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Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

We Asked Volunteers Why They Clean Up

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By: Leah Henry

For the last 26 years, the Alice Ferguson Foundation has organized a successful, region-wide, volunteer-driven cleanup of the Potomac River watershed. Since its inception, seven million pounds of trash has been removed, making the Potomac cleaner and more beautiful.

This year was no different. We asked excited and dedicated volunteers what made them come to locations across the D.C. metro area to pitch in and clean up. Let’s hear from a few!

Ellie is a local business owner, unable to attend the gala planned a few weeks from now opted to volunteer instead because she joked “I want a reason to be at that gala, a reason to gloat”  while Will stated “ I was dragged” and gestured to Ellie.

“I want a reason to attend the Potomac Conservancy ‘Take Me to the River’ Gala on April 30th – a reason to gloat,” says Ellie. 

“I was dragged,” confesses Will and gestures to Ellie.

“I love being outside, I grew up on a farm, being with friends, and we spotted the first snake of the season! And, truthfully I can’t stay inside, watching Netflix and eating Doritos anymore – it is spring!” Dontay (third from left)

 “I love being outside and being with friends – I grew up on a farm. We spotted the first snake of the season! And, truthfully, I can’t stay inside watching Netflix and eating Doritos anymore – it is spring!” explains Dontay (third from left)

“My daughter got the boots,” kids Kim “We participate in cleanups every year and have since Lana was small. We love coming to this place, we are avid bikers, and when we were making plans to attend the cherry blossom festivities this year we found this cleanup and thought we’d skip the Cherry Blossom Parade for a much better cause.”

“My daughter got the boots,” jokes Kim. “We participate in cleanups every year and have since Lana was small.We love coming to this place, we are avid bikers, and when we were making plans to attend the cherry blossom festivities, we found this cleanup and thought we’d skip the Cherry Blossom Parade for a much better cause.”

“This time a friend just forwarded me an email but I've been doing cleanups since I was a kid,” says Amanda.

“This time, a friend just forwarded me an email but I’ve been doing cleanups since I was a kid,” says a triumphant Amanda.

"It's for the birds," says Nancy

“It’s for the birds,” says Nancy.

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“It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

The Theodore Roosevelt Island site of the Alice Ferguson Foundation cleanup on April 11, 2015 was hosted by Potomac Conservancy and the National Park Service.

Author: NOAA Marine Debris Program

The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris. Our mission is to investigate and solve the problems that stem from marine debris, in order to protect and conserve our nation's marine environment, natural resources, industries, economy, and people.

One thought on “We Asked Volunteers Why They Clean Up

  1. I do it for our beloved Sea Turtles! Keeping Junk off the Beach during Sea Turtle nesting season is so important.

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