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Top 4 New Years Resolutions That Protect Rock Creek



It's almost January, a time for new beginnings! The new year gives us the chance to start anew, so let’s start 2018 on the right foot. These four resolutions will help you become the person you want to be in 2018 while protecting your favorite public lands and waters!

A Rock Creek Conservation Corps crew member makes friends with a shield insect while planting trees.

A member of Rock Creek Conservation Corps holds an insect that he found while planting trees. Photo Credit: Katie Schuler. 

1. Get Close to Nature 

More and more research is lauding the benefits of spending time in nature. Resolve to get outside this year and leave that urban stress behind for a few hours each week. 

You don’t have to leave the city or spend a dime to experience the benefits of the natural world. While many National Parks have feesRock Creek Park is free to visit year-round. There is something for everyone in this park right in the heart of our nation’s capital. There are miles of great hiking and biking trails, 29 picnic areas, and even a horse center. And since Rock Creek Park is our third oldest national park, there is a lot of history related to past presidents, poets, and other historic figures. 

Don’t know where to start? We organize several nature walks in the park, so stay tuned for our upcoming events.

A volunteer at a Columbus Day event hauls a bag of litter he found around Piney Branch's Picnic Grove 29.

A volunteer at a Columbus Day cleanup event hauls away a bag of litter that he collected around Piney Branch's Picnic Grove 29. Photo Credit: RCC | Katy Cain 

2. Volunteer in Your Community 

Have an impact on your community in 2018! Volunteering helps you gain confidence, make a difference, meet people, join a community, learn new skills, challenge yourself, and have fun. That’s, like, seven resolutions in one. 

The Conservancy’s mission is to “restore Rock Creek and its parklands as a natural oasis for all people to appreciate and protect.” If you volunteer with us, you can be a part of that! We organize more than one hundred volunteer events every year, from trash clean-ups to tree plantings to removing invasive plants from the parks. In 2017 alone, we removed more than 2,000 bags of trash and recycling and saved more than 700 trees from the invasive English Ivy vines, all with the help of 4,774 volunteers! Together, we can increase all of those numbers in 2018 and have an even larger impact.

Field work not really your thing?

We are always looking for volunteers to help us table at outreach events, and we recently started engaging digital volunteers to spread the word about the Conservancy and our work through social media channels and blog posts. There are volunteer opportunities for everyone’s interests and skillsets.

A map of the more than 70 active Stream Teams along Rock Creek.

This map shows the more than 70 Stream Teams that are active in the Rock Creek watershed. The green dots are spots that are open, and need a leader! Will that be you?  

3) Hone Your Leadership Skills

What looks better on your resume than leadership experience? Practice inspiring others, solving problems, and making connections to restore a piece of your local community. 

That’s right, this year, we’re asking you to take your impact to the next level! Are you already an engaged volunteer?  Do you know a piece of stream that needs some love? For 2018, we invite you to become a Stream Team Leader. 

Stream Team Leaders are dedicated volunteers who adopt sections of Rock Creek to protect, organize clean-ups in that area and act as a representative of Rock Creek Conservancy as a volunteer ambassador. Rock Creek’s watershed starts north of Gaithersburg, MD, and flows through Rock Creek Park in D.C. until it reaches the Potomac River in Georgetown. That’s 33 miles of creek; adopt a section of your own to restore and protect!

A hand holds a tree sapling about to be planted. When you give to nature, nature gives back.

When you give to nature, nature gives back. Supporting Rock Creek Conservancy financially ensures that this wonderful natural resource will be here for generations to come! Photo credit: Katie Schuler

4) Choose a Charity 

Donating to a charity is a great way to make a difference in 2018.  Small, local non-profits simply don’t get the same amount of support as places like The Nature Conservancy or the World Wildlife Fund, but they do more to directly affect where you live! If one of your 2018 resolutions is to impact your local community, the supporting a charity is the way to go!

So, while Rock Creek Conservancy can’t do much for pandas, with your help we can work to remove invasive plants, create a safe habitat for native birds, or stop the creek from overflowing with sewage. 

As a non-profit organization, Rock Creek Conservancy depends on local support to conserve this local treasure. There are many ways you can donate to the Conservancy, from joining as a member yourself, giving a gift in honor of a family member or friend, or planning to give to the Conservancy through estate planning. And for those of you who work for the federal government, consider donating to us through the Combined Federal Campaign (Our CFC number is 47398). Every dollar counts, and we are appreciative for every single member who supports our cause.

This article was written by Kate Arion and Katy Cain

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