River & Community Cleanups

a successful cleanup

AWS routinely organizes large and small groups of volunteers to help clean trash from neighborhoods, parks, streambeds, and riverbanks throughout the Anacostia Watershed.  These events not only help keep pollution problems in check, they provide an opportunity for kids and adults to learn how water connects our river and its streams to the storm drains, streets, highways, homes, parking lots and workplaces all around us.

If you would like to participate in the cleanup of the Anacostia, there are a few ways you can help.

How It Works

You can participate in an AWS cleanup event two ways. If you want to help out as an individual or in a group of 7 volunteers or less, visit our online calendar to see when our next scheduled cleanup will take place. When you arrive at the cleanup site, a trained staff members will introduce you to your fellow volunteers and get you started on your project.

If you have a group of 8 or more interested volunteers and would like to arrange a specific date and time for a cleanup event, please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate you. (AWS tries to accommodate all requests; however, staff and materials may not be available on all dates.)

Cleanups are offered as a public service and are funded, in part, by government grants.  AWS reserves the right to invite other members of the public to all volunteer cleanups.

Donations in support of our cleanup activities are deeply appreciated.

Why Clean the River?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration about 20,000 tons (that’s 40 million pounds!) of trash enter the Anacostia River from local creeks and streams each year. In fact, the trash problem has become so bad that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has officially declared the Anacostia to be “impaired by trash”—only the second river in the nation to receive such a dubious distinction. The source of all this litter: human beings.

Between 1989 and 2009, AWS volunteers removed more than 900 tons of trash from the Anacostia River and its tributary creeks and streams in the District of Columbia and Maryland. more statistics



We offer a variety of volunteer opportunities that will engage your hands, your head, and your heart in the protection and restoration of our local lands and water.

Upcoming Events

Discovery Series


November 28

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