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Environmental Factor, December 2015

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NIEHS staff cleans up local highway

By Ian Thomas

Popovich and Rice recycling

Popovich, left, and Rice share trash and recycling bags. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS employees celebrated America Recycles Day Nov. 4 by picking up trash from a 1.2-mile stretch of Hopson Road in Research Triangle Park, bordering the institute campus. The lunchtime outing was part of the North Carolina Adopt-A-Highway Program , a long-standing effort to reduce litter on local roadsides and preserve the natural beauty of the Tar Heel State.

“NIEHS has been involved with the Adopt-A-Highway program for nearly twenty years, and I’m proud to say it’s one our people take very seriously,” said NIEHS and National Toxicology Program Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., one of ten employees to brave the rain and muddy conditions. “Come rain or shine, they always show up, and as legacies go, that’s a great one to have in our community.”

Established in 1988 as a response to growing concerns from local citizens about litter, the Adopt-A-Highway Program volunteers include representatives from government and private-sector entities across the state.

“Our team gathered everything from soda cans to hot dog wrappers, and even an old sweatshirt from the roadside today,” said Paul Johnson, co-chair of the NIEHS Environmental Awareness Advisory Committee and an organizer of the cleanup. “We do this every year. I only wish we could do it more often.”

America Recycles Day is an initiative of Keep America Beautiful. It is the only nationally recognized day of events dedicated to promoting recycling.

(Ian Thomas is a public affairs specialist with the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison, and a regular contributor to the Environmental Factor.)

Steve McCaw

Birnbaum celebrates another successful cleanup. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Rice, Innes, Birnbaum, Humble, Popovich, Steinmetz, Thomas, and Johnson

From left, Rice, Innes, Birnbaum, Humble, Popovich, Steinmetz, Thomas, and Johnson show off the fruits of their labors. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Johnson and Steinzmetz picking up trash

Johnson, left, and Steinmetz go deep into the brush after trash. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Humble and Birnbaum picking up trash

Humble, left, and Birnbaum make a final pass over Hopson Road for loose trash. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

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