photo by Andrew Kearns

Projects

We conduct periodic litter removal along with other local organizations.

On Earth Day, we work with Bloomathon, an organization over a quarter century old that focuses on beautifying Mill Valley with spring and fall plantings. In April each year, we help remove litter from Tamalpais High School on Miller Avenue to the old lumber company.

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. See below for some highlights from recent projects.

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

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 www.onetam.org.

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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