What You Can Expect:

  • While we do provide cleanup supplies as part of the Potomac Watershed Cleanup, if you have your own gloves, please bring them! Feel free to bring along your own rakes or grabbers too.
  • Clothes and shoes may get dirty. Wear old clothing that is weather appropriate and bring extra layers. If working near water, waterproof boots or waders may be helpful.
  • Not all cleanup sites are child-friendly or handicap accessible. Each cleanup site offers different amenities. Contact the site leader or check the notes listed for a specific site to determine site specifics.
  • Expect moderate work that requires bending over to pick up trash, and walking. Other volunteer jobs such as volunteer check-in and recording data may be less strenuous. Check with your site leader for specific volunteer tasks.
  • NPS Service Agreement This Volunteer Services Agreement Form is required for all individual or groups that will be volunteering on cleanups which are located within a National Park, Forest, Battlefield, Seashore, etc… The form not only helps the parks keep track of volunteer involvement in their parks but it also covers volunteers in case of injury. This form should be filled out in advance and forwarded on to the parks Volunteer Coordinator; if unable to fill out the form in advance, it is fine to fill one out the day of the event then submit it to the park you worked at. Groups can fill out the Volunteer Services Agreement Form as a group, then attach a list of all the volunteers names to it as long as everybody in that group is over the age of 18; anyone under the age of 18 needs to have their own individual form filled out, which is to be signed by a parent or guardian.


Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Does a Cleanup site have to be along the water? NO, you can start a Cleanup site anywhere! The Potomac Watershed is all the land area that drains into the Potomac River. Cleaning up a street, schoolyard, or park gets rid of the trash before it goes into storm drains or other waterways that dump into the Potomac.
  2. What does it mean when the site is listed as “adopted”? Adopted means that a specific group will be handling the cleanup at that site and no other volunteers are needed. Adopting a site is perfect for scout troops, churches, businesses or other organizations that have a unified volunteer base.
  3. Can I start a new site near me? Yes, visit the Site Leader Center for more information.
  4. How can school groups or scout troops participate? School groups can do schoolyard cleanups prior to the event which can involve your science class or environmental club. Participating students can fulfill required service learning hours. Scouts can help at cleanup sites in their area on the day of the event. Often, scout troops will “adopt” the site because they can provide their own volunteers and achieve a group accomplishment. The cleanup works towards the Water Drop patch for Girl Scouts and a Conservation patch for Boy Scouts.
  5. What happens if there is inclement weather? The Cleanup still happens in the rain, and despite what you may think, wet weather can make the day even more fun. Most sites follow the “Rain or Shine” policy. However, it is best to contact the site leader to check their policy.
  6. Will this count for my community service hours? Only the director of your community service project can officially approve required service hours. However, most area schools allow this for service project, service learning and student volunteer hour requirements. Contact your community service director and the site leader to ensure credit for your effort.
  7. How can my business get involved with the cleanup? Businesses can become financial sponsors, donate in-kind goods and services, OR provide employee volunteers for the PRWC. We urge ALL area businesses to promote the event, encourage employees to volunteer and adopt/participate at a site in their community. There are many unique options to support this grassroots event. Contact the Cleanup Coordinator for more information: [email protected].