photo by Andrew Kearns


We conduct periodic litter removal along with other local organizations. Each April we work with the City of Mill Valley’s Recreation and Parks’ Departments to bring litter awareness to our community and conduct an Earth Day cleanup. In the past we have worked with Greenwood School students alongside the founders of Marin Clean Highways to clear the garbage that rims the marsh on Hamilton Drive. One of our primary goals is to educate students about the negative impacts of trash in our environment and to that end we often partner with a variety of youth groups and schools. See below for some highlights from recent projects.

Please check our Facebook Page for future clean-up dates.

Clean Mill Valley Marches Against Litter at the 2023 Memorial Day Parade!

With the help of Spot the Dalmatian, our dedicated team of Clean Mill Valley volunteers drew smiles and cheers along the parade route on Memorial Day, 2023.

Why Spot, you ask? Spot inspires Mill Valley residents to “Adopt a Spot,” meaning choose a spot near your home, business, or any other favorite place and keep it spotless. Stop trash from flowing into our streams and ultimately the Bay and ocean. It’s easy and feels good!

Pick up litter when you see it, or claim your Spot by contacting our valient coordinator Jill Young at There is more about the program in the sidebar. Adopt a Spot today!

Spot is All Right!

Spot, the mascot for Clean Mill Valley’s important Adopt-a-Spot program, needed a break after the Memorial Day Parade. A superficial head wound required a few carefully executed stitches, so experienced seamstress and quilter, Janet Conley, came to the rescue.

Spot spent a brief respite in recovery, but is now his former, energetic self. He is available to visit classrooms, camps, or to march in a hometown parade. He is grateful to Janet for her kind care. Woof!

Photo by Sophie Stephenson (above) and Jeff Conley provided the photo of the parade.

Tam High Cleans Up 2022

Members of the Outdoor Art Club, Tam High School students and volunteers from Clean Mill Valley teamed up on Saturday, April 2nd, 2022 to clean the Tam High campus and the surrounding area. In less than an hour and a half, almost 250 gallons of trash was collected. Discarded masks were common as well as many corners! Corners, you say? Micro-litter has become ubiquitous and people seem less cautious with tossing the corners of packaged snack foods. Corners can be fatal to wildlife - so spread the word. See picture below of our intrepid crew of all ages celebrating a successful community project! Photo courtesy of Joan Murray.

Before and After

Friends of Clean Mill Valley (CMV), and our volunteers, usually go quietly about their work. We are persistent in our efforts to address litter that threatens our environment or is a blight in our community. Lisa Durant, parent of a former student at what was the Greenwood School, began contacting the property management at the building at the corner of West Blithedale and Buena Vista about the state of their garbage and recycling containers in plain sight. After Lisa’s move from town, CMV continued to focus with the property management company and the City of Mill Valley to address the eyesore. Note the before and after photos on left and thank the activists who are drawn to our mission.

photos by Joan Murray

It Takes a Village

As locals know, Clean Mill Valley has not been organizing group cleanups, but continues to remove litter in two’s or three's. We keep our distance from one another and our masks on. In addition, many of our Adopters clean their individual Spots. Through Next Door we recently met Mack Bell who joined Jill Young, Jeff Conley and Joan Murray to remove litter behind Tam High. One could have a career picking up trash there. Mack found stanchions, traffic cones and more in the marsh. Between us all, we collected five 30 gallon bags of trash.

Normally, we can take a bag or two which the City of Mill Valley disposes of, but this was more than anyone of us wanted to stuff in our cars. Then came Redwood Security to the rescue! Redwood Security is located on Almonte Boulevard beyond the Tam High fields and lucky for us, they allowed us to place our trash in their dumpster. They had noticed us working and were grateful that we were making the neighborhood cleaner and the environment safer for wildlife. Thank you to Jeff Lindley for his neighborly assistance.

We also contacted Tam High maintenance to remove a large chair adjacent to their property and Marin County Public Works to remove a mattress in their territory, before its guts spill into the marsh.

It takes a village, there’s no doubt about it.


Above photo shows Mack Bell with some of our booty. Photo taken by Joan Murray.

Salt of the Earth

Tipped Off by a Clean Mill Valley Volunteer, Malugani Tire Center Steps Up Big Time

by Jim Welte | June 25, 2020

Over the past few years, Clean Mill Valley volunteer Peggy Katcher has made it her job to look after a section of East Blithedale Avenue right at the entrance to town.

Over time, she has purchased the redwood tree that is growing in the poppy circle, planted the poppies and has dedicated herself to taking care of all of it, in addition to cleaning up litter.

Despite her relentless efforts, as well as a prominent Do Not Litter sign that touts the threat of a $1,000 fine, litter is extensive at the location. In recent weeks, she came upon an older woman and her two cats who'd been living in her truck nearby – she could not move it because the rim of one tire needed to be fixed. She had no money and couldn’t get anywhere to fix it.

"I went over to John Savelli at Maluganii Tire Center and told him the situation," Katcher says. "His guys went over the next morning and repaired the tire. The woman has now moved on. The folks at Malugani would not let us pay for the repair."

"Peggy is simply a force of nature that has improved that entrance to Mill Valley," says Joan Murray, co-founder of Clean Mill Valley.

This story originally submitted to by Jim Welte

Sucessful 2021 Coastal Cleanup!

Sept. 18th - Coastal Cleanup on the Mill Valley/Sausalito multiuse path attracted over 80 volunteers from Clean Mill Valley (CMV), the Outdoor Art Club (OAC), the Tamalpais Improvement Club (TVIC), as well as other community members. 384 pounds of trash was collected and 12 pounds of recycled materials were reclaimed.

Then-President of the OAC, Pauline Nacamuli, and Green Chair, Lynda Chittenden, were in attendance at the first organizing meeting for CMV back in 2012. The OAC provided initial start up funding for CMV with a grant that allowed us to pay for vests, litter pickers and other supplies. The Club has a long history of environmental activism dating back to the early part of the 20th century and is a mighty force in Mill Valley. Pictured on right is OAC member Jackie Hamilton with the result of her work.


Photo by Janice Prochaska

Manzanita-Earth Day 2021

The Manzanita Park and Ride is in the process of being adopted by the Tam Valley Improvement Club (TVIC). Jill Young and Joan Murray of Clean Mill Valley joined Olivia Jacobs of the TVIC for a mighty group of three to clean the huge lot on Earth Day. CalTrans picked up the trash after we accumulated it.

Photo by Olivia Jacobs
Rockin' the Decal!

Mill Valley Refuse Service partners with Clean Mill Valley!

Pictured on the right are Jim Iavarone, co-owner of Mill Valley Refuse Service, Mill Valley resident Jose Cacho, Jr., crew member of the Mill Valley Refuse Service team, and Jill Young, co-director of Clean Mill Valley. Note our decal on the windshield of the Mill Valley Refuse Service Truck. They are on every one of the garbage company trucks as a statement of our partnership with them to Keep Mill Valley Clean. Thanks guys!


Photo by Jim Stephenson.

A Word from Community Activist Marilyn Price!

One thing to consider is to pick up trash routinely throughout the year. Here is a photo of me on my daily bike ride where I pick up trash along the way. You can see the new utensils I now take and mask I wear to be Covid safe. Actually I am part of Clean Mill Valley and volunteer with their Adopt-a-Spot program.

Of course, you don't need a group to participate but, if you would like to find groups like Clean Mill Valley in your area click here and if you would like to start a group like Clean Mill Valley in your community, check Clean Marin's Adopt-a-Spot program for tools and information.

Editor's note: This item originally appeared on the Bikes for Kids Facebook page. Marilyn Price is the founder of Bikes for Kids and an organizer of Sustainable Mill Valley.

Our Heroes!

Here are our volunteers who keep the Park and Ride lot at the West Seminary Drive exit clean. It's located just across from the Acqua Hotel and is the cleanest CalTrans lot along our highways. Our thanks to Jill Young, Helen Hebert, Kyoko Gerber, Dennis Wood and Jeff Conley for their tireless work. Note the Adopt-a-Spot sign, an exclusive logo designed by anti-litter activist Mary Osborn.

Not in Mill Valley? The Adopt-a-spot program is growing! Find out about the program in your area.

Photos by Joan Murray

Park School Celebrates MLK Service Day!

On Monday, January 20, 2020 Park School students, parents and teachers led the way from their school to the Elizabeth Terwilliger Marsh and the Mill Valley Middle School to remove litter. They skirted Locust and Sycamore Avenues and cleaned up along the way.

Pictured to the right are some Park School environmental warriors. Our thanks to them for honoring Martin Luther King with service in their community.

Photo provided by Joan Murray.

Volunteers from the Outdoor Art Club and Clean Mill Valley Beautify Boyle Park for the Community

Boyle Park was made litter-free, thanks to the efforts of civic-minded members of the Outdoor Art Club and Clean Mill Valley who joined forces on October 11, 2019 to remove litter from one of Mill Valley’s oldest and most beloved parks. This seven plus acre jewel contains a popular playground, tennis courts, a large open grassy area that is adjacent to picnic tables and the Mill Valley Little League fields, and has access to a creek.

A thirty-two gallon trash bag brimming with errant tennis balls, cans, bottles, balloon parts, food wrappers, and a significant amount of micro-litter was collected by sixteen people who worked to protect our watershed and prevent trash from finding its way into our creeks, onto Richardson Bay and further, to the Pacific Ocean.

The Outdoor Art Club was founded in 1902, and one of its first activities was to have the trash under the Old Mill removed. The Club remains dedicated to many civic causes, including the beautification of Mill Valley.

Clean Mill Valley was founded in 2012 and is dedicated to education and advocacy regarding the deleterious impact that litter has on our environment. In addition, they lead many litter cleanups and manage an Adopt-a-Spot program for anyone who wants their own public spot to keep clean. Volunteers who enjoy walking or taking their dog out in the same area every day pick up trash at the same time, making a difference in keeping the community clean.

The City of Mill Valley values and appreciates the hard work of these volunteers to make our town a better place.

Join in and get involved! There are many opportunities to contribute with Outdoor Art Club, Clean Mill Valley, and the City of Mill Valley.

Photos courtesy of Pam Keon

See Spot March!

Clean Mill Valley jnd Clean Marin work together to create awareness of litter’s impact on our environment and to find solutions to removing it so that it doesn’t reach our waterways. It is not a pretty sight wherever it is. Thanks to Howard Bunce of the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program for being an ardent supporter and carrying the Clean Marin banner along with us.

See our marchers in the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade. Our Adopt a Spot mascot (named Spot of course!) marched in the parade and shook paws with countless children. Notice the signage with the stunning graphics created by Mary Osborn and assembled and made by Ronald Young and Howard Bunce. What a team. Photos taken by Jeff Conley. Thanks Jeff!


2019 Petaluma Butter & Eggs Day Parade

Having fun while spreading the anti-litter message!

Clean Mill Valley and Clean Marin marched together on April 27th in historic downtown Petaluma.

The group carried striking banners and signs, designed by Mary Osborn, that featured anti-litter messages. The popular event, drawing around 20,000 enthusiastic spectators, is in its 38th year. One little girl was seen mouthing the words as she read our sign: “Please pick it up; every little bit helps”, at which time she bent over and picked up a candy wrapper she had just dropped! Now that is progress!

(photo by Howard Bunce)

Celebrate Mother Earth!

With Earth Month Activities

The City of Mill Valley and Clean Mill Valley are active partners in keeping our town clean. As part of Earth Month activities, Recreation staff, as well as Jill Young and Joan Murray, removed litter from parts of the multi-use path, the community center and the middle school. Our many buckets were full.

Pictured are Ronnie Moore, volunteer coordinator, Risa De Ferrari, program supervisor, Lauren Buchholz, senior administrative aide, and Jill Young, co-director of Clean Mill Valley. Not pictured are program supervisors April Frost and Molly Given. We were a mighty team.

A Successful Marin City Beautiful Neighborhood Clean-Up Day!

Clean Mill Valley joined our neighbors in Marin City in July to participate in litter removal and weeding. The Performing Stars Social Justice Initiative Group, in partnership with the Golden Gate Village Resident Council & Marin Housing Authority, sponsored the Marin City Beautiful Neighborhood Clean-Up Day. Volunteers assisted in this community beautification project by helping to get rid of debris in yards and balconies and weeding and cleaning the playgrounds. Dumpsters were provided on site and a delicious lunch was provided for participants. Thanks to all volunteers who came to help. For more information, please contact

Community supporters included: Clean Marin, Clean Mill Valley, Sausalito Beautiful, Conservation Corps North Bay, Target Gateway Shopping Center, Goodman Building Supply, Marin County Sheriff’s Department, and the Marin City Community Services District.

Photo: Community groups and volunteers did a fine job cleaning the play structure, weeding the playground, and spreading new, fluffy mulch. Shortly after the work was done, the children tried things out; happy sight.

Many Hands Make Light Work

On Friday, June 22nd, at 9:00am a group of volunteers met at the Safeway parking lot to tackle the trash on Camino Alto left after the Carnival and the residual end of school litter. Most of it could be found in the bottom of the gully that parallels the road from E. Blithedale to the Safeway parking lot (see photo below right). Members of the group fished trash out of the drainage ditch and picked up litter all along the Miller Avenue grassy median and sidewalks.

Shown below, these former mothers’ club’s members’ offspring grew up and so the moms turned their good energy to being a part of the litter solution in town. From left to right, are Alison Ferguson, Patty LaDuke, Jan Hiti and Annie Lazarus. Cheers everyone!

Photos taken by Mary Osborn

Making Horseshoe Cove More Welcoming

On Friday, June 15th, at twelve o'clock staff members from the Bay Area Discovery Museum joined volunteers from Clean Mill Valley at Horseshoe Cove under the Golden Gate Bridge to remove litter from the shore and the water. This wonderful children’s museum is located just feet away from the gently lapping bay and the litter that collects at its edge.

Tangled in kelp is plastic of every sort and shape and particularly evident were bottle caps of all colors. Our swimming pool net sought the floating plastic bits and successfully dodged the jellyfish that ranged from the size of a donut to that of a large pizza.

Pictured from left to right: Clean Mill Valley’s Melinda and Jill next to Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Joy, Martyna and Alex. These BADM staff members spent their lunch hour with us removing trash from the environment. Our sincere thanks to them. photo taken by Zach Young

Marching for a Clean Environment

Clean Mill Valley marched in its town’s Memorial Day Parade carrying its banner and a half dozen signs with messages of encouragement to keep our environment clean. Cheered by the crowds, we were there to join others to appreciate veterans and their sacrifices. Marching with us was Betsy Bikle of StreamKeepers of Mill Valley since we share goals to keep our watershed and all waterways pure. Thanks to everyone who participated or cheered us on!

Photos by Maureen Parton

Shown on left: Janet and Jeff Conley (holding banner) and Joan Murray (waving). On the right: Larry Anderson (holding Adopt a Spot sign).

Safeway Smoking Lounge Debris

Clean Mill Valley volunteers assembled on Friday, March 23rd, to pick up litter along Camino Alto. At 9:00am, the usual suspects, joined by some new faces, met in the Safeway parking lot at 45 Camino Alto in Mill Valley. Everyone did a great job picking up litter on Miller Avenue and Camino Alto, while one member of the group spent her time obsessively picking up discarded smoking paraphernalia including hundreds of plastic tips and wrappers from Black & Mild cigars that are smoked by high school students on break (see photos). Yuck!

Photos take by Mary Osborn and Joan Murray

The Miller Avenue Streetscape Project

On February 5th, five volunteers from Clean Mill Valley, set out to pick up litter along Miller Avenue from Safeway to Locust including the 410 Miller shopping center. It was a beautiful day and everyone enjoyed seeing the new landscaping and street improvements up close. We encourage you to check out the area on foot if you haven’t already done so.

Exceed the Limits

Manzanita Park and Ride was the target of one of our recent cleanups. On January 23rd, seven stalwart activists of Clean Mill Valley went beyond Mill Valley’s city limits to address the mess at the commuter parking lot sandwiched between The Buckeye Restaurant and the Cal Trans Maintenance Station. Cal Trans welcomed the help and we delivered our eleven 32 gallon trash bags full of trash to their facility.

Some of the litter blows down from the highway above; other items emanate from people who park in the lot or are being picked up and dropped off for cabs, LYFTS, Uber and buses.

Photos by Jane Hall

The lot is Adoptable through CalTrans and the current signage indicates a company has done so, but there has been almost no cleanup activity, except for ours, observed recently. This would be a good place for a small group to clean up on a monthly basis. Think of dedicating an hour just one day a month to this task. The debris there easily finds its way to the marsh, onto Richardson Bay and eventually to the Pacific Ocean.

For information on organizing a group for cleanups, email

Clean Mill Valley in Action

Turning an East Blithedale Eyesore into a Gorgeous Flower Patch!

On the heels of historic rainfall over the winter, incredible wildflower blooms have been in abundance all over Mill Valley, Marin, the Bay Area and beyond over the past several weeks. One of those blooms – at a longstanding, litter-strewn eyesore at the corner of Easy Blithedale Avenue and Tower Drive – came as the result of the efforts of Clean Mill Valley volunteers Peggy Katcher and Margo Kirkpatrick, who adopted the spot with friends. Katcher planted California poppies in the spot and nursed hand watered them during previous droughts.

City of Mill Valley Public Works operations Superintendent Denise Andrews brought mulch to retain the moisture to the flowers and Larry Anderson helped spread it at the base of the flowers.

City staff and Clean Mill Valley volunteers will continue to remove weeds and litter from the spot.

"It’s hard to miss this delightful bunch of bright orange flowers as you enter or exit Highway 101 from East Blithedale," says Clean Mill Valley co-founder Joan Murray.

Original article credited to Jim Welte (Chamber News) Photo ​(Left to right): Margo Kirkpatrick, Jill Young and Peggy Katcher. Photo courtesy of Brandon Katcher.

Collaboration Wins Every Time!

Members of the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center joined forces with Clean Mill Valley to clean up a good part of Miller Avenue on Wednesday, April 19th. Becky Murray of the city manager’s office helped as well.

Thanks to Jim Welte for organizing the Chamber crew that included him, Paula Reynolds, Elizabeth Suzuki, and Mill Valley Refuse owner, Jim Ivarone. Mary Osborn, Jill Young and Joan Murray pitched in from Clean Mill Valley.

The Miller Avenue streetscape project has had an impact on the amount of debris and litter all along the sidewalks, parking lots, and adjacent areas. Cigarette butts, food and drink containers, bottles and bags were found in abundance. As you walk along, please pick up any litter you see. Thanks!

Photos taken by Mary Osborn and Jill Young

Commuter Lot Cleanup!

It was a beautiful morning for a cleanup! On Thursday, March 23rd, Clean Mill Valley regulars Jill Young, Jeff Conley, and Mary Osborn met at the commuter lot by Marin Theater Company. Although the City of Mill Valley Public Parking Lot was pretty clean, plenty of trash was found nearby. Volunteers combed the adjacent private lot at the rear (way too many beer bottle caps); the adjoining creekside park (pictured below), both sides of the creek, and the commercial parking lot by Doggie Styles, Sloat Garden Center, Sol Food, etc. There was a noticeable decrease in cigarette butts in the private parking lot, no doubt because of Larry’s cigarette butt machine. Clean Mill Valley stalwart Larry Anderson has been cleaning this area for a long time now and it shows. Thank you Larry from the whole team!

Photos taken by Mary Osborn and Jill Young

Coconuts Along Camino Alto

On Thursday, February 23rd, the first day without rain in a very long time, a dedicated troop of litter gatherers assembled to clean up Camino Alto from Tam High to the community center. Participating were Helen Hebert, Dennis Wood, Mary Osborn, Jeff Conley, Betsy Bikle (pictured) and Jill Young. We found slightly more exotic stuff this time, which included coconuts and three deceased chickens, feathers and all. The photos show bags of the debris that we collected along our sidewalks, the banks to the creek and on the median. Pictured below, some of the trash collected. Note the coconuts.

Photos take by Mary Osborn
photos by Joan Murray and Mary Osborn

Mill Valley’s Beloved Creeks

These photos were taken from the Locust Avenue Bridge between Sycamore and Miller Avenues, just about 25 feet away from where Warner Creek joins the Corte Madera Del Presidio Creek. It’s a favored spot for adolescents and others to hang out after purchasing junk food from the nearby 7/11 store. Unfortunately, they leave their litter behind.

This is just a sampling of what Jill Young and I found on an August afternoon.

What isn’t pictured is the huge real estate sign that we dragged out of the creek. The real estate firm is sending someone to pick that up. Jill delivered the rest of this debris to the City of Mill Valley’s corporation yard and we’re waiting for low tide so we can remove the bright orange traffic cone from the deeper water that a telescoping swimming pool net would not dislodge.

Neither of us has a swimming pool, but the net comes in handy for those hard to reach cans, bottles and wrappers lurking in our waterways. We are able to catch the Styrofoam pieces floating on top and capture items normally out of arm’s length.

Our goal is to educate students in our schools and have that care for our environment percolate up to their family members so that debris such as this becomes a distant memory in our town.

photo courtesy of Clean Mill Valley

Successful Cleanup for Earth Day!

Saturday, April 23, 2016 - Clean Mill Valley joined volunteers from Marin County Parks, One Tam, as well as other groups, in a massive cleanup along the Mill Valley-Sausalito multiuse path and around the Bothin Marsh Preserve. Participants focused on picking up litter and debris before it could enter the bay. Members of Clean Mill Valley worked their way along the path as far south as Mike's Bikes in Sausalito, while others cleaned under the overpass and near the heliport. Coffee and croissants were provided and the collected trash was sorted and weighed by the Marin County Parks. Happy Earth Day!

Pictured left are Lynda Chittenden (in front), Jeff Conley, Jill Young, Dennis Wood, Helen Hebert, Mary Osborn, Joan Murray and Ginny Walters - assembled and ready to rock!

Tam Valley Clean-up a Success!

Clean Mill Valley volunteers met on Tuesday, February 16 at 8:30am at the Rosemont bus shelter to remove litter from there to Tam Junction. In a short time a goodly amount of random debris was collected. Among the trash was a discarded sign from the Marin Highlanders Rugby Club. It was submerged in the culvert along Miller Avenue across from the Tam High field. A grateful egret tiptoed by a volunteer as the sign was levered out of the muck.

In attendance was our stalwart volunteers and co-directors, Joan Murray and Jill Young and the ever-vigilent Jeff Conley. Husband and wife team Dennis Wood and Helen Hebert and Mary Osborn rounded out the group. Good job everybody!

Photo taken by Mary Osborn

Clean up at Four Corners

Donna Allen and Joan Murray of Clean Mill Valley participated in Saturday's cleanup efforts at Four Corners on Mt. Tam. Other members of OneTam were in a variety of locations conducting multiple volunteer activities.

As you can see from the pictures below, it's not all work as participants took time to enjoy the view and smell the wildflowers.

Photos by Joan Murray

William Hough of OneTam (left) with debris that Clean Mill Valley collected. A Community and Youth Program Manager, William stopped by on his way to Muir Woods. For more about their work visit

photo provided by OneTam

Clean Mill Valley Joins OneTam Cleanup

November 21, 2015 cleanup sponsored by OneTam and the National Park Service. The County of Marin has been supporting this event since 2005. In addition to picking up litter and debris, participants also focused on removing invasive weeds and planting native plants.

Clean Mill Valley participants [from left to right]: Marianne Babal, Jill Young, Rachelle Sarosi, Jeff Conley, Kirk Schroeder (Marin County Park Ranger), Lynda Chittenden, Mary Osborn, Larry Anderson, and Joan Murray. Not pictured were Vicky Dehnert and Ginny Walters.
Health and Wellness Fair & Family Fun Run

Clean Mill Valley and students, Ines, Sam and Lucy from Greenwood School all participated in the Health and Wellness Fair/Family Fun Run at the Mill Valley Community Center on January 9th. These same students, among others from Greenwood School, have participated in many cleanup events with their environmental studies classes.

Ines built a model that demonstrated that litter eventually finds its way to our waterways, impacting our fish and other marine life. It was a particularly popular attraction for young people. A ball bearing, which represented a piece of litter, was placed in a clear plastic tube and it rolled around and around until it reached a pond of water, replete with fish.

The students also provided face painting to attendees and drew attention to the work that Clean Mill Valley is doing. Many people stopped by to learn about what our efforts to eradicate litter.

The Health and Wellness Fair/Family Fun Run is in its second year and features many healthy options for our community to learn about. We were there as a homegrown group that is improving our environment through our efforts to educate and clean up debris before it gets to our waterways.

The photo to the right, taken by Lisa Landolina, a Greenwood School teacher, shows our team of students along with Joan Murray, co-director of Clean Mill Valley. From left to right are Ines, Sam and Lucy.
photo by Lisa Landolina
Trunk or Treat!
photos provided by Joan Murray
Clockwise from Left: The Clean Mill Valley display; Lisa Durant, designer and magic maker; Ines and Sam from Greenwood School; and an interested trick or treater.

Clean Mill Valley's (CMV) entry was a magnetic attraction at the Mill Valley Community Center’s Annual Trunk or Treat Event on October 23rd. Lisa Durant and her daughter, Ines Lowe, created the stunning design of the CMV trunk. Ines and fellow Greenwood student, Sam Glocker, have both worked on the merchant pledge program, as well as having cleaned up a lot of litter at the marsh near Goodman’s Hardware, as part of their environmental studies program at school.

The trunk sported a black and white recycling theme with strips of newspaper, plastic bottles painted black or white, and other recycled material. Gossamer spider webs were draped around the opening of the trunk, replete with fat, black spiders. A huge black and white papier-mâché pumpkin was the centerpiece of the exhibit and drew many curious children. When small hands reached inside the giant squash for a fortune, Ines and Sam read the contents of the handwritten messages to those not yet old enough to read. Skeletons dangled with strobe lights and eerie sounds emanated from the trunk. Situated alongside our Clean Mill Valley sign, the great pumpkin was a big hit.

Along with the traditional piece of candy, participants were given Clean Mill Valley Halloween bags for their goodies. Our logo was placed on one side of the bag and on the other side a ‘Please Don’t Litter’ message was printed next to a skeleton.

This was an important outreach effort to create more public awareness of litter, especially about the remnants of Halloween. We are grateful for our ongoing partnership with Greenwood School and the commitment by Lisa, Ines and Sam.

The Best Laid Plans of Women
photos by Jill Young

Left: Before and after shots of the area. Pictured on left is Joan Murray. Note the significant amount of litter retrieved. Had they not cleaned up that horrible stuff, it would have gone out to the bay and who knows what creatures it could have harmed?

Below: Out of sight and out of mind! For people who say Mill Valley doesn't have a Litter Problem… We say: Look at this!

Clean Mill Valley Directors Jill Young and Joan Murray were the only ones able to attend the Cleanup on October 5th. Originally, the plan was to clean along Camino Alto from Miller Avenue to East Blithedale, but with just two littermates, they decided it would be more effective concentrating their efforts on the drainage ditch beside Miller Avenue. They were gobsmacked by the enormous amount of litter they found!

They filled two large orange CalTrans garbage bags and, because of the recent high tides, much of it was wet. This made for very heavy bags, which is normally disposed of at the City of Mill Valley corporation yard. However the staff from Grilly’s (yay Grilly's!) allowed them to dump the debris in their containers, which were just across the street. Jill said the debris was gag-worthy.

Our next step has to be in Education so that we can prevent debris cheating us all from enjoying our natural environment and damaging our wildlife and the ecosystems that support them.

Cleaning Up the Creek

On Wednesday, September 2, Jill Young, Jeff Conley and Joan Murray spent just a little over an hour cleaning parts of Arroyo Corte Madera Del Presidio Creek. What they found was primarily snack food wrappers and bags, along with a number of beverage containers. The team removed unattractive litter and prevented it from joining the garbage patch out in the Pacific Ocean. From the Arroyo Corte Madera Del Presidio to Richardson Bay and to the Golden Gate, it all flows westward.

We are working to educate our children and others about the cost of allowing litter to be scattered in our environment. Every dropped piece of litter is destined to be part of the problem. Please help us create awareness of this issue.

Photo to the right shows Joan Murray and Jeff Conley and a trunk full of trash.

photo by Jill Young
photo by Jill Young

Lomita Avenue Shopping Carts

On Friday, May 15, Clean Mill Valley members Jill Young and Jeff Conley revisited Lomita Avenue at the usual area. As you can see in the photo on the left, they found trash and three Rite-Aid carts. The carts had been pushed down into the gully where we found all those bottles in the past (see October 8th posting below). The carts were very heavy and difficult to pull up the slope. Jeff Conley was the hero on that one. Thank you Jeff!

Unfortunately, there were a great many liquor and beer containers in the area which is adjacent to a homeless camp. Many thanks to Jill and Jeff for cleaning up!

Clean Mill Valley Volunteers!

On Wednesday, March 4th, we worked on Camino Alto from East Blithedale to Miller Avenue and on Miller Avenue from Tam High to Reed Avenue. Starting at 9:00am, and working for about an hour-and-a-half, we filled several bags of trash and found two places on Camino Alto where illegal dumping had occurred. See photo.

Pictured on the left are some of us modeling our new designer wear [so that we aren't mistaken for convicts]. Our graphic designer, Mary Osborn, is examining our new vests. From left to right are Jay Hamilton-Roth, Joan Murray and Jeff Conley. In addition to those pictured, Jill Young and Debra Schwartz were also cleaning along with us.

If you see Clean Mill Valley Volunteers on the side of the road, please give us a wave!

The Mill Valley side of The Corte Madera Grade

The City of Mill Valley recently contracted to complete road repair on the Mill Valley side of the Corte Madera Grade. As a result, there were flaggers directing traffic and that made it safer for seasoned volunteers from Clean Mill Valley to remove debris on February 3rd.

While litter may not be easily visible from one’s bike or vehicle, it is lurking in the grass and hillsides. Working from 10:00am to 11:30am, our small team cleaned along both sides of the road, including gullies and hillsides, picking up four large bags of litter. Items ranged from food wrappers and coffee cups to car parts and multiple cans and bottles. Working on the downhill side, one person found 12 water bottles in various stages of decay, likely dropped by bicyclists speeding down the grade.

The calla lilies below the hillside were lovely and the weather was kind and gentle. We startled an extended family of five deer that probably weren’t accustomed to pedestrians rooting around in their environment.

Bags of debris were delivered to the City of Mill Valley Corporation yard and, if a bag was intact, we will reuse it. The used scooter that was found was taken to the Goodwill, but the mattress dumped on the downhill side remains there.

Thanks to Mary Osborn, Jeff Conley, Jill Young and Joan Murray who participated.

New Year's Cleanup!
all photos by Debra Schwartz

On Wednesday, January 14th at 9:00am, several members of Clean Mill Valley assembled to work on Lomita between Ashford and East Blithedale. They met at the corner across from the carwash at Lomita and East Blithedale and filled seven large garbage bags. Participants included Betsy Bikle, Jill Young, Jeff Conley, Debra Schwartz, Margo Kirkpatrick, Peggy Katcher, and Kay Anderson.

Check our Facebook page frequently for upcoming litter removals. Please join us and spend some time making Mill Valley beautiful.

Cleaning Up the Marsh!

photo provided by Greenwood School

On Thursday, December 18th, 2014, participants from Clean Mill Valley and San Rafael Clean partnered with Greenwood School’s 6th Grade to clean up the marsh adjacent to Goodman’s Hardware after the King tides. They met on Hamilton Drive near the frontage road and spent several hours picking up debris. Kudos to these students who care deeply about our environment and are working hard to preserve it!

Many thanks to everyone who participated!

photo by Joan Murray
Dedicated litter fighter Libby McQuiston of San Rafael Clean joined Greenwood School and Mill Valley Clean volunteers to remove debris from the marsh below Shelter Hill and along Hamilton Drive. Here she separated bottles and cans for recycling. See her license plate.
Miller Avenue Clean-up!
photos by Jill Young

Left: Before and after shots of the area. Pictured on right is Jeff Conley. Note the significant amount of litter retrieved. We collected five large bags of litter with five people in five hours. Impressive!

Pictured above, is the site of the Miller Avenue cleanup on Thursday, November 6, 2014. Joan Murray was joined by Jill Young, Jeff Conley, and Kay and Larry Anderson. Starting at 9:00am, our team of five cleaned the culvert and median strip in front of Tam High School up to Reed Street as well as the surrounding area. Kay and Larry Anderson focused their efforts on the Safeway frontage and along Camino Alto.

Tam High acknowledged Clean Mill Valley and our efforts on their electronic message board.

Check our Facebook page frequently for upcoming litter removals. Please join us and spend some time making Mill Valley beautiful.

100 Bottles of Beer!
photos by Jill Young

Left: Joan Murray and Margo Kirkpatrick in the weeds. We go to many lengths to remove litter.

Right: Multiuse bike path near East Blithedale and Lomita Drive. This is the AFTER photo.

We collected a couple of hundred bottles and cans below the path. At a very high tide, that garbage could have slipped into Richardson Bay, then further into the San Francisco Bay, and finally found its way to the Pacific Ocean.

On October 8th, Clean Mill Valley participants headed out in the morning to remove litter on the rim of the marsh at East Blithedale and Roque Moraes, only to find that much of the litter has been swept out to Richardson Bay and beyond from the previous high tide. While we had reviewed the tide tables to time our work, we did not anticipate the effectiveness of a high tide prior to our scheduled cleanup.

However, that did not deter us from finding litter all around, particularly adjacent to the multiuse path on Lomita Drive. Unfortunately, the overgrowth there has invited drinkers who apparently have no other place to drink. We easily found a couple of hundred bottles and cans, some of which were quite weathered. There was a lot of discarded smoking material too and we have reported that to our public works department since it poses a potential fire danger.

Joan Murray was joined by Jill Young, Jeff Conley, Margo Kirkpatrick and Mary Osborn. They worked this morning for about two hours and it has made a huge difference. Join us when you can! We will publish our next litter removal date on our website soon.

$100 Dollar Cleanup!
photos by Joan Murray

Come one, come all! The above photos were taken during a cleanup on Friday, August 22. Jill Young and Jeff Conley worked along East Blithedale, near Ashford Avenue. Peggy Katcher and Margo Kirkpatrick worked at East Blithedale and Tower Drive. All stalwart cleaners. When you walk or drive by there, please note their efforts.

The highlight was when Jeff found a $100 bill. This was Jeff’s second day cleaning litter in town this week. His first day out managed to yield him $6, but today was the real biggie. He found a hundred dollar bill in the weeds. This could be our new marketing ploy. See how much money you can find while making a difference in your community!

Jeff holds up his find and photos of BEFORE and AFTER the cleanup.

Cover Your Load!

photos by Joan Murray

This photo is taken in the City of Mill Valley parking lot across from Whole Foods on Miller Avenue. Jill Young, Kay and Larry Anderson, along with Jeff Conley and Joan Murray participated. We spent about an hour and a half each or approximately eight volunteer hours to accomplish our task.

Larry, a long-time community activist, has adopted the parking lot and the adjacent Park Terrace parklet that runs along Corte Madera Del Presidio Creek. He will monitor and keep the area clean.

Here are photos of an open truck bed parked near Miller Avenue. Even with this pickup being parked, opportunistic birds will dive for food-laden items or the wind can whip trash out into our waterways, streets and highways. Flyer art by Evan Larsen (click image to enlarge).

This is the third time since Earth Day in late April that volunteers have cleaned there. This is further proof that we need to educate our residents and visitors about litter that may be inadvertent on their part, whether it falls from a grocery bag or is blown out of the back of a pickup truck.

The flyer pictured above may be placed on windshields to encourage landscapers and construction workers to remove their lunch and construction waste from open truck beds. According to Caltrans, much of our highway trash comes from “improperly secured and uncovered loads.”

$1000 Fine For Littering!
photo by Lee Kirkpatrick
photo by Lee Kirkpatrick
Individual members of our group have organized their own cleanup at the East Blithedale entrance to Mill Valley. Margo Kirkpatrick and Peggy Katcher recently collected 25 bags of garbage to make our frontage road and main entrance to town more inviting.
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