Scenes from the work around town by Clean Mill Valley volunteers, along with the logo of its Adopt-a-Spot program, which allows anyone to adopt a section of a street in their neighborhood, an area of a favorite Step, Lane or Path, or an unsightly corner at a bus stop.

So much of the tangible and intangible infrastructure of our community ground to a halt when the County of Marin joined six other Bay Area counties and the City of Berkeley in issuing a shelter in place order in mid-March.

While every sector has waited with bated breath since then for the green light to reopen, few can match the enthusiasm of Clean Mill Valley volunteers to get back to work. Due to the COVID-19 situation, Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway operations were suspended throughout California in early April, preventing volunteers from removing litter from its adopted West Seminary Drive Park and Ride Lot near Acqua Hotel and Robata Sushi.

That changed in June when Caltrans issued new safety protocols and approved resumption of volunteer activity. Volunteers recently gave the West Seminary Drive Park and Ride Lot a deep clean, including Jill Young, Helen Hebert, Kyoko Gerber, Dennis Wood and Jeff Conley, and they’ve been spotted all over Mill Valley in recent weeks.

Clean Mill Valley volunteers also continue to promote their Adopt-a-Spot program, which allows residents and business owners to adopt a section of a street in their neighborhood, an area of a favorite Step, Lane or Path, or an unsightly corner at a bus stop or in front of a commercial block. 

“We can always use more hands!” says Clean MV co-founder Joan Murray, noting that volunteers can contact them at adoptaspot@cleanmv.org. “For those of you who have your own adopted spots or for you spontaneous litter gatherers, we urge you not to resume these activities unless you are wearing gloves and a mask.”

Created informally in 2012 by members of the Outdoor Art Club, the Mill Valley Chamber, Mill Valley StreamKeepers, Mill Valley Rotary Club and others who were eager to save wildlife, streets and waterways from the negative impact of debris that is too often present and sometimes ignored, the organization launched officially five years later.

The multi-faceted organization is dedicated to the beautification of Mill Valley, working with merchants, schools, government agencies and other environmental organizations to prevent litter from getting around. Nearly 200 local businesses are members of Clean Mill Valley, having pledged to keep their premises litter free and even train employees about recycling. 

“While our many cleanups over the last many years have had a big impact on our environment, it is our advocacy and educational efforts that we think have made the biggest changes,” co-founders Joan Murray and Jill Young said. “We work with City of Mill Valley’s Public Works Department, whose staff provides us with the large orange garbage bags that you may see as we fill them. And when objects are too bulky or heavy for us, they will retrieve them for proper disposal. Thank you Public Works!


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