Earth Day Cleanup

Saturday, October 3
Earth Day Cleanup
Saturday, October 3
Keeping the Anacostia Watershed Clean while Keeping Safe

The Anacostia Watershed Society's Earth Day Cleanup is AWS's largest annual volunteer event. Typically, on the Saturday following Earth Day nearly thousands of volunteers come out to dozens of different sites around the watershed to pick-up trash, serve their communities, and enjoy the Anacostia River. However, due to COVID-19 and our commitment to follow safety guidelines, the 2020 event will be different.

Click here for the Earth Day 2020 Website 

New for the 2020 Cleanup

In order to do our part and stop the spread of COVID-19, all volunteers must register online. No paper waivers will be accepted. Each site is limited to a maximum of 25 volunteers. In addition, one week prior to volunteering at the 2020 Earth Day Cleanup all registrants must be able to meet the following requirements of our screening survey:

  1. From September 12-October 3, volunteers must have shown no symptoms of COVID-19 including:  fever (100.4 F or greater, cough, sore throat, respiratory illness, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, etc.
  2. From September 12-October 3, volunteers must have no close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  3. From September 12-October 3, volunteers must not travel outside the DC, MD, VA area.
  4. From September 12-October 3, volunteers must not have close contact with someone who has traveled outside the DC, MD, VA area.

On September 26, one week before the event, volunteers will have the opportunity to certify that all of the above statements are true in order to volunteer.  Please make sure you follow these guidelines if you want to participate in this year's cleanup. We also ask that all registrants do not unsubscribe from our email list so we can better communicate with you about Earth Day.

On the day of the event, we ask all participants to arrive wearing a facemask, and that they observe all physical distancing guidelines by staying 6ft apart from others.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Anacostia Watershed Society Earth Day Cleanup?

The Anacostia Watershed Society’s Earth Day Cleanup is a DC-area tradition where thousands of volunteers cleanup sites all along the Anacostia River and its tributary streams throughout the watershed in DC, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.

How do I register to be a volunteer at a site?

Registration opens on September 1. When it does, you can choose a site from the map on the main page, register for it, then come to that location on Earth Day and make a difference for the Anacostia River! The rest of this FAQ has more details.

Do you need to register to be a volunteer?

Yes! In order to volunteer at the 2020 Earth Day Cleanup, all volunteers must register online and complete the screening survey no earlier than one week prior to the event between September 26 and October 1.

How do I know if my registration went through?

You will receive an initial confirmation email, and then on September 26 you will receive another email for a link to complete the screening questionnaire. Your registration is official when you complete the screening questionnaire.

Can I just show up at one of the sites and start cleaning?

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, all volunteers must pre-register or register with a group. We also won’t have those awesome shirts for you if you don’t register.

How can I get a t-shirt?

When you register to volunteer, you are asked for your t-shirt size! When you check in on the morning of the Earth Day Cleanup, your site leader will give you a shirt.

Can children participate in the AWS Earth Day Cleanup?

Yes! Please pay attention to the site information, because some sites are a little too burdensome for little hands. Sites that are not recommended for children are clearly marked on the map of volunteer sites. We trust that parents will make informed decisions about what is best for themselves and their families.

If my child volunteers, can they receive Service Learning Hours?

Yes! If you bring the paperwork, AWS site leaders and staff at your site will sign off on your child’s hours.

Great! So I can just drop off my kids at a site and pick them up at noon.

Unfortunately, all volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult over 18. Everyone needs to register online.

Speaking of groups, I would like to volunteer with one! Is there a way to register 10 people at once?

Group registrations will work differently this year. All participants must register through the registration website. For more information, please contact Emily Castelli at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

My corporate group wants to help! How do we sign up?

Corporate groups are encouraged to contact Emily Conrad at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 301-699-6204 x111 for more information about volunteering, and the benefits of becoming an Earth Day sponsor!

Hey, the site I want to be at says that registration is closed! It’s the park right down the street from me! What’s up with that?

It is wonderful that so many volunteers participate in the AWS Earth Day Cleanup, and we plan to have as many people that each site needs to become cleaner. Sometimes these sites get full… but the sites that aren’t full still need you! We kindly ask that you pick your second choice site.

Oops! I accidentally registered for the wrong site! How do I change my registration?

If the site that you want still has spots available, just re-enter your registration for the new site. Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can delete the registration that you don’t want.

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