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Take ownership, keep an area clean
Keep Liberty Beautiful
Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church’s youth ministry recently adopted a section of Shaw Road where their church sits in Hinesville. - photo by Photo provided.
I think we all take better care of things when we own them. I rented apartments in my 20s, but have now owned a home for many years, and I find I am more conscientious about care and maintenance when it comes to the property I own. It actually seems to be the same for communities, roads, streets and neighborhoods. When we take ownership of public areas, surprisingly, everyone seems to respect the areas and take better care of them. “Adopted” roads stay cleaner and litter-free. Well-cared for neighborhoods are cleaner and, statistically, they have fewer incidents of vandalism and crime.
This is the reasoning behind adopt-a-spot programs. In Liberty County, we call ours Adopt Liberty. We encourage volunteers — groups, individuals, families or businesses — to adopt areas where they live, work and play. By doing so, people make these areas cleaner and more attractive while encouraging others to do the same. Research shows that over time, ownership works. Litter is reduced and people take better overall care of adopted areas.
What is involved in adopting an area? It is pretty simple. Just make a commitment for at least a year to adopt at least a mile on a state highway or local road and to provide at least one cleanup each quarter. Local creeks and waterways or even green spaces also can be adopted. Keep Liberty Beautiful can loan equipment and supplies for each cleanup. Very basic reporting is needed for records of each effort.
We work with the Georgia Department of Transportation on behalf of groups who adopt areas on state routes. Some groups work on beautification projects in their adopted areas.
For each adopted area, if the adopters desire, KLB will provide signs for local roads and spots. The DOT will provide signs for state-maintained roads. These signs indicate the area has been adopted and help to mark each group’s spot.
Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church’s youth ministry recently adopted a section of Shaw Road where their church sits in Hinesville. Thirty-two volunteers came out for the initial cleanup July 31. Youth Minister Christie Conyers said, “We felt that adopting this portion of our road was important for our youth so that they would be more conscious about caring for our Earth — God’s gift to us. We also feel that it benefits our community by raising awareness of the serious problem of littering. By adopting this area, our community will know that people care.”
One cleanup volunteer, Michael Zeno, 16, explained his interest in the effort. “Litter is a problem that reflects on our community. People who come to our area will think we do not care about our community if it is littered and not taken care of,” he said.
The Mt. Zion Youth Group is one of several youth groups that have recognized the value of adopting Liberty. Youth with the Stanley D. Highsmith Foundation and members of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia Teen Achievers also have adopted local areas.
We also have neighborhood watch leaders such as Maria Fragosa in the Pine Ridge neighborhood in Hinesville, Susan Johnson in the Isle of Wight community and Judy Lampi in Hinesville’s Arlington Park neighborhood. They all work regularly to keep the streets in their neighborhoods clean and attractive.
Waterways also can be adopted by including a monthly water sampling of a local waterway as part of the adopt-a-stream program. Scout troop 461 is adopting a local stream, and KLB and the city of Riceboro adopted Riceboro Creek on Highway 17.
If you would like to learn more about the adoption process, call Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880-4888 or e-mail Adopting Liberty is one of the many ways we can make our community the kind of home we can all take pride in.
Mark your calendars for these upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful events:
• Saturday, Sept. 25: St. Catherines beach sweep.
• Saturday, Oct. 2: Recycle It! Fair for electronics and household items.
• Saturday, Oct. 23: Fifth Annual Rivers Alive Cleanups.

For information, call 880-4888 or e-mail
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