Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Ashima

A Frequent Visitor to the C&O Canal, Ashima Explains Why She Gives Back


Earlier this summer we caught up with a representative from Congressman Chris Van Hollen's office on National Trails Day.

Ashima was one of the more than 80 volunteers that came out to celebrate National Trails Day at Fletcher's Cove in Washington, DC, with Potomac Conservancy and the National Parks Conservation AssociationVolunteers removed over 1,000 pounds of trash from the shorelines of the Potomac and the C&O Canal.

Volunteers also removed thousands of scattered tree branches and logs, scrubbed grills and tables, and some, like Ashima, rowed and paddled to collect trash from hard-to-reach areas. 

Hear what Ashima had to say about her day of service along the Potomac! 

Q. How did you and Congressman Van Hollen hear about today's event and Potomac Conservancy?
Ashima: Congressman Van Hollen has worked for many years with the Potomac Conservancy to keep the Potomac trash-free, restore the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and protect our local parks, particularly the C&O Canal. We are always looking for opportunities to continue those efforts, and this was a great event! 

Q. Why did you come out to volunteer with Potomac Conservancy today?
Ashima: My family and I are avid users of the towpath, so I wanted to be a part of keeping it beautiful, clean, and safe for everyone to enjoy. 

Q. Why is protecting the Potomac important?
Ashima: Not only is it an incredible recreation space, it’s where our drinking water comes from. We can’t take this significant resource for granted. 

Q. What is something that surprised you today as you were out along the Potomac?
Ashima: The variety of activities people were engaged in — fishing, swimming, boating, stand-up paddle boarding, running, biking, horseback riding.

Q. Is this the first time you've been out along the Potomac? If not, what's your favorite spot?
Ashima: No — my home base is Swains Lock. I’m there almost every week!

Q. If you could ask everyone to do one thing to help the Potomac, what would it be?
Ashima: Leave no trace! Among other things, we cleaned up yards and yards of fishing line (and some stray fishing hooks) from the water’s edge today. Not only is this dangerous for wildlife, but kayakers are at risk of getting caught in it as well. Please take everything you bring into the park with you back out, no matter how small.

Q. What would you like to ask our next month's volunteer spotlight?  
Ashima: What is some park etiquette that everyone should be aware of?


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