COMMUNITY WORKS

Bree Content-WatkinsBy Bree Content-Watkins      February 19, 2021

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COMMUNITY WORKS
PHOTO BY JOANNA GUNST GRZYMKOWSKI Pictured holding the tools of the trade, are (l-r back row) David Carbo, Paul Grzymkowski, Joseph Rosendo, Richard Brody. (l-r front row) Mohamed Alsi, Yuriko Sakamoto, Monica Temperly, Lauren Goldman. Not pictured are Roger Pugliese, Beth Goode, Brad Goode, Ric Alviso, Joe Sloan.
Joseph Rosendo shared this article published by Caltrans in their December newsletter featuring the Topanga Canyon Boulevard Trash Warriors. “It’s quite an honor to be featured in their newsletter and it illustrates the kind of relationship the community (in this case, the Topanga Chamber of Commerce and the Topanga Association for a Scenic Community) has long been working to establish with Caltrans. The article also features the Adam Scott Family Adopt-A-Highway group that cleans a mile-long section of the road starting at PCH.”
Topanga Canyon: Small Community, Big Commitment
Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains along SR-27, the picturesque community of Topanga Canyon is home to a dedicated group of people who call themselves “The Topanga Canyon Boulevard Trash Warriors.”

These passionate volunteers have partnered with the Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway program to make a huge difference in their small community. It started six years ago when two determined residents, Joseph Rosendo and Roger Pugliese, teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce and the Topanga Association for a Scenic Community to establish the Trash Warriors.

Joining the Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway program in 2017, Rosendo leads a group of 15 core members who dutifully meet at 7:00 a.m. every Sunday to set out on their mission: to keep the beautiful canyon clean and safe. The Warriors’ motto is “Forever Scenic.”

Caltrans estimates that the group has cleared approximately six tons of litter, trash, construction waste and debris in recent years. The Warriors’ help Caltrans’ Maintenance Landscape crews remove large amounts of waste along SR-27, which might otherwise end up polluting Topanga Creek and the Pacific Ocean.

It’s not all work, though. After a three-hour shift on Sundays, group members gather at the Inn of the Seventh Ray, where owner Lucille Yaney serves them breakfast — when permitted by COVID-19 restrictions. Their lively banter is jokingly dubbed “Trash Talk.”

More than 50 Topanga residents have joined their team at one time or another. As Rosendo so aptly puts it, “The Topanga Canyon Boulevard Trash Warriors are a personification of the words of anthropologist Margaret Mead: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’”

Another incredible Topanga Adopt-AHighway group is “Adam Scott and Family.” Scott became involved after seeing the AAH signs on highways over the years. Scott knew a friend who had previously volunteered with the AAH program and he was encouraged to start his own group.

For the last three years, Scott and six core volunteers have cleaned up litter along their designated stretch of the SR-27. “It is surprisingly gratifying to clean the highway and it is a beautiful place to be early in the morning,” Scott said.

The successful partnerships between Caltrans’ Adopt-A-Highway program and the “Trash Warriors,” and “Adam Scott and Family” are examples of how government and residents work together to create a strong community.

The Topanga Canyon Boulevard Trash Warriors and Adam Scott and Family were both awarded “Adopt-A-Highway Volunteer of the Year” for 2020. Congratulations!

For more information on the Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway Program, please contact Sheila Hopkins at Sheila.hopkins@dot.ca.gov.

Photo Caption: “The Topanga Canyon Boulevard Trash Warriors have been cleaning up Topanga Canyon Boulevard for six years, before the Adopt-A-Highway program was reinstated on Highway 27 in 2017,” says Joseph Rosendo, one of the co-founders. “The team maintains more than nine miles of the road, including the Scenic Highway section, and have collected more than six tons of trash and debris (Caltrans’ estimate). We clean the road on every Sunday starting at 7 a.m., even though Caltrans only requires Adopt-AHighway sections to be cleaned twice a month. Pictured holding the tools of the trade, are (l-r back row) David Carbo, Paul Grzymkowski, Joseph Rosendo, Richard Brody. (l-r front row) Mohamed Alsi, Yuriko Sakamoto, Monica Temperly, Lauren Goldman. Not pictured are Roger Pugliese, Beth Goode, Brad Goode, Ric Alviso, Joe Sloan.

Reprinted courtesy of Caltrans
By Bree Content-Watkins, Information Officer, Caltrans
Bree Content-Watkins

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