Category Archives: Minnesota

Volunteers Along the Highway


(Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at

by Robert Barossi

It’s likely that your state has an Adopt-a-Highway or Sponsor-a-Highway program. According to the program’s official website, 49 out of 50 states utilize the program and have stretches of highway which have been adopted by organizations, businesses, religious and community groups, etc. As this article from Minnesota demonstrates, it’s often environmental groups and their volunteers who take part in this program. In the town of Worthington, it’s two such organizations, Worthington FFA and Ocheda Beavers 4-H Club, which have led the way in adopting and caring for stretches of highway. This has included a number of children who have worked along the highway after school to pick up trash and litter. According to the article, in Minnesota, “48,000 volunteers… clean up more than 10,000 linear miles of highways.” While that does help to beautify the roads and save the state money, it also goes a long way towards helping the environment and ecosystems along that 10,000 miles of road.

If you have enjoyed the stories on this blog, check out my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day



Barnes and Noble


Volunteer Trackers

IMG_0463(by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

When interviewing environmental volunteers, I met a volunteer wildlife tracker. She told me about how groups of volunteers would go out in the winter and search for animal tracks, in an effort to gather data about which animals were in a given area. It’s yet another way that volunteers can help to collect information that is vital for conservationists as well as the general public, potential developers, government officials and others. In Minnesota, Jonathan Poppele wants to train volunteers to do this kind of work across the state, specifically aiming to collect data on wolves. The story mentions a similar program that has been successful in collecting important information about wolves in Wisconsin. Programs like these, across the country, are yet another citizen science opportunity for volunteers to get involved and make a difference in wildlife conservation.

More information here on the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project.