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2017 Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup

Extreme Cleanup Save the Date March eNews

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.

Volunteer Registration

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


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

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 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 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.

2016 Corporate Sponsorship Opportunities

Rock Creek and its surrounding parklands are a valuable natural asset for every local business and its employees and customers. Rock Creek Park receives more than two million recreational visits a year, and millions more enjoy its scenic beauty as they drive through the park. Companies based in the Washington metro area have an opportunity to give back to their community. We file IRS Form 990 or 990 EZ with the IRS each year.

Click here to view our General Sponsorship opportunities and become a sponsor today

Click here to view our Corporate Volunteer Program

Let people know you support this natural treasure!


Rock Creek Park and partners to invest $727,000 for centennial

National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive SW
Washington, DC 20242 

202-619-7400 phone

Rock Creek Park News Release

DATE:  February 4, 2016
CONTACT: Emily Linroth, 202-619-7156,

Rock Creek Park and partners to invest $727,000 for centennial
Donations leverage federal funding nearly 3-to-1 

WASHINGTON—Rock Creek Park is about to get a $727,000 public-private funding boost for projects that improve visitor services and connect with new audiences. Partner organizations are contributing nearly $527,000 in cash and in-kind support to match more than $200,000 in federal investment. This funding is part of the Centennial Challenge, a national effort to help kick off the National Park Service’s second century.

Partners and projects for Rock Creek Park include:

  • Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy will provide funding and support to design and implement a stormwater management system to protect this unique historic landscape from erosion and potential impacts of climate change and create wildlife habitat.
  • Rock Creek Conservancy and Casey Trees are contributing funding and volunteers to remove invasive plants and donating trees to plant along 5 acres of park land along the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway.
  • City Kids Wilderness Project will conduct a Wilderness Explorers Program that gets urban youth out in parks in D.C. and takes them to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks over the summer.

“We’re thrilled to work with our partners to enhance park experiences for visitors, inspire the next generation, and protect Rock Creek Park in ways we could not do on our own,” Superintendent Tara Morrison said. “Building and leveraging partnership support is especially critical as we prepare national parks for a second century of service.”

Funding for the projects is provided through the National Park Service’s Centennial Challenge Program to leverage partnerships to improve visitor services, support outreach to new audiences, and reinvigorate national parks while forging connections with communities.

"Rock Creek Conservancy is eager to collaborate with the National Park Service as we undertake this important endeavor as part of the Centennial year," Executive Director Matthew Fleischer said. “Partnerships such as this are essential in advancing the vision of Rock Creek Park and protecting its future as a wild national park in the heart of our nation’s capital.”

“Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy is honored to meet the Centennial Challenge with the National Park Service,” President Lindsey Milstein said. “It is our privilege to invest in a project that will protect this Farrand-designed, exceptionally beautiful landscape. The environmental stewardship and habitat restoration work we will engage in serves to increase a connection to this special place for all to enjoy—there could be nothing more gratifying.”

​"We are thrilled to partner with the National Park Service to connect youth and families with powerful wilderness experiences, both at our home park of Rock Creek Park here in D.C. where we love exploring the trails, creek, and open spaces, and in Jackson, Wyoming, where our program moves in the summer so youth can explore the mountains, lakes, and trails in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks," said Eloise Russo, Executive Director of City Kids Wilderness Project.

The Centennial Challenge is a national effort providing $15 million in federal support to 69 projects in 63 national parks across the country. To be eligible for challenge funding, projects must attract at least a 1-to-1 private match to the federal investment.

“As the National Park Service enters its centennial year in 2016, Congress and generous partners across the country are making exceptional investments to improve park facilities, enhance their accessibility, and help more visitors—especially young people—discover our nation’s inspiring places and stories,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 409 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us, on,, and

MLK Report from the Field

What a day! Rock Creek Conservancy volunteers were out in full force throughout Rock Creek Park and the surrounding watershed in celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.  

In total, 772 children, students, and adults participated in 14 events over MLK weekend. Volunteers removed invasive plants like porcelainberry, lesser celandine, and wisteria to help native plants thrive, cleaned up over 215 bags of trash and 175 bags of recyclables, and saved over 450 trees from English Ivy!    

Thanks to all the volunteers, partner organizations, and staff who made these events possible, especially Montgomery Department of Parks, Blue Planet Scuba, Tregaron ConservancyRock Creek Songbirds, and others! And a very special thank you to our Stream Team leaders who hosted events. Without them, the weekend would not have been possible.

Invasive Plant Removal in Pinehurst and Piney Branch

Over 50 volunteers from Catholic University joined Conservancy staff in Pinehurst Branch and Piney Branch for invasive plant removal activities. After demonstrations on removal, volunteers got right to work clearing huge swaths of invasive vines and shrubs. Students athletes from the CU Soccer, Rugby, and Track and Field teams showcased their skill and fitness by removing large amounts of trash as well.  

Meadowbrook-Mania at the Trash Cleanup

Meadowbrook Local Park in Montgomery County is much cleaner than it was last week. On Monday over 100 volunteers came out to remove trash and debris from the surrounding park and banks of Rock Creek. In total, students and parents collected almost 75 bags of trash.

An English Ivy Removal Team in Glover Archbold

On Monday afternoon, 51 volunteers joined Conservancy staff in Glover Archbold Park to learn about the perils of arborized English ivy. The vine, which strangles and confines trees, is prevalent in an area on the West side of the Park. To help, volunteers equipped with loppers, saws, and crowbars saved a whopping 450 trees from the invasive plant. Smaller trees were freed of vines that began to creep up the trunk, while larger trees were saved from what could have been years of strangulation.   

A Trash Bash at Peirce Mill

The winner of the largest volunteer event goes to Peirce Mill where 134 volunteers joined to remove over 1000 lbs of trash and debris from the surrounding park. We were so thrilled to see such a large response in one of Rock Creek Park's most popular areas. Special thank you to Blue Planet Scuba for leading the event and managing the huge crowds.  

Special Thanks to our Volunteer Groups

Finally, we wanted to extend a special thank you to our volunteers from Catholic University and The Washington Center joining us for Rock Creek Conservancy’s MLK Weekend activities. Thanks to all who attended!

2017 MLK Weekend of Service recap

Thank you for your part in making MLK Day a huge success! You volunteered your time, improved the community, displayed teamwork toward achieving a greater goal, and advanced Dr. King's vision of the "Beloved Community." We set records this year! Click here for a detailed write up.

By the numbers: 14 events | 772 volunteers | 217 bags of trash | 189 bags of recyclables | 457 trees saved from English ivy

See you for the next MLK Weekend of Service! In the meantime, you can stay involved by visiting our event calendar and signing up for any of our events throughout the year.