When it comes to reducing roadside litter, listen to the kids

Four winners selected in Adopt-A-Highway litter bag art contest

By Barbara LaBoe

With our elementary school litter bag art contest complete, one thing is clear: Our messaging is about to get quite a creative boost!

We asked children in grades 1 to 6 to send us artwork for new Adopt-A-Highway litter bags and we were thrilled to see the great artwork. And, just as exciting, were the creative ways students came up with sharing our litter prevention messages.
Lanie Burchfiel, 9

Our crews, along with our invaluable Adopt-a-Highway volunteers, clear about 600 tons of trash off of more than 18,000 miles of state roadways every year. Despite that effort, roadside litter remains an ongoing problem and concern. And the easiest way to tackle the problem is to prevent the trash from getting to the roadways in the first place.

So, we asked our state's student artists to lend us a hand in spreading the prevention message. It wasn't an easy decision picking among almost 100 entries, but our judges ultimately selected four designs that will be featured on the bags – one design per bag.
Ronin Sole, 11

And the winners are...
  • Samantha Daniel, 7, of North Star Elementary
  • Lanie Burchfiel, 9, of Tekoa Elementary
  • Logan Domingo, 10, of Shorewood Elementary
  • Ronin Sole, 11, Voyager Elementary
The judges' selections span the state and age ranges and include stylized drawings of mountains and trees, a drawing of a large earth and even a puppy helping cheer on disposing of trash properly.
Logan Domingo, 10

We specifically wanted to reach out to children for this contest because we wanted them to share the message not only amongst their peers, but also with the adults in their lives. We'd also be remiss if we didn't thank the many teachers and other educators who helped share the news of the contest. Working together we can all take steps to reduce roadside litter, which creates a better and cleaner environment for everyone.

With the designs selected, we'll now work with printers and hope to have the bags – made of biodegradable plastic – printed by late summer. They'll be available at community events as well as at our regional offices. (We generally limit bags to one per driver to ensure everyone has a chance to receive them).
Samantha Daniel, 7

Please join us in congratulating the four selected artists as well as everyone who participated. And, please remember these tips for helping keep our highways clean:
  • Secure all loads, even "quick trips" in town – it's the law and it can prevent injuries as well as roadside litter
  • Never throw trash or other items in the back of pickups where they can fly out and land on the roadways
  • Keep track of trash inside your vehicle so that it doesn't fall out when you exit the vehicle
Never toss litter out of a vehicle or along a roadway

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