Clean up the neighborhood year round

Ah, spring! Many celebrated Earth Day this year by participating in the annual Citywide Spring Cleanup. Individuals, friends, families, even businesses and community organizations shed their winter hibernation blues and came out to clean up litter in our parks and neighborhood streets. Why not extend the celebration beyond a single day? Two familiar programs readily come to mind. And both easily accommodate those environmentally committed or curious. 
Adopt-A-Stop and Adopt-A-Drain are programs comprised of volunteers who add value to city infrastructure via routine light care and observation. They’re fun ways to keep neighborhoods safe and attractive. I recently adopted two light rail stations for the Adopt-A-Stop program, while I continue to help maintain five storm drains in St. Paul I adopted several years ago.
The Adopt-A-Stop program initiated by Metro Transit evolved from a bus shelter adoption program back in 2010. The program eschewed adoption of bus rapid transit, light rail, or unsheltered bus stops. Relaunched in 2019, the program adoption choices expanded. All available bus stops – sheltered and unsheltered – along with light rail stations are adoptable.
The program affords communities myriad benefits. Adopters help keep bus stops, shelters, and stations safe and clean, bettering everyone’s welfare. For example, recently I entered a Green Line station near my home where I noticed one of the large windows was damaged. Hazardous shards of glass littered a wide swath on the platform. I went home, returned with broom, dust pan, and bag, and removed the debris.
Adopting a stop or station is easy. First, fill out an online application with your choice of stops or stations. Metro Transit will install a sign with the adopter’s name, group name, or a short slogan, upon request. This is a great way to publicize a business or organization. 
Metro Transit provides volunteers with gloves, safety vests, and bags upon request, along with 10 free rides per month!
Operationally located at Hamline University, the Adopt-A-Drain program provides adopters with opportunities to reduce water pollution. Volunteers remove leaves, trash, and other debris from storm drain surfaces. Volunteers enter information online about the content and weight of removed litter. This data tracking assists with impact assessment and planning.
What makes storm drain cleaning impactful? Mainly, drain cleaning helps reduce runoff pollution and flooding. Phosphorous in organic matter such as leaves, grass, and dirt feeds algae that can bloom in lakes. Reducing this debris aids in algae reduction. Drains clogged with trash can cause street flooding. And removal of other pollutants can assist with public health efforts in the community. 
According to Adopt-A-Drain’s website, volunteers removed over 360 tons of debris, with over 22,000 drains adopted and 12,700 adopters on board across the state at the time of this writing.
We all can make a local impact. These two programs offer groups and individuals easy and fun opportunities to make a measurable impact. They improve environmental sustainability, safety, and visual appeal, which translates into healthier, wealthier, more vibrant living spaces. Learn more about Adopt-A-Stop at: Check out how residents can help reduce water pollution by via storm drain adoption at:
Frogtown Green is a resident-led and volunteer-powered environmental initiative in St Paul’s most diverse neighborhood. They plant trees, cultivate gardens and work toward a healthier environment. If you’d like to know more, browse or call 651-757-5970. Rennie Gaither is a Frogtown Green volunteer. 


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