Adopt-a-Highway Program: On the Road to Cleaner Environments

About the Authors

Marcus Sattler

Marcus Sattler
Plant Manager, Crocker Wind Farm

National Grid Renewables logo element

Juan Baez
Site Manager, Noble Solar & Storage

Ben Prigge

Ben Prigge
Solar Facilities Manager, Nordic Solar Portfolio

David Ureno

David Ureno
Plant Manager, Prairie Wolf Solar

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Whether you planted a tree, cleaned up your local park, or adopted a new sustainable practice this Earth Day, each step toward creating a more environmentally conscious world is significant. This year, four of our renewable energy projects across the country connected through our nation’s highways via the Adopt-a-Highway program. Each National Grid Renewables site adopted sections of highways near their projects that they’ll maintain for years to come.

While our site workers are already used to being outside in the elements, the chance to get outside to find new ways to connect with the planet while growing in environmental stewardship was a big highlight. From some sites inspiring others to get involved to the collective agreement behind their “why”, we see this volunteer event as one giant mosaic that each site had a role in creating.

Man picking up trash
People with Happy Earth Day sign and trash bags next to highway with wind turbines in background
Men picking up trash

Will you share a little background of how you and your site got involved with the Adopt-a-Highway program?

David: I was initially inspired by the Crocker site, which has been involved with the program in the past. After learning about it from peers at Crocker, we knew the Prairie Wolf site had to get involved. In Illinois, we’re allowed to adopt two-mile chunks at a time. So, we have two miles of State Highway 16 near the site we’re sponsoring.

Juan: It was an easy “yes” for the Noble site to get involved. We saw this as a simple yet impactful way to give back to our planet and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Marcus: We were initially inspired by a local homeowner’s suggestion late last year to adopt a highway. Many of these highways run along farmland, so we recognized the importance of keeping the ditches free of debris and litter to help the farmers in the community.

How many people from your site were involved?

Ben: Each site had about three to four site workers volunteer at the cleanups. Some of the highways had a direct connection with some of our employees, which was a neat bonus.

Marcus: That is how many volunteers were from our site too, Ben. Also, the cleanup event took about half a day to do with each site adopting two to four miles. We had small but mighty teams who really came together to do a great job.

People with truck full of trash bags and Happy Earth Day sign

Is there a sign involved when you adopt a highway?

Ben: It’s probably the same in every state, but every section of a highway that a group, company, or organization adopts receives a sign with their name on it. It’s then placed alongside the section of the highway that they’ve adopted. I imagine each site will have a sign with National Grid Renewables listed on it, which is a nice way to show our commitment to the community.

Earth Day is a great way to express your gratitude to the planet. What does this volunteer event mean to you on a personal level?

Marcus: I’m someone who enjoys spending time in nature. Most of my hobbies involve the outdoors. One of my favorites is camping with my family. So, to have the opportunity to be outside while improving the community’s surrounding environment seemed like a natural fit.

David: Like Marcus, I love being outdoors. I value taking care of the environment that surrounds me. I think my passion for the outdoors really resonates with our National Grid Renewables’ farmer-friendly approach as we live out the importance of responsible land stewardship.

Adopt a Highway sign with trash bags
People with Happy Earth Day sign and trash bags

In a broader context, what impact does this volunteer event have on the community?

Ben: This isn’t just a one-time thing that our sites will participate in. By taking this step toward keeping the ditches of the highways clean, we addressed an immediate issue of debris clean up and contributed to the broader efforts to preserve and protect the environment for future generations. We really hope to see this year’s volunteer event expand and inspire others to get involved in their communities.

David: With plans to do cleanups twice a year, coinciding with Earth Day and a fall event, our mission really boils down to maintaining the cleanliness of our surroundings. Within the renewable energy industry, we understand the opposition toward our projects. One reason for the opposition is the visual impact that our types of projects have on the natural landscape. We see these volunteering efforts as a way to show that we value the land our projects are on by taking care of it.

Juan: I agree with Ben and David. By actively engaging in events like this one, we show our commitment to our work and the surrounding community. Through our participation in the Adopt-a-Highway program, we have an opportunity to show the community that we’re more than just a business—we’re dedicated people who value taking care of the land and being part of the community.

People with Happy Earth Day sign and trash bags on side of road

Upholding our core values

With each highway cleanup event, we saw our company and personal values lived out through our dedication to building a more sustainable and connected community. To see the impact of our efforts was incredibly meaningful. As we reflect on this year’s Earth Day volunteer events, we are encouraged by the relationships strengthened and the impact made. When we look toward the future, we remain committed to integrating ourselves further into the communities we live and work within, demonstrating our promise to do the right thing and making new and better outcomes.

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