Grace and her father Christopher are true professionals when it comes to scavenging for pesky litter. The father-daughter duo celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service this January by participating in a Potomac River Cleanup at Fletcher's Cove in Washington, DC.
Upon arrival, they quickly jumped into action, scouring the shoreline for hard-to-find debris. Later, they wandered off trail to hunt for lost treasures. They collected quite the bounty, finding old tires, used plastic bottles, crumbling Styrofoam, and fishing line.
By day's end, Grace, Christopher, and the group of 41 volunteers removed over 500 pounds of trash in just 2 hours!
The day was part of Potomac Conservancy's Community Conservation program, offering hands-on events that empower people to make a difference for clean water in their local communities. If you are interested in volunteering, check out our Events calendar for an upcoming event!
Read what Grace and Christopher have to say about their day of volunteer service along the Potomac:
Q. How did you hear about today’s event?
Grace: I have a civics project, and so I had to do some volunteer hours, and I looked it up online, and this met all the requirements.
Q. What compelled you to choose a river cleanup for your volunteer service?
Grace: Well one, it’s pretty flexible, and two I like helping out the environment.
Chris: We have, where we live in the middle of Fairfax County (VA), a stream, the Accotink Creek, which ultimately feeds into the Potomac. Just like where we are, and a lot of times when Grace and her younger brother were smaller, we would go down there, and we would see after a heavy rain a lot of the debris along the shorelines and in places where the water would eddy. So we know what it’s like to have a lot of plastics and glass and other materials wash up closer to where we live. We’re happy to help out here along the Potomac. This is our little way of helping to do our part.
Q. What are some of your favorite outdoor activities?
Chris: What we like to do is to go hiking at the Virginia side of Great Falls. We enjoy going to the riverbank here and watching the water.
Q. If there is one thing you could ask your friend or neighbor to do for healthy lands and clean water, what would that be?
Grace: This is a great idea—picking up trash—and maybe putting in native plants because I noticed how all of this dead stuff here are invasives. We want native plants and to get rid of invasive plants.
Q. What wildlife have you observed on the Potomac?
Chris: One thing we found in the creek area was what appears to be a juvenile American eel. At first, I thought it was a plastic fishing lure, since there are a bunch along the creeks leading to the Potomac, but it was alive, and not a worm. Didn't get a picture of it, but it was memorable.
Q. What are some words of advice you can offer to those interested in volunteering at a river cleanup?
Chris: You can’t be afraid to get yourself dirty. I would ask them to not be afraid to wear some old clothes, jeans, gloves are important, and footwear. Go where the water goes, not just where the people walk on the trail, because we noticed a lot of people staying on the trail and not too many people getting down and dirty by the riverbank. That’s where a lot of the debris washes in, especially the plastics.
Get Your Hands Dirty for Clean Water!
Potomac Conservancy would love to see you out on the shores of the Potomac. Find an upcoming opportunity to get outside for a cleanup by visiting our calendar of Upcoming Events >