The Tyler Civitan Club on the morning of a clean up marking their
It all started in the Lone Star State.
“Did you know the first highway ever adopted was right here in
One day back in 1984, James R. “Bobby” Evans, an engineer for the Texas
Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Tyler District, was driving
through Tyler when he observed debris blowing out of the bed of the
pickup truck he was following.
Alarmed by the incident and concerned that the cost of picking up litter
was increasing at an annual rate of 15 to 20 percent, Evans began
appealing to local groups to “adopt” a section of highway. His initial
challenge went unanswered.
Champion for the cause
It wasn't long before Billy Black, Public Information Officer for
TxDOT's Tyler District, became involved in developing the
Adopt-a-Highway program. Black was responsible not only for creating a
quarterly cleanup cycle for adopting organizations, but also for
implementing the initial concept, which included furnishing volunteer
safety training, reflective vests and equipment — and for erecting the
well-known Adopt-a-Highway roadside signs that recognize adopters.
The Tyler Civitan Club soon became the first group to volunteer,
adopting a two-mile stretch of Highway 69.
The rest, as they say, is history. Within months, more than 50
groups in the region — garden clubs and scouting groups among them — had
joined the program, which would blanket Texas and quickly spread
Signs recognizing the Tyler Civitans' section of roadway (“First
Adopt-a-Highway in the Nation”) were erected on March 9, 1985 — a day
that has subsequently been named International Adopt-a-Highway Day.
Demonstrating the value of a successful public-private
partnership, today Adopt-a-Highway is a grassroots movement involving
nearly 90,000 groups in 49 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, New Zealand,
Australia and Japan.
For more information call your local
coordinator or e-mail us to explore the opportunities!
Ready to sign up?
Locate your area coordinator(s) here.