Things to Do

10 Ways to Help the Environment on National Public Lands Day

Help plant trees, pick up trash, and wrangle weeds around DC.

Volunteers at Rock Creek Park. Photograph courtesy of the NEEF/Jason Dixson.

The National Environmental Education Foundation hopes to recruit an army of volunteers for the 29th annual National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 24. Spend a portion of your weekend planting trees, cleaning up a park, or even washing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at one of the many local events happening this Saturday. All events are free but registration is required for some.

Wall Washing at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial 
5 Henry Bacon Dr., NW
Early risers can spend the morning washing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. The event runs from 6:15 to 8:15 a.m.

Potomac Conservancy Shoreline Cleanup
Gravelly Point Park, Arlington
Help the folks at Potomac Conservancy make the river a safer place for residents to enjoy. Register here to claim one of 50 spots to help pick up trash along the shore. The event runs from 9 to 11 a.m. 

Public Lands Day at Lincoln Park
Between 11th and 13th sts, NE, and East Capitol St. NE and SE, DC
From 9 to 11 a.m., the Friends of Lincoln Park will be working with volunteers to pull weeds and pick up trash at this historic Capitol Hill park, home to statues honoring Abraham Lincoln and Mary McLeod Bethune. 

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
1550 Anacostia Ave., NE
Collect litter, work on trails, and help remove invasive species at this haven for water-loving plants on the eastern bank of the Anacostia River. You may get a little wet so come prepared to work in shallow ponds. The event begins at 9 and ends at noon.

Enhancing Riparian Zones at Wolf Trap
1551 Trap Rd., Vienna
Learn about the function of riparian zones—which protect against erosion and help filter and keep water clean—and help fortify them at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. From 9 to noon, volunteers will be planting ferns that will help improve these zones while also creating new habitats for wildlife. Email to register.     

Public Lands Day at Lake Fairfax
1400 Lake Fairfax Dr., Reston
Join the executive director of the Fairfax County Park Authority, Jai Cole, at this event in Reston to plant trees and clean up around Lake Fairfax.

Tree Planting at Mustang Trailhead 
10702 Harley Rd., Lorton
From 9 to noon, volunteers will plant native trees in the Meadowood Recreation Area. 

Community Tree Care at Fort Dupont Park
Fort Dupont Park, SE
Register here to help weed, mulch, and water vulnerable trees at this Southeast DC park with the nonprofit Casey Trees. Participants will receive on-site training and equipment will be provided. The event runs from 9 to noon.

Forest and Nature Therapy Experience 
1900 Anacostia Dr., SE
Spend the morning on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail with National Capital Parks-East to deepen your appreciation and understanding of public lands. From 10 to noon, you can participate in a variety of mindful activities meant to help connect you to Anacostia Park. Register here

Weed Wrangling at Anacostia Park
1900 Anacostia Dr., SE
Join forces with the National Capital Parks-East to help remove harmful trees, vines and flowering plants at Anacostia Park. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., learn how to identify and remove a variety of non-native plants. Register here.

Peter Njoroge
Editorial Fellow