Webinar: Anti-Littering: Social Marketing for Behavior Change

09/26/2017
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Webinar: Anti-Littering: Social Marketing for Behavior Change

Word on the Street and Steams is…

August 21st, 2017
by Hannah Seligmann, Volunteer Coordinator

Since 1989, Potomac Cleanup volunteers have been leading the way to a healthier river. This year, nearly 10,000 volunteers took to the outdoors, organized, picked up trash, and recorded and submitted important data about what they found. We wanted to highlight some of the most interesting finds and best quotes from the 29th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup.

The Potomac Cleanup is often led by returning volunteers. For the folks in the Pohick Creek watershed, the Cleanup is something of a tradition. They’ve been participating in the event for more than a decade!

“Every year our [cleanup] site gets better and better!”
– Pohick Creek Cleanup, Mount Vernon District

For some, this April was their first cleanup. HGA Architects and Engineers can see the Potomac River from their office, along with the trash that’s accumulating.

“I’ve been dreaming about this [cleanup] ever since we first saw the trash.”
– Ethan Fogle

Ethan went above and beyond and purchased a pool net to be able to capture the trash that was out of reach in the water. It was a huge success! Add a pool net to your tips and tricks for on the water cleanups!

If you read our recent blog, Usual Suspects, you know there is no limit to what volunteers might find. Some of our most interesting finds this year were: a glass pepsi bottle from 1950, a grill, wake board, coffee maker, soccer cleats, rusted out antique washing machine, wallet (turned in), plastic Easter eggs, violin case, beautiful hand knit Nordic sweater, a vacuum. Did we mention the plastic hippo?

Aside from the fun in the interesting finds, volunteers keep track of the plastic bags they find and sort between trash and recycling.

“We observed a decrease in bottle and can litter this year, but a dramatic increase in plastic waste, particularly plastic sacs from retailers.  We’re all in favor of banning these plastic sacs.”
– Tripps Run cleanup with the Sleepy Hollow Citizens Association

“Almost everything we picked up was a plastic of some type.  Few grocery store ones – mostly newspaper bags, produce bags, packaging material and a surprising amount of caution tape.”
– Little Falls Stream Valley Park, upper section

During April, we did an intensive cleanup and sorting project with North Point High School and explorer and environmentalist John Cousteau. In 20 minutes, we found and properly disposed of 78 food wrappers, 2 cans, 27 bottle caps, 7 plastic Easter eggs, 2 batteries, 6 plastic bottles, 4 plastic lids, 1 glass beer bottle, 1 blanket, 2 plastic utensils, 1 random small metal piece, 13 straws. Piece by piece, litter adds up.

 

“The 2017 in 2017 challenge was a success! We wanted to collect 2,017 water bottles for 2017 and we exceeded this goal.” 
– Senior Green Team Cleanup
at John E. Howard Community Center

We were inspired by the enthusiasm of the volunteers at the Greenbelt Earth Day Watershed Cleanup who said, “It’s like saving the world”, “This is the best day ever!” and “Small individual actions lead to big community impacts.”

And the volunteers were not afraid to dream big:

“Thirty years from now, we will probably say ‘Remember when people used to use plastic?’”
– Jefferson County, WV

The benefits of the Potomac Cleanup go beyond the ecological improvements.

“Loved getting outside and working with neighbors to help clean the community.”
– Little Hunting Creek Cleanup

“Visitors to the Canal thanked the volunteers for what they were doing as they came in contact with us.”
– Lock 27, Mouth of the Monocacy

And we hope to continue to see comments like the one from Piscataway Hills, “Our site gets cleaner each year.  There were significantly fewer tires.  In the past we filled a pickup truck with tires.”

So join us next year. Save the date for April 14, 2018 for the 30th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup!

 

More Than 400,000 Pounds of Trash Collected and Removed During Regional Cleanup Event

August 18th, 2017

Thousands of volunteers participate in this year’s 29th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup

Drawing from results collected across 270 cleanup sites, more than 9,000 volunteers collected 400,000 pounds of trash throughout the watershed in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania during this year’s 29th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup.

“The impact of this cleanup goes beyond the pounds of litter removed every April. The cleanup is a building block in uniting people and organizations to connect with their local watershed,” said Lori Arguelles, Alice Ferguson Foundation’s President and CEO. “As one of the largest regional event of its kind, the Cleanup brings out community leaders and hundreds of local organizations. Every day, our partners and volunteers inspire us with their commitment to a healthy, clean, and trash free Potomac River Watershed.”

 

 

A wide range of litter was removed during the cleanup – including 21,025 plastic bags, 2,043 tires, 9,267 cigarettes, a variety of bicycles, car parts and more. Since its inception in 1989, the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup has mobilized more than 150,000 volunteers to remove more than 7 million pounds of trash.

“With the increasing awareness of the issue of microplastics accumulating in the oceans, it is critical we catch the trash at its source – on land,” said Hannah Seligmann, volunteer coordinator with the Alice Ferguson Foundation. “Every person who has picked up one straw, one plastic bag, one flip flop, has contributed to the massive momentum that keeps the water we drink safe.”

The Potomac is one of the largest rivers that flows into the Chesapeake Bay, and the source of up to 75% of the drinking and washing water in the region. Littering, runoff, and trash contribute to a widespread problem that affects everyone.

“Today, local action is more important than ever. Small efforts can have big effects when it comes to the health of our waterways,” said Matt Fleischer, Executive Director of The Rock Creek Conservancy. “This year alone we removed 817 bags of trash and 470 recycling from Rock Creek alone. That’s 1287 bags of litter that didn’t end up in the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean.”

The annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup is one of many of the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s programs designed to promote environmental sustainability in the region and connect people to the natural world. The Foundation’s Regional Litter Prevention Campaign empowers communities to “Take Control, Take Care of Your Trash,” led to a 30% reduction in observable littering behavior in the targeted District of Columbia neighborhoods between 2013 and 2015. Another program, Trash Free Schools, engages more than 2,000 students annually from more than 20 schools throughout the DC metro region.

Several hundred organizations and groups partner in the Cleanup each year, including Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Anacostia Watershed Society, C&O Canal Association, C & O Canal Trust, Charles County Public Works, City of Alexandria, DC Department of Energy and Environment, Fairfax County, Friends of Accotink Creek, Friends of Little Hunting Creek, Greenbelt Department of Public Works, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, Joint Base Andrews, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, Montgomery County Parks and Planning, National Park Service, Prince George’s County, Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District, Reston Association, Rock Creek Conservancy and Rock Creek Nature Center.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation connects people to the natural world, sustainable agricultural practices, and the cultural heritage of their local watershed through education, stewardship, and advocacy.

Homeschool Open House

08/15/2017
9:00 am - 2:00 pm Homeschool Open House
Cafritz Environmental Center, Accokeek MD

Film in the Woods: Rocky Horror Show

10/28/2017
11:30 pm Film in the Woods: Rocky Horror Show
Hard Bargain Amphitheater, Accokeek MD

Paint in the Woods: Wine & Design

09/24/2017
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm Paint in the Woods: Wine & Design
Hard Bargain Amphitheater, Accokeek MD

Yoga & Wine

08/13/2017
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Yoga & Wine
Hard Bargain Amphitheater, Accokeek MD

30th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup

04/14/2018
9:00 am - 12:00 pm 30th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup

Upcoming 2017 Shows and Concerts

July 3rd, 2017

We are well into our summer theater and concert season – don’t miss out! Scroll down for a listing of upcoming concerts, events, and plays:

July 15: Concert in the Woods: Blues Night
Don’t miss this special evening of red hot blues music with three of the most respected blues masters in the Mid Atlantic region: Linwood Lee Taylor, bassist Steve Wolf and drummer extraordinaire Joe Wells.

August 4-19: Theater in the Woods: Equivocation
William Shakespeare finds himself between a powder keg and the crown in this brilliant play by Bill Cain, directed by Craig Hower. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.

August 13: Yoga in the Woods: Yoga & Wine
Join us for this all-level Yoga class in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater for an evening of community, yoga, and wine led by Yoga instructor Sean Fraser!

August 26: Concert in the Woods: 8 Ohms
Join us for an evening concert featuring the reggae funk sound of the 8 Ohms. Preview the sound and voice of the 8 Ohms at 8ohmsband.com.

Sept. 23: Concert in the Woods: Lynn Hollyfield
Join us at for a concert of beautiful music with Lynn Hollyfield, Steve Wolf (bass), Dave Abe (violins, mandolin, pennywhistle) and Jimmy Brink (percussion) with special guest, Keely Hollyfield (harmony vocals).

Sept. 8-17: Theater in the Woods: Bambi
A stage version of Austrian novelist Felix Salten’s Bambi, originally written in the 1920s. Bambi: A Life in the Woods is an eloquent and haunting tale of growing up that will appeal to children and adults alike. Performances are Fridays at 8:00pm; Saturdays & Sundays at 3:00pm.

Sept. 24: Paint in the Woods: Wine & Design
Join us at our theater in the woods to unleash your inner artist in a fun and social environment. Meet neighbors, make new friends, and create a piece of art under the guidance of artist Vicki Marckel. We provide everything, just sign up, show up, and paint!

Oct. 6-21: Theater in the Woods: The Weir
Written by Conor McPherson and directed by Brooke L. Howells, The Weir is a haunting play with its roots in Irish folklore that examines chances of missed opportunity and the loneliness that results. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm.

Oct. 28: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Midnight showing! Grab your fishnets, and jump to the Hard Bargain Amphitheater’s feature presentation of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW! Coming this October, TIME WARP back to the 1970s and shimmy the night away to the voices of Magenta, Frank N Furter & Riff Raff.

5 Local Schools That Are Making A Difference

June 22nd, 2017
by Julia Saintz, Community Outreach Coordinator

Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, we conducted a number of waste reduction, litter prevention and school yard cleanup projects in Prince George’s County, MD and Washington, D.C. through our Trash Free Schools program. Check out a few highlights below!

Phyllis E. Williams Elementary School in Prince George’s County, MD has posted the Regional Litter Prevention Campaign in English and Spanish at the entrance of their school.


Fourth graders from Washington International School
in Washington, D.C. did a Cleanup on the National Mall.  One student even rescued a turtle that was caught in rope!


Anne Beers Elementary School
in Washington, D.C. had a school yard cleanup and removed a whole bag of trash from their schoolyard!  Below you can see us playing an observation game to wrap up the cleanup.


Parkside Middle School
in Washington D.C. painted litter cans that will be adopted at the school and in the Parkside Community to reduce litter.

 


Capital City Public Charter School
fifth graders in Washington, D.C. spent the school year brainstorming and planning action projects to make their school more trash free.  In the end, they presented the actions to their school administration and maintenance staff!


Are you inspired?  Reach out to us to plan an event for next school year at your school. Let’s partner on student-led action projects, Adopt a Litter Can painting, a school yard cleanup, in-classroom presentations, and more!