photo by Andrew Kearns

Students Get Involved!

Joan Murray talks to Mill Valley Middle School student members of the Green Team about Clean Mill Valley and getting started on a new project with the students.

Clean Mill Valley volunteers work with individual students, classes, and even Girl Scout Troops, acting as advisers to help develop greater awareness about litter in their schools and in their community. Each project is different and driven by the students themselves. Check this website for future posts on their successes.

Photo by Julie Hanft

Students Use Art to Get Their Message Across

The Marin School of Environmental Leadership (MarinSEL) members at Terra Linda High School have discovered a creative and fun way to educate their fellow students. They plan to place this cartoon cutout in a hallway with a bag to collect trash and ask students to sign a pledge not to litter.

In the photo on the right (taken by Jill Whitebrook), two students demonstrate. Jack is facing the camera as Cole puts the final touches on the cutout. Your Mission: Take a picture and take the pledge! For more about this terrific group, see the story below.


MarinSEL Students Clean Up Las Gallinas Creek

Students from the The Marin School of Environmental Leadership (MarinSEL) at Terra Linda High School gathered on a Saturday to remove debris from Las Gallinas Creek. It was an An impressive sight as these four students made their way in kayaks to remove debris and prevent it from going out into the bay and beyond. (see photos below)

Clean Mill Valley’s Joan Murray and Marin Clean Highways’ Vicky Dehnert and Jill Whitebook, are advisers to the group of six sophomores whose project they have named “Refuse Refuse”. Joan, Vicky and Jill lead the umbrella group of Clean Marin. One primary goal is to bring communities in our county together to work for a common cause and educate all age groups in Marin about the negative impact of litter to our environment.

One of our students spoke at a San Rafael City Council meeting during Public Open Time about their work and plan to be back at the end of their project to present their research and findings to the city council. They are working to create educational outreach to elementary schools.

Photos provided by Matt O’Brien

We are also working with other students at schools in Marin and welcome any teacher or student to contact us about earning community service hours or obtaining an internship with Clean Mill Valley. Contact Joan Murray at for more information.

Marin Clean Highways Scores With Their "Tarp Your Load" Initiative

On March 17th, Clean Mill Valley and San Rafael Clean joined Marin Clean Highways’ heroines, Jill Whitebook and Vicky Dehnert to educate drivers about uncovered loads, as vehicles entered Marin Sanitary to dump their debris. Jill and Vicky have been working on this project for three years and it is bearing fruit. An estimated 80% of the litter on our roadways comes from commercial vehicles, which includes pickup trucks that contain all sorts of material. By covering these loads, the intent is to dramatically reduce litter everywhere!

Also on hand were the California Highway Patrol, San Rafael Police, Marin County Supervisors’, Kate Sears and Damon Connolly, and their aides, Maureen Parton and Susannah Clark. Marin Sanitary was obviously a very active and supportive partner.

Bilingual educational material was distributed in English and Spanish that informed drivers that they could be ticketed for uncovered loads and along with the flyer came a free tarp!

The tarps were provided by Marin County Public Works (Marin Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program). We thank Terri Fashing, MCSTPPP Program Administrator, for providing them.

In addition, the Garbarino family will be installing signs at the entrance to Marin Sanitary notifying drivers that their loads are required to be covered. We are so impressed with the results of Marin Clean Highways’ efforts. Many thanks to all participants!

* * * * * * *

If you would like to read the California State Tarp Law, please click here and download the pdf. Additional information may be found at the Marin Clean Highways website.

Top Photo: Vicky Dehnert thanking a driver for having covered his load.
Bottom: The woman between Kate and Vicky is Carole Mills, Aide to Senator McGuire. The gentleman second from the right is Supervisor Damon Connolly. Photos provided by Jill Whitebook
Properly Secure Your Load — It’s the Law!

Transporting unsecured loads is unsafe and illegal.

It’s the law – California Vehicle Code 23114 (a) and 23115 (a) require loads to be properly covered.

It can prevent accidents and even save lives – Items may fall out of the vehicle leading to traffic accidents.

It’s litter – Litter blows out of truck beds creating unsightly eyesores and can end up in local waterways and can harm wildlife.

It can cost you money – Fines for littering can be as much as $1000. Failure to properly cover a load can result in fines starting at $109.

Tips for securing your load

Use tarps, netting, bungee cords, straps or rope. Place lighter weight items at the bottom of the load and tie larger items directly to your vehicle.

Don’t overload your vehicle.

Please Spread the Word!

A helpful flyer can be printed out and placed on the windshield of an offending truck. Flyer art by Evan Larsen (click image to enlarge).

If you love baby turtles (and who doesn't love baby turtles?) then read this!

Most trash reaches the seas via rivers, and 80% originates from landfills and other urban sources. This waste, which is also consumed by fish and can entangle sharks and damage coral reefs, tends to accumulate in gyres and along coastlines.


The North Pacific Gyre alone contains 3.5 million tons of cigarette butts, cans, plastic bags and bottles, styrofoam, balloons, lighters, and toothbrushes.

Every time you pick up a stray piece of litter, you are helping to save the ocean environment for all of us. Many thanks!

poster design by Mary Osborn

Organizations Working to Protect our Environment

Meet the Environmental Forum of Marin

Environmental Forum of Marin is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the environment by educating its Members and the Marin citizenry about environmental issues. In furtherance of this purpose, the goal of the Environmental Forum is to conduct programs on environmental issues, provide continuing education for its Members and the public, and influence decision-making. Learn more about the Environmental Forum by clicking here.

Give a Hoot - Don't Pollute!

Lets bring back Woodsy Owl to help teach the children not to litter.

The Woodsy Owl icon first appeared in the early 70's for the United States Forest Service. I was around six years old at the time and I believe the campaign was very effective. Many people, now in their mid to late 40's, will remember his famous slogan: "Give a hoot — don't pollute!"

Woodsy's target audience were children five to eight years of age, and he was designed to be seen as a mentor to children, providing them with information and advice to help them appreciate nature and to discourage littering. Harold Bell of Western Publishing (and producer of Smokey Bear public service announcements), along with Glen Kovar and Chuck Williams, originally created the mascot in 1970 as part of a United States Forest Service campaign to raise awareness of protecting the environment.

Woodsy's slogan was officially introduced on September 15, 1971 by Secretary of Agriculture Clifford Hardin. The first Woodsy Owl public service spot was created by US Forest ranger Chuck Williams, who was the Forest Service's technical consultant for the Lassie TV show which featured a Forest Service ranger and his family. Williams, along with Bell and Glenn Kovar, also of the US Forest Service, brainstormed the idea for the Woodsy motif name together in Los Angeles, California, in 1970. In 1974, the U.S. Congress passed the Woodsy Owl Act (Public Law 93-318) to protect the image of the character.

Along with the motto I remember singing several songs at my Mill Valley elementary school. Used in conjunction with the Woodsy Owl environmental campaign, "The Ballad of Woodsy Owl" and "Help Woodsy Spread the Word" were very catchy and successful at encouraging kids not to litter. To this day, neither I nor my friends litter and I feel the young people of today would benefit from this effective campaign. I hope that Woodsy will have a more prominent presence in our schools.

-Posted by Mary Osborn

Text & Pictures from Wikipedia

Woodsy's target audience were children five to eight years of age
"Help Woodsy spread the word! Don't be a Dirty Bird!"

Top: Original 70's style poster for the campaign. Bottom: Drawing of new Woodsy. "Lend a hand — care for the land!"
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