Tree Planting

AWS often organizes larger groups of volunteers (usually 12 or more) to help plant and maintain native trees along stream banks and in open spaces throughout the Anacostia Watershed.  As they grow, the new trees we plant generate improvements in local water quality by preventing erosion, reducing stormwater pollution, and restoring important habitats for other native plants and animals.  AWS tree planting events take place during the the spring and fall for a period of time depending on weather conditions.  Tree maintenance events, which may include watering or other protective tasks, usually take place during summer months.



Why Plant and Maintain Trees? 

Trees play an essential in protecting the Anacostia River. The shade provided by forested streambanks along the river and its tributaries cool the water, prevent soil erosion, and help rain water seep into the ground.  Trees also provide valuable habitat for native wildlife and a beautiful landscape for people to look at and enjoy.  And remember, planting new tree seedlings and saplings is not enough.  In order for reforestation effort to be effective, young trees must be nurtured and protected into adulthood.  That is why we monitor the health of all the trees we plant in the Anacostia Watershed.

Between 1989 and 2009, AWS volunteers planted more than 13,000 new native tree seedlings in the District of Columbia and Maryland. more statistics

How to Volunteer 

Each fall, AWS selects several days—usually on weekends—to plant native trees  in select spots throughout the Anacostia Watershed.  During the rest of the year—particularly in summer—we schedule maintenance events where volunteers can help us water trees, install beaver barriers, or otherwise protect trees planted during previous  seasons.  If you want to help out as an individual or in a group of 11 volunteers or less, visit our online calendar to see when our next scheduled tree event will take place.  When you arrive at the planting/maintenance site, trained staff members will introduce you to your fellow volunteers and get you started on your project.

If you have a group of 12 or more interested volunteers and would like to arrange a specific date and time for a tree planting or maintenance 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.) 

Tree plantings 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.



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.

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