Continued attack of the litterbug!

Courtesy of B.J. Cordova- Tucson Clean and Beautiful

More than a half-century ago, Tucson resident Annette Richards coined the term “litterbug”, describing in one word the epidemic habit of individuals habitually or negligently discarding all manner of unwanted items on to roadsides, at parks, in our waterways, at venues including movie theaters and sports events, on vacant land, and even at their own home!

The Tucson Clean & Beautiful Adopt-a-Park & Public Areas Program began in 1984, out of the need to clean up and maintain the beauty of our community’s public parks in the face of growing litter and continued reductions in government resources to address this concern. From 1985 to 1988, approximately a dozen new community groups joined the program each year, helping as stewards to clean up litter and report maintenance concerns at parks spread throughout the Tucson metropolitan area.

Today the program continues to expand, and now includes over 130 adopted sites that are cared for by volunteers throughout the year, including dozens of miles of streets and several neighborhood washes. To date, volunteers have provided over 180,000 hours of community volunteer service, with over 8,000 of those hours given in the past year alone.

Many contiguous sections of roadway and adjacent parks & washes are now being adopted and consistently maintained. Some areas of Tucson have seen a recent surge in projects. All of Greasewood Rd. and other adjacent parks and washes on the west side are now adopted Elsewhere near the Airport, recent regional cooperation and continued volunteer interest has led to the roadways and parks near Tucson Blvd. and Drexel Rd. being substantially covered by new volunteers. While several hundred sites are still available for adoption, volunteer efforts in areas such as these are beginning to reach a critical mass. Volunteers are working on separate projects, but are building a synergy that makes a difference in the environment and quality of life of these areas, and to our region as a whole.

Community groups and businesses are invited to take on the challenge and become stewards of our environment by volunteering through Tucson Clean & Beautiful at a park, street, or wash near them. For more information, visit or call 791-3109. Together, we can make a difference and fight the litterbug in all of our favorite public sites!

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