What is the Extreme Cleanup?
Each spring, we organize and promote the Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup, with trash cleanups at over 75 locations along the 33-mile length of Rock Creek. This year will be our 9th year! Our goal is total stream cleanup of Rock Creek and its tributaries, the parks connected to Rock Creek, and the neighborhoods near Rock Creek where trash originates. We work closely with the National Park Service and Montgomery County Parks.
The Extreme Cleanup is part of the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, which occurs in four states and the District of Columbia in April. We do our part for a trash-free Potomac River by cleaning up Rock Creek, which flows into the Potomac near the Watergate Complex and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
In the past eight years, volunteers have collected a combined total of over 15,000 bags of litter, 75 tons of junk, 900 tires, and 38,000 plastic bags. As a result of these efforts, many locations are much cleaner.
But trash still accumulates through littering and illegal dumping of large items, such as furniture and construction waste. When it rains, litter—mostly plastic bags and bottles—from the street gutters in surrounding neighborhoods wash into the storm sewer system that drains straight to the nearest creek.
Site registration is available now! Use the map below to find a site. Green sites are open for volunteers; red sites are private volunteer events and are not accepting volunteers; and yellow sites still need a cleanup leader or group.
If you would like to host your own site with a private group or public volunteers, please email us at email@example.com.
Does a cleanup site have to be along the creek? No, you can start a cleanup site anywhere! The Rock Creek watershed is all the land area that drains into Rock Creek. Therefore, cleaning up a neighborhood street, schoolyard, or community park gets rid of the trash before it goes into storm drains or other waterways that drain into Rock Creek.
How do I find a site to volunteer? You can find all our volunteer sites on our forthcoming Extreme Cleanup map. If the site is closed, no more volunteers are being accepted at that site. If you need help finding a site, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What does it mean to adopt a site? Adopted means that a specific group will be handling the cleanup at that site and no other volunteers are needed. Adopting a site is perfect for scout troops, churches, businesses or other organizations that have a unified volunteer base.
Can I start a new site near me? Yes! Please contact the volunteer manager at email@example.com if you are interested in starting a new site near you. We will provide all the supplies and permits needed to run a successful cleanup.
How can school groups or scout troops participate? School groups can do schoolyard cleanups prior to the event which can involve your science class.
What happens if there is inclement weather? The event is a rain or shine activity. In the case of severe weather like thunder, lightning, or snow, the event will be canceled. All event cancellations will be updated on the website.
Will this count for my community service hours? Rock Creek Conservancy regularly gives out community service hours for all of our volunteer events. Please bring the required forms to the event with you to earn credit.
How can my company or organization get involved with the cleanup? Companies and organizations can become corporate sponsors, donate in-kind goods and services, OR provide employee volunteers for the Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup. We urge ALL area businesses to promote the event, encourage employees to volunteer and adopt/participate at a site in their community. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to set something up.
Not available on April 22? Here's what else you can do:
Adopt your local section of Rock Creek Park through our Stream Team Program.
Pick up any trash you see in or near street gutters and in the parks throughout the year.
Don’t create trash! Use refillable stainless steel containers instead of bottled water.
Let us know if you would like to lead a group cleanup in your neighborhood or a park near you.