Things to Do

9 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day (And Make DC Cleaner)

Here's how you can pick up trash around town.

Photograph via iStock.

On Earth Day and the following weekend, DC environmental and neighborhood groups invite everyone to help clean up our rivers, parks, and green spaces. Here’s a quick guide to local garbage-removal opportunities:

If you don’t mind getting your feet wet:

Potomac River Cleanup with the Accokeek Foundation
April 22, 3 to 6 PM
3400 Bryan Point Road, Accokeek, Maryland

Volunteers can help pick up litter, record data, and sort recyclables along Piscataway Park’s Pumpkin Ash Trail and around boating piers and coastal inlets.  

Potomac Conservancy’s Earth Day Cleanup
April 23, 9 AM to 12 PM
Fletcher’s Cove

Volunteers can join the Potomac Conservancy and C&O Canal Trust in cleaning up litter in order to prevent it from entering the river. Registration is required, and sites have limited slots—the cleanups at Theodore Roosevelt Island and Jones Point Park have already filled up. 

Anacostia Watershed Society’s Earth Day Cleanup
April 23, 10 AM to 12 PM
Various locations

This annual event attracts thousands of volunteers each year across more than 20 different sites along the Anacostia River and its tributary streams. The litter cleanup is family friendly, though kids under 16 need an adult with them. Registration is required (and so is vaccination for anyone over 5), and volunteers should wear close-toed shoes and long pants and bring a water bottle and a snack. 

If you’re feeling artsy:

Suitland Community Clean-Up Day
April 23, 11 AM to 2 PM
4719 Silver Hill Road, Suitland-Silver Hill, Maryland

Creative Suitland Arts Center is hosting a cleanup of the center’s campus alongside an Earth Day festival that features sustainable art vendors, music, guest speakers, paint projects, and family art activities from Prince George’s Park and Recreation’s Arts on a Roll program.

If you want to give your neighborhood park some TLC:

Earth Day Cleanup at Bon Air Park
April 23, 9 AM to 12 PM
850 N Lexington St., Arlington

EcoAction Arlington invites volunteers to clean up trash and debris in Four Mile Run and Bon Air Park. Volunteers can register for one hour-and-a-half shift and should bring their own gloves, sunscreen, and water bottle. 

Earth Day Cleanup at Oxon Cove
April 23, 9 AM to 3 PM
Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network and Friends of Oxon Run partnered to host this cleanup along the shore of Oxon Cove. The event is broken down in two shifts, and volunteers can meet at two entrances—one on the Maryland side and and one on the DC side of the cove. Participants should wear clothes for getting muddy and bring a water bottle. 

Celebrate Trails Day: Cleanup on the W&OD Trail
April 23, 11 AM to 2 PM
Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Trail

This cleanup will cover half a mile of the W&OD trail, a favorite spot for bikers and walkers. Volunteers should bring their own gloves and trash-grabbers, though some will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. WalkArlington & BikeArlington will provide trash bags, water, and some thank-you giveaways. 

If fitness is your passion:

Plogging in Georgetown
April 23, 9:30 to 10:30 AM
3025 M St., Northwest

This event, hosted by clothing company Outdoor Voices and nonprofit women’s group [gather], combines jogging and picking up litter. Supplies and snacks will be provided, and participants have a chance to win Outdoor Voices’ sporty exercise dress.

If you’re busy on Friday & Saturday:

Earth Day Community Cleanup at Buzzard Point
April 24, 10 AM to 1 PM
1900 Half St., SW

This waterfront cleanup is hosted by Anacostia Riverkeeper, Watermark apartments, and the Rounds, a zero-waste packaging local delivery service. Volunteers can arrive a few minutes early to grab a free cup of coffee and some swag from the Rounds. 

Kayla Benjamin
Assistant Editor