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Extreme Cleanup will target trash along entire length of Rock Creek

Extreme Cleanup with Rock Creek Conservancy

Rock 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.

In the Rock Creek watershed, trash accumulates through littering and illegal dumping of large items, such as furniture and construction waste. When it rains, litter from the street gutters in surrounding neighborhoods wash into the storm sewer system that drains straight to the nearest creek. In the past eight years, Extreme Cleanup 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 the efforts by Extreme Cleanup volunteers, Rock Creek and its adjacent locations are much cleaner, but there is still plenty of work to be done,” said Matthew Fleischer, Rock Creek Conservancy’s Executive Director. “We hope to see a big turnout this year and encourage anyone—from companies and organizations to families and students—to join us on this day of work in the Rock Creek watershed.”

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. Volunteers with the Conservancy do their 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.

Additional Extreme Cleanup partners include Blue Planet Scuba, DC Parks & Recreation, Montgomery County Parks, and the National Park Service.

For more information about the Extreme Cleanup or to register for a site, visit Those who would like to host a cleanup at their own site with a private group or public volunteers may email

Beautification in Rock Creek

Extreme Cleanup with Rock Creek Conservancy


Beautification in Rock Creek

Rock Creek Parkway commuters near Pennsylvania Ave. will soon to be in for a floral surprise! On Saturday, June 10, Rock Creek Conservancy and the National Park Service will welcome volunteers from throughout the DC metro area to plant wildflowers and daffodils during this special planting event. The project aims to revive Lady Bird Johnson's 1960s beautification campaign designed to make the United States, including Rock Creek Park, a more beautiful place. Over the next several years Rock Creek Park and Rock Creek Conservancy hope to install several wildflower and daffodil gardens throughout the Park.

These flowers aren’t just a pretty addition to the park; they are working hard to increase the health of our environment by reducing runoff and increasing biodiversity. Wildflower gardens provide food and shelter to pollinators and other animals in the city. They also help reduce runoff into Rock Creek, which in turn helps reduce pollution in the Potomac. Reducing runoff is critically important for waterways that are near roads and cities, where water headed into creeks, streams, and rivers may bring along noxious chemicals from the urban environment.

Interested in volunteering?

The event is an all-day affair, split between morning and afternoon shifts. Volunteers are asked to sign up online.

More information can be found on our events page.

Contact John Maleri at with any questions you may have.

About Rock Creek Conservancy

Rock Creek Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which is committed to restoring Rock Creek and its parklands as a natural oasis for all people to appreciate and protect. As the only organization dedicated solely to Rock Creek and its parks, the Conservancy is uniquely positioned to foster outreach, education, and efforts to overcome threats to Rock Creek. For more information, visit


Rock Creek Conservation Corps (RC3) Enters its Third Summer


Students from different backgrounds link arms during a team building event.


RC3 Offers Highschoolers a Transformative Experience in Rock Creek Park

For the third summer in a row, youth from diverse communities are going to be accomplishing critical conservation work and engaging local communities to develop and sustain a culture of environmental stewardship for future generations. This year, the program has nearly doubled in size, growing from 22 to 40 crewmembers.

During the 4-week youth work program spearheaded by Rock Creek Conservancy, the Rock Creek Conservation Corps (RC3) will remove invasive exotic plants in key restoration areas, install green infrastructure to manage polluted runoff, and maintain trails for all people to appreciate.

RC3 is designed to not only revitalize Rock Creek, but to also provide a transformative experience to the 16- to 19-year-old crew members.

“Rock Creek Conservation Corps is an innovative program that empowers youth to be leaders in their community through conservation work and outreach, thus creating a culture of stewardship for future generations,” said Erica Carlsson, the program manager for RC3 who specializes in youth, education and health. “With research showing strong public support for youth crews in America’s National Parks, this program goes hand-in-hand with the Department of the Interior’s efforts to encourage young people to protect the nation’s public lands.”

Quotes from previous RC3 Crew Members:

“I realized that the park is a huge part of my life, and wherever I go, I want Rock Creek to be involved. It’s a magical place.”
- Dona Anderson (2016, Rising Senior)

“ RC3 has taught me the value of our city’s park and how I can advocate for the well-being of National Parks everywhere. I was taught the multiple ways our Park effects every resident’s life, and the ways we must conserve our park.”
- Danny Ayele (2016, Graduate)

“RC3 has led me to meeting new people that I probably would have never met before, especially the EL Haynes crew. It has also kept my life occupied for the month, as well as making me feel important in a way.”
- Carlos Campos (2016, Graduate)

Learn more about RC3

About Rock Creek Conservancy

Rock Creek Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which is committed to restoring Rock Creek and its parklands as a natural oasis for all people to appreciate and protect. As the only organization dedicated solely to Rock Creek and its parks, the Conservancy is uniquely positioned to foster outreach, education, and efforts to overcome threats to Rock Creek. For more information, visit


RCC responds to slash in Chesapeake Bay Program funding

Statement from Matthew Fleischer, executive director:

Rock Creek Conservancy is disheartened to hear that President Trump’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018 eliminates funding for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup project, a program supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Bay Program, which receives $73 million per year, is a regional partnership that has led the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay since 1983. Program partners include federal, state, and local governments as well as nonprofit organizations—including foundations and trusts that support the work of Rock Creek Conservancy.

Clean water should be a priority to our elected officials. Unfortunately, the President’s budget says otherwise. More than 18 million people living in the Chesapeake Bay watershed could suffer if this recommendation stands. Because the health of Rock Creek impacts the health of the Chesapeake Bay, we ask our constituents to contact legislators and tell them you support restored funding for the Bay Program.


RCC comments on Nature Center Plan

Rock Creek Conservancy has submitted comments to the National Park Service regarding its Nature Center Complex Development Concept Plan. These comments reflect the work done with Rock Creek Park stakeholders, results from the Green Ribbon Panel that was commissioned for the Park's 125th anniversary, our Strategic Plan, and the Park's own documents. 

Highlights include:

  • We strongly support improved Park facilities. Desired results include the removal of the fewest large trees, proper stormwater management, the protection of wildlife and native vegetation, and an enhanced visitor experience through education and access.
  • We support expanding or rebuilding the Nature Center with a restored or enhanced nature trail. We do not want to see the construction of a canopy walk without the consideration of mature trees in the area. We also hope that any upgrades to the facility will include stormwater management. 
  • Our desire is to see the Park explain its operational objectives and limitations in order to assess the priority, costs, and benefits of changes to the Horse Center relative to other resource needs. If the footprint of the Horse Center is expanded and the surrounding natural environment is threatened, we will have concerns
  • Any activities to improve the Maintenance Area must not adversely affect bird habitat. It is our desire that any improvements will not just focus on the facilities themselves, but the enhancement of the habitat, also.
  • We believe Miller Cabin should be rehabilitated in its current location on Beach Drive.
  • Overall, we are unsure if the proposed concepts sufficiently manage vegetation for wildlife in areas around the Nature Center, Maintenance Yard, and Horse Center. We urge the Park to improve vegetation management for wildlife by minimizing the removal of trees, minimizing mowing, maintaining native vines and shrubs, and using native plants when re-landscaping.   

To read the comments in their entirety, click here