For reference, the quarters are as follows:
- Oct 1st – Dec 31st
- Jan 1st – March 31st
- April 1st – June 30th
- July 1st – Sept 30th
If you would like to be a member in this program, the first thing you will need to do is fill out the application with your requested spot. Parks are our most commonly adopted spot as they are safe, large, easy to access, and immediately gratifying. There are 50 city parks (Pensacola) to choose from and 76 county parks (Escambia). They may vary depending on our current level of participation in the program. However, you may request whatever spot your heart desires, so it’s time to get thinking! On your application, you will need to provide:
- Group name – whether you expect to have 20 volunteers, or it’ll be just you, you’ll need to have a group name. You’ll need to keep it clean and professional as we can veto if necessary.
- Primary and secondary contact’s information – We keep quarterly contact with our Adopt-A-Spot members. If we can’t reach you, we’ll need a backup contact.
- Your 1st and 2nd choice of spots – Spots are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. Request of a spot does not guarantee that a spot will be available. Availability and assignments are subject to review by the city and the county.
- Signature on a Terms and Conditions form – please read this carefully before signing.
Once your application is filled out and returned, we will check the availability of your spot. Once confirmed, the coordinator will ask the primary contact to sign a formal agreement. This document gets into to a bit more of the legal side of the program. You can expect to see items such as:
- Keep Pensacola Beautiful will provide the paperwork and equipment required to perform tasks under the Adopt-A-Spot program. Borrowed and unused supplies must be returned to the Keep Pensacola Beautiful Office within 3 business days of the scheduled cleanup.
- The primary contact shall report ALL activities of removal via email to Keep Pensacola Beautiful after each litter removal activity. This will include total number of hours spent, number of volunteers, number of bags filled, and the approximate weight of materials removed.
- Participants under the age of 18 must have adult supervision and must have a signed parental release form. These can be emailed or provided at our office upon the pickup of supplies.
- The group will perform litter removal in strict accordance with good safety practices and the County’s safety procedures and requirements. See Adopt-A-Spot Best Practices for more information.
- Litter will be removed during daylight hours and during good weather conditions only.
- The group will properly transport and dispose of litter they collect either in a residential receptacle, empty park receptacles, or take it to the Landfill during regular hours of operation.
- Failure to complete cleanups and report the data collected for 2 consecutive quarters will result in the removal of the groups sign and the spot to be re-listed as available for adoption.
Once the agreement has been returned, your group leader will need to attend a one-time orientation before your group may start work! Thank you for taking the time to read this. We hope that you are inspired to join our Adopt-A-Spot program and we look forward to hearing from you!
Have more questions? All inquiries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.