Trash Cleanups Continue Safely Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Residents across Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, will safely come together on Saturday, April 10 to participate in the 33rd Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup and help remove thousands of pounds of litter and trash from neighborhoods, parks and streets. 

“We are excited to organize and support these large-scale cleanup efforts again this year,” said Theresa Cullen, Alice Ferguson Foundation Executive Director. “Cleanup events are a great way to safely get together with friends and family in the great outdoors while doing good and making a difference.”

This year’s cleanups will follow COVID-19 safety guidelines set by local jurisdictions: cleanup events will be socially distant, the number of volunteers will be limited for each event, and larger cleanup efforts will include time slot registration. The Alice Ferguson Foundation is currently hosting free virtual volunteer training workshops to help volunteers learn how to safely organize cleanups.

Each year, the Alice Ferguson Foundation also provides more than 20,000 bags and 10,000 gloves to volunteers and community organizations across the region at no charge. In a regular year, the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup brings together 9,000 volunteers across 300 cleanup events during the month of April. 

“Last year, despite the impact of COVID-19 and all the uncertainty surrounding it, we still saw more than 1,400 volunteers participate in cleanup efforts in our communities,” said Samantha Battersby, Alice Ferguson Foundation Cleanup Coordinator. “These volunteers helped remove more than 56,000 pounds of trash at the more than 60 small and socially distant cleanups.” 

Since 1989, the Alice Ferguson Foundation has coordinated the Annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup every April and has engaged more than 150,000 volunteers and 500 partner organizations to remove more than 8 million pounds of trash from the Potomac River Watershed.


  • Where: Cleanups will be held at hundreds of sites through the Potomac River Watershed, which include the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Locate a site here.
  • When: The majority of cleanups will be held Saturday, April 10, 2021 from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. There will be additional cleanup events scheduled throughout the month.
  • Who: Volunteers from around the watershed, including elected officials, community businesses and leaders, community organizations, teachers, and government agency leaders.


The annual Cleanup is part of the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative, which seeks to connect people to their local watershed with the ultimate goal of creating clean land, safe water and healthy lives. The data gathered from cleanups is used to track trash hotspots, mark progress and target policies intended to reduce litter in the region.

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. Learn more at

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