DC: Conservation in the City

John Maleri, program manager for the Rock Creek Conservancy, may have put it best: “Outdoor recreation is the gateway drug to stewardship.”

To that end, our gang of DC outdoor recreation enthusiasts gathered at the Big Hunt in March to talk about ways we could help keep the places we loved to play green (or blue!) and thriving. If you missed it, we’ve got everything you need to know about local conservation below, including opportunities to get involved.

Rock Creek Conservancy

You’ve probably run or biked or hiked these trails before, but did you know you can help maintain the trails, too? The Rock Creek Conservancy keeps DC’s favorite national park clean and green. Upcoming events:

  • Extreme CleanupRock Creek Conservancy will host its 9th annual Extreme Cleanup on Saturday, April 22, with the goal of cleaning Rock Creek and its tributaries, the parks connected to Rock Creek, and the neighborhoods near Rock Creek where trash originates. This large-scale volunteer effort includes trash cleanups at more than 75 locations along the 33-mile length of Rock Creek.

Casey Trees

Want to keep the District green? Then Casey Trees is the organization for you. Casey Trees runs tree planting programs and educational programs to help protect and build the city’s tree canopy. A few options to help out:

  • Tree plantings are coming up on April 8, April 15, April 22, April 25, April 29–and there are plenty more in May. Check out all the options.
  • Arbor Day at the Washington Monument: Come join Casey Trees as we survey the trees around the Washington Monument in honor of Arbor Day! It’s been over a decade since these iconic trees have been inventoried and we need your help. Want to put your tree skills to the test? Participants will receive a short, hands-on training on the mall.  After learning the tools and techniques participants will split up into groups and begin measuring trees. We will be documenting tree species, height, diameter of the trunk, width of the crown and more.

Potomac Conservancy

For those who prefer the water, the Potomac Conservancy offers two different volunteer conservation opportunities: Get Your Hands Dirty projects involve cleaning up trash and restoring trees and plants on the banks of the Potomac, and Get Your Feet Wet projects get you out on the river as you learn what you can do to keep it clean. Upcoming events:

  • Annual Potomac Cleanup Day: Join Potomac Conservancy and Potomac Riverkeeper Network at the biggest Potomac River cleanup of the year! Get your hands dirty for clean water and help restore healthy shorelines by removing litter, debris, and trash from local lands along the Potomac.
  • Happy hour paddles: In the summer, the Potomac Conservancy hosts happy hour paddles from the Key Bridge Boathouse. Paddlers pay $10 for 2 hours on the river, all for a good cause! Stay tuned to the Potomac Conservancy website for information about this year’s events.

DC Sierra Club

The DC Sierra Club advocates for policies at the local and national level that will protect our outdoor spaces. If you’re interested in organization and advocating, check them out. Upcoming events:

  • Earth Day Clean-Up: Saturday, April 22nd from 9am-12pm (2899 Fairlawn Ave SE) In honor of Earth Day our Chapter is partnering with the Anacostia Watershed Society to help clean up Twinings/Dupont Park in Southeast DC. A celebration and free lunch will follow at RFK for volunteers. Help us meet our goal of having 30 volunteers!
  • People’s Climate March: Saturday, April 29th from 11am-2pm (meeting location TBD) In 2014 over 400,000 people marched in the streets of New York City demanding action on climate change. This April we’re taking it to the streets of DC to march for justice, jobs, and climate. Join the movement by signing up for updates.

Special thanks to Maddy, Katie, John, and Mark, for telling us about their organizations and helping people get involved.

We hope to see you all out planting trees or paddling down the river soon! But until then, we’ll see you April 26th at the Wundergarten, where we’ll be talking about how to hike with your dog (dogs allowed!)

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