Adopt-A-Spot Program

Let’s face it litter is ugly, it pollutes our waterways, it’s expensive for our cities, towns, and communities to remove, and it can cause localized flooding. Adopting a Spot provides a simple way for anyone to make a difference in their own neighborhood and provide the inspiration for others to do the same. Adopt a Spot today and play an active role in the growing movement towards a Clean Marin!

Who Can Adopt A Spot?

Litter-ally Everyone! – Individuals, family and friends, community and youth groups, businesses, schools, churches, and other organizations.

Where Can I Adopt?

Litter-ally Anywhere In Marin! – See a spot that needs some attention? Adopt it! Your street, the HOA common area, a local park, your child’s school, the neighborhood loop you take the dog for a walk on, the bus stop down the street, along you favorite creek or shoreline path, or get the family, friends, or coworkers together and take on a busy area downtown or other heavily littered spot!

Read through the Overview and Adoption Requirements below and adopt your spot today!

OverviewAdoption GuidelinesJurisdiction ContactsSign Up Now!

Adoption Overview

Thank you for doing your part to reduce litter in Marin by Adopting-A-Spot! The more we can come together as one, the greater strides we can make to end the social epidemic of litter in our otherwise beautiful county.

While our focus is on removing litter, with pre-approval from your municipality or other public agency your Adopted Spot can also include removing weeds and other unwanted vegetation, and maintaining plants and wildlife habitat to increase the beautification of your spot.

Your well-being and enjoyment are important to us. This program depends on the common sense and responsibility of individual participants. All volunteers are expected to conduct themselves in a safe, courteous and legal manner while participating in activities on public property or right-of-way. Please read through and follow all of the safety guidelines. If you’re working in a group it is best to start each cleanup with a brief safety meeting.

While we would love for everyone in Marin to Adopt-A-Spot today, we know that it takes an ongoing commitment to keep an adopted spot clean over time. That’s why we ask that you commit to adopting your spot for at least a year and attend to it at least once quarterly. If for any reason down the road you are no longer able to continue cleaning up your spot, please let us know so we can remove your spot and let others know it’s available to adopt.

It will greatly depend on your spot as to how frequently you will need to do a cleanup. In some neighborhoods it may only need to be done once a month or even just picking up a couple pieces here and there when you’re on your regular walk. Places like larger parks, walking paths, beaches, and downtown areas may take many or even dozens of adopters or adopting families and groups going by frequently to keep up with the trash load.

Once you have adopted your spot it is important for you to reach out to the Jurisdiction Contact where your spot is to fill out any additional paperwork they may have, let them know where you have adopted, and what your plan is for cleaning it. Many of them can provide you with supplies and support, including things like litter safety vests, litter grabbers, bags, and buckets. Some of them will even pick up debris collected if you have a big cleanup with high volumes or large objects that you can’t take with you. It’s important to contact them before your cleanup, not after if this is the case! In several municipalities you can coordinate everything through their Clean Group. – See the Jurisdiction Contacts tab.

Lastly, we ask that you keep track of a few totals for your cleanups. This is important data that will help us get a better idea of what the trash loads are, and a great way to keep a “Trash Counter” for communities all over the county that we can post to the website! There will be a simple form on the website to submit them (and hopefully someday an app for your phone!). We don’t need individual totals for each time you do a cleanup but we ask that you keep estimated monthly totals and submit them.

The three things we want to collect monthly totals for are:

  • How many people participated (how many in your group)
  • Total volunteer hours for you and anyone in your group
  • Estimated gallons of trash collected (think bucket or trash bag volume)

Now on to the Adoption Guidelines!

Adoption Guidelines

Connect With Your Jurisdiction Contact

  • Contact the volunteer coordinator with the City, Town, County, or any of the various Parks jurisdictions where your adopted spot is located and sign a Volunteer Waiver and Release of Liability before beginning work.
  • Make sure all volunteers working with you also complete and sign a Volunteer Waiver and Release of Liability form with the City, Town, County, or any of the various Parks jurisdictions where your adopted spot is located.
  • Discuss plans for your adopted spot with your Jurisdictional Contact and let them know if there are any supplies or support you may need or if they have any additional requirements or guidelines.

Covid-19 Safety

During these difficult COVID-19 times we want to make sure everyone is staying safe. Please make sure you are taking extra precautions:

  • Wear a mask and disposable gloves
  • Use a litter grabber if possible
  • Treat all trash items, especially discarded disposable gloves and masks as being contaminated
  • Place all items in a closable garbage bag
  • Tie the bag closed and throw it away in a closed trash can
  • Remove disposable gloves and throw in closed trash can
  • Wash your hands immediately after removing gloves and wash the clothes you were wearing

General Safety

  • Make sure to have adequate adult supervision when working with children, especially with larger group events.
  • Children must be at least 13 years old and under the supervision of an adult to work in the proximity of roadways, parking lots, waterways, shorelines, and other places requiring increased awareness. Never allow children to work near the street or gutter.
  • Please adopt safer spots such as schools, neighborhood parks, walking trails and paths, beaches, common areas, and other traffic and hazard free locations when working with children under the age of 13.
  • Wear appropriate footwear, light colored clothing, gloves, sunscreen, and eye protection (when necessary).
  • Watch your footing and stay off steep slopes, creekbanks, shorelines, or places you can fall off.
  • Avoid overexertion. Drink plenty of water, especially on warm, humid days.
  • Be alert for wildlife, insects, and poisonous plants including snakes, ticks, bees, and poison oak.
  • Have a well-stocked first aid kit available and call 911 for emergencies.

Traffic Safety

  • Stay out of the traveled portion of the roadway and do not work on the roadway paving or shoulder. In general, “stay off the asphalt”. Face oncoming traffic as you work and keep an eye on traffic.
  • Use caution when crossing streets and look both ways! Be especially careful if carrying materials or tools, or if your attention might otherwise be distracted. Use crosswalks and signals where available, not mid-block.
  • Always remain visible to drivers by discontinuing work before dusk, and don’t work when fog or other conditions reduce visibility. Assume cars don’t see you.
  • When working in or around a gutter, only work from the sidewalk.
  • If working near traffic, wear a bright reflective work vest or bright-colored clothing.

Working Near Waterways

  • Always work with a partner near water.
  • Watch for poison oak and blackberry thorns.
  • Watch your footing near slopes and shorelines.
  • Never allow children to work near steep slopes, deep or fast moving water, or shorelines without adult supervision.

Debris Removal

  • Always sweep, rake or shovel broken glass. Never pick up sharp objects with your hands.
  • Separate collected materials into recycling, green waste and garbage when possible.
  • To the extent practicable, place recyclables and smaller garbage bags into your home refuse containers.
  • Don’t fill up public trash cans with collected litter as others will simply drop or pile trash next to a full trash can.
  • If your municipality/public agency has supplied you with program-issued debris bags, call them to arrange pick up. Tell them the quantity of bags, type of debris and the nearest address.
  • If you are working with your own supplies and are planning for a bigger cleanup that you think is going to generate more bags and/or large items that you won’t be able to dispose of yourself, contact your municipality/public agency at least 2 weeks in advance to schedule a pick up and coordinate the best location to leave the pile.
  • Never touch hazardous or medical waste (including automotive fluids and hypodermic needles). Report items to Public Works, local police, or to the County Sheriff.

Tool Safety

  • The use of any hand tools beyond litter grabbers and buckets in the public right way or on public lands needs to be approved by your municipality/public agency beforehand!
  • Do not use power tools.
  • Carry tools carefully to avoid hitting others.
  • Always use the right tools for the job. Ask a team leader or municipal/Clean Program staff if you are unsure.
  • Never allow children to play with tools or to use sharp tools.
  • Always keep your tools close to you.
  • For group events, count and clean your tools after an activity/cleanup.
  • Return any borrowed tools and supplies from your municipality/public agency/clean group promptly as agreed as others may need to borrow them for their cleanups.

General Conduct

  • Always be courteous to fellow volunteers and municipal employees/Clean Program staff.
  • Never use vulgar language or engage in threatening or disruptive actions.
  • Never make unauthorized changes to public property or right-of-way, including landscaping.

Report Monthly Totals

  • Report cleanup activities/monthly totals to the municipal/Clean Program Adopt-A-Spot Coordinator or directly on the Clean Marin website using the Volunteer Cleanup Reporting Form.
  • Things to include in your monthly totals:
    1. Number of different volunteers that worked from your team
    2. Total combined hours spent on your spot
    3. Total volume picked up in gallons (estimate by the volume of the bucket or trash bag you’re using)

By adopting-a-spot and/or participating in a cleanup you understand and agree that neither Clean Marin or any of their partners, including the County of Marin, Marin’s 11 cities and towns, Open Space and Water Districts, National or State Parks, or any other public lands agency in Marin may be held liable or responsible in any way for any injury, death, or other damages to you or your family, heirs, or assigns that may occur as a result of your participation, or as a result of product liability or the negligence, whether passive or active, of any party in connection with the cleanups.

Note: The municipalities and/or Clean Programs reserve the right to immediately withdraw support for any volunteer if, at the sole discretion of the municipality/Clean Program, the volunteer’s conduct while participating in volunteer activities on public property or right-of-way is determined to be inconsistent with these Volunteer Guidelines or violates any local, state, or federal law. Withdrawal of support may include repossession of loaned tools and revocation of related Adopt-A-Spot Agreements and the loss of your Adopted Spot.

Jurisdiction Contacts

Once you have adopted your spot, contact the jurisdiction below where your spot is at to see about filling out a Release of Liability Waiver and discuss your spot and any support or supplies you may need.

*More Jurisdictional Contact updates coming soon for the various Open Space and Park Agencies
Jurisdiction Website Clean Group / Contact Email Phone
City of Belvedere Robert Zadnik (415) 435-3838
Town of Corte Madera Chris Good (415) 927-5057
County Unincorporated Civic Center Volunteers (415) 473-7407
Town of Fairfax Mark Lockaby (415) 458-2370
City of Larkspur Julian Skinner (415) 927-5020
City of Mill Valley Clean Mill Valley (415) 261-7431
City of Novato Novato Streetscape Committee (415) 899-8950
Town of Ross Richard Simonitch (415) 453-1453
Town of San Anselmo Sean Condry (415) 258-4616
City of San Rafael San Rafael Clean (415) 485-3407
City of Sausalito David Bracken (415) 289-4176
Town of Tiburon David Eshoo (415) 435-7354

Sign Up Today!

Signing up is as easy as reading and agreeing to follow the Adoption Guidelines and filling out our new online form!

We also encourage you to take the opportunity to use the upload photo option when you’re filling out the online form (or send us one afterwards). Pick a photo that best depicts yours spot. It can include you or your group at your spot, or just the spot. The photo will show up with your listing and in the little bubble of your spot marker on the map!

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