Cleaning up the anacostia


Student A: “Hey, why don’t we get up early during our spring break and put on hipwaders to spend a morning fishing tons of trash out of a freezing river?

Student B: “Cool, I’m in!”

This sounds like a conversation heard only on Mars (if/when they had rivers), but Anacostia Riverkeeper actually makes it happen on a regular basis. Thanks to the organization’s decade-long partnership with Students Today, Leaders Tomorrow, 180 college students from Minnesota, Kentucky and North Dakota sprang out of four buses on a chilly March morning to help clean up Anacostia tributary Lower Beaver Dam Creek. The students joined community partners such as the Anacostia Watershed Society, Friends of Lower Beaver Dam Creek, Friends of Quincy Run, and Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake for the first Clean Waterways Cleanup of the season.

Cheverly mayor Michael Callahan (known to constituents simply as “Mayor Mike”) and councilmember Mary Jane Coolen went beyond merely welcoming the volunteers: both officials participated hands-on in the cleanup, proving that Mayor Mike, as Coolen put it, “can work with numbers as well as trash.”

Volunteers extracted cans, bottles, metal beams, a vacuum cleaner, an old computer monitor and a 47-pound tire from the water. Four local children (with adult supervision and excused from school, not to worry) excavated a bicycle that had been completely buried in the riverbank. (Continue to Part 2) 


About the Author: Tara Campbell is a crossover sci-fi writer living in Washington, DC. She volunteers her time for literacy organizations such as 826DC and the Books Alive! Washington Writers Conference. Follow her on Twitter at @TaraCampbellCom.


Anacostia Riverkeepers, Part 2