Keep Clarke Clean For Earth Day and Every Day

By John Kei

The idea for an Earth Day event is simple – as is the mission of the Clarke County Litter Committee: Keep Clarke County Clean.

Ashley Harrison, who chairs the committee, has taken the lead for an Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 20. “We hope to raise awareness of current litter issues and our efforts to reduce litter in our beautiful community,” she said. “We want to collaborate with others in this effort, work together on one day, and go out to gather as much litter as possible.”

“Earth Day Celebration & Litter Pick Up” begins at 9 a.m. April 20 at the Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds. After welcoming remarks from county and committee leaders, everyone will disperse to pick up litter in designated areas across the county, including the fairgrounds, Chet Hobert Park, and Rose Hill Park. Return to the fairgrounds by noon for refreshments, pizza, and a glass-crushing demonstration by Christi McMullen, who voluntarily initiated the county’s glass recycling program in 2022. 

Another way residents and civic groups can help keep Clarke County clean is by adopting a stretch of road. According to, every year “nearly 18,000 Adopt-a-Highway volunteers collect more than 25,000 bags of waste along Virginia’s highways. It is estimated that these efforts save the Commonwealth over $1.35 million that would have otherwise gone to clean up Virginia’s roads.”

The Clarke County Litter Committee adopted a road in the county through the Adopt-a-Highway program, but more roads need more volunteers. 

“By volunteering to pick up litter along roadways, citizens are also helping VDOT,” said Harrison, explaining, “When VDOT crews spend time picking up litter, it is time, money, and effort that could be directed at more important road infrastructure issues. By adopting highways to clean up, volunteers help VDOT, our community, and the environment.”

Picking up trash is potentially saving wild animals, too, as they are constantly lured into roads by fast-food wrappers and then killed by vehicles. The “Adopt-a-Highway” program is simple. A group commits to a minimum two miles of a VDOT-maintained road, which in Clarke is every road in the county except private lanes and secondary streets in Berryville and Boyce.

“Adopt-a-Highway” also asks groups to commit to at least two cleanup days per calendar year and report their cleanups to VDOT. Adopt-a-Highway signs identify the groups that pick up litter. VDOT provides trash bags, safety equipment, and safety training. VDOT also collects the bags of trash after cleanups.

“It’s very simple, and I’m sure a lot of people may not even know how to adopt a stretch of road,” Harrison said. “Each community organization has its own mission, but I believe if everyone gave a few hours on a few days each year, we could make a big dent in collecting litter and cleaning our environment.”

To adopt a stretch of a Clarke County road, go To learn more about the Clarke County Litter Committee, go to

Organizations, groups, and individuals who want to participate or need more information about the April 20 “Earth Day Celebration & Litter Pick Up” event should contact the Litter Committee at (540) 955-5132 or