Keeping Arcata Streets Clean

for a Clean Humboldt Bay 


Adopt-a-Block volunteers at this year's appreciation partyAdopt-a-Block volunteers at this year's appreciation party

The waste that accumulates on city streets is not only a nuisance and eyesore, but all ultimately ends up being washed into our aquatic ecosystems and Humboldt Bay. The Adopt-a-Block program of the NEC and RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) works to decrease the amount of litter in our streets, particularly toxic cigarette butts, that can damage our watershed. If you already clean your block or storefront, this is a great way to have your work acknowledged and for the waste you pick up to be recorded. With the accumulation of all of the volunteers data, a real difference can be made. Individuals and businesses willing to volunteer a small amount of their time each month can volunteer with Adopt-a-Block and pledge to keep a storefront, bike path, trail, street, or block clean!

How to Get Involved

Adopt-a-Block activities include:

  • Collecting and gathering cigarette litter
  • Collecting and disposing of other litter
  • Reporting monthly to the NEC with your volunteer hours and cigarettes collected
  • Encouraging participation

You man choose to clean whichever area of your choosing after submitting an application and liability form, for approximately 4 hours a month. This could be a block, storefront, trail, or any other location in need of some TLC. Usually it is the block near the business or person's home, but if you wish to clean a particular location ask the NEC if it has been adopted yet!


What Can the NEC Offer?

The Northcoast Environmental Center has several supplies it can offer volunteers.

Free materials provided by the NEC for AAB volunteersFree materials provided by the NEC for AAB volunteers

  • Trainings on hazardous materials disposal, best methods to pick up litter, and why your work is important
  • Gloves
  • Bags
  • Bucket
  • Trash grabber
  • Hazardous waste containers
  • Cigarette containers for pockets, storefronts, and volunteers






A party is held to celebrate all AAB volunteers every year, and receive recognition in EcoNews. Individuals receive an acknowledgement certificate, and businesses receive a decal or poster identifying them as an AAB participant for their store window. There is also the opportunity for discounted group marketing with other AAB members. 


Golden Broom Awards

The Golden Broom is awarded each year to an outstanding participant. Prizes may include gift certificates to area  businesses, recognition in publications and a Golden Broom trophy for display during that year. 









Provide a cigarette receptacle in your store. Provide incentives for community volunteers. The inventives could be discounts, food, donations for the program or other creative ideas! It also provides good publicity for the businesses in encouraging public concern and awareness throughout the community.