Volunteers from the Kodiak Borough Educators Association tugged on their gloves and boots, rolled up their sleeves and picked up 24 bags of trash on Rezanof Drive on Saturday, according to North Star Elementary second grade teacher Kathy Simpler.
“There was quite a bit of trash in the ditch going into Deadman’s Curve from the airport and around the lookout area,” Simpler said on Thursday. “We got as much as we could safely get in those areas.”
Among the trash they picked up were tires and plenty of plastic debris.
Simpler said KBEA is responsible for the stretch of Rezanof Drive between Mile 2 and Mile 4.
“I’m not sure the last time there was a group that picked up in that particular stretch before us,” Simpler said.
KBEA is one of many groups participating in the Adopt-a-Highway program, which the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities launched in 1991.
Organizations and businesses that adopt a highway are responsible for the safe process of litter control and clean ups along a specific stretch. The program also encourages special beautification projects, such as plantings and landscaping, as approved by DOT.
“As a union we wanted to do something more for our community,” Simpler said. “Teachers are everywhere where there are kids — we are church leaders, youth sports volunteers and Scout leaders.”
She said adopting the highway is just another extension of what KBEA members do by directly serving the community.
“We wanted to let the community know that while we are teachers, we also love and appreciate this community, so by picking up trash and participating in the Adopt-A-Highway Program, we are giving back to everyone in Kodiak, not just the volunteer opportunities that we love so much,” Simpler said.
Simpler said KBEA’s next cleanup date will sometime after July 4, followed by another after the new school year starts in the fall.