Earth Day Cleanup

April 24, 2021
Earth Day Cleanup
April 24, 2021
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. 

Click here to register for the Earth Day Cleanup

This event is a success thanks to all of our amazing community partners and leaders. Most of our sites are lead by volunteer leaders who have been organizing clean-ups in their communities for years, and we are always seeking more leaders! If you are interested in nominating a site in your community for Earth Day, or if you are interested in becoming a site leader, you can click here.

Any questions? You can email Stacy Lucas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We provide each of these community leaders with training and supply them with the tools to lead a fantastic clean-up.

Frequently Asked Questions

AWS COVID-19 Protocols

Volunteers must agree and comply to our COVID-19 protocols in order to participate. You will be required to agree to the following statements during registration:

  • I agree not to attend if I have been in close contact with or cared for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 14 days before the event.
  • I agree not to attend if I experience any flu-like symptoms and/or become sick in the 14 days leading up to the event (such as fever (100.4 or greater), cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, etc).
  • I agree not to travel outside of DC, MD, or VA 14 days before the event.
  • I agree not to be in close contact with anyone who has traveled outside of DC, MD, or VA 14 days before the event.

Self-Monitoring: All participants in the Anacostia Watershed Society’s (AWS) event are required to:

  • Take your own temperature that day, prior to arrival at the event. If your temperature is 100.4 degrees or greater, or you have other COVID-19 symptoms, do not come to the event!
  • If you are sick, please do not come to the event!
  • If you have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 14 days, do not come to the event.
  • If you have had any close contact with an individual who has a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis and/or who is presumed to have coronavirus, do not come to the event.
  • If you become ill within one week of participating in the event, please consider reporting this to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (our Human Resources email address). We will keep your identity confidential.

Additional Requirements:

  • Group Limits: Events are limited to groups of up to 20-25, depending on the activity and location. There may be fewer or more participants depending on the ability to social distance at a minimum of six feet and whether local directives allow. 
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing: All must sanitize or wash their hands immediately upon arrival and after the event.
  • Masks: All participants must wear a mask upon arrival at the event and for the event’s duration. However, if physical distancing (10 feet or more) is possible during the event, or a health issue arises, a participant maytemporarily remove their mask if necessary and/or to stay hydrated.
  • Physical Distancing: Participants must maintain a distance of greater than 6 feet from other persons on the land and on the water, throughout the event.
  • Equipment Handling: All participants are responsible for carrying any equipment they may use and they should not share equipment, such as paddles, water bottles, shovels, etc. This means carrying in-and-out, to and from the dock/project site, and making sure that they have washed their hands before and after with hand sanitizer or soap. Assistance in carrying boats or heavy equipment is allowed if the users maintain the required 6 feet distance. AWS strongly encourages proper handwashing/cleaning for all participants before and after events.
  • Bathrooms: When bathrooms are available, they can be used at one’s own risk. Please limit bathroom use to one individual at a time. Users must wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after use, and close the lid to the toilet, if there is one. If you must enter our facility, please only use the bathroom and do not tour the indoor facilities, which are currently closed.

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 March 15. 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 2021 Earth Day Cleanup, pre-registration is required for each individual via AWS’s website (https://www.anacostiaws.org/earthday2021). We are not accepting any walk-up participants, and  we are limiting the number of people at our events. This includes each participant completing our on-line waiver form with registration.

How do I know if my registration went through?

You will receive an confirmation email from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with more details from your site.

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

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, all volunteers must pre-register. 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?

Yes!  Groups of 10 or more should contact Emily Castelli at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Note that sites are smaller this year, and can at most accomodate 25 people. 

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.

Keep in the Loop
Get the Latest updates on our work delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe Now
Stay in the loop