Frequently Asked Questions

The Anacostia Watershed Society's Earth Day Cleanup is AWS's largest annual volunteer event. Typically, on the Saturday following Earth Day nearly thousands of volunteers come out to dozens of different sites around the watershed to pick-up trash, serve their communities, and enjoy the Anacostia River. 

This event is a success thanks to all of our amazing community partners and leaders. Most of our sites are lead by volunteer leaders who have been organizing clean-ups in their communities for years, and we are always seeking more leaders! If you are interested in nominating a site in your community for Earth Day, or if you are interested in becoming a site leader, you can click here.

Any questions? You can email Stacy Lucas at [email protected]. We provide each of these community leaders with training and supply them with the tools to lead a fantastic clean-up.

Registration opens on March 20!  

Participant Requirements for Volunteer and Recreational Events

Note: Protocols and requirements are subject to change based on state, local, and federal guidance and/or our own organizational determinations.

Volunteers must agree and comply to our COVID-19 protocols in order to participate. You will be required to agree to the following statements during registration:

  1. COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements: The Anacostia Watershed Society requires that all participants who are eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine be fully vaccinated per the CDC guidelines and attest to being fully vaccinated in order to participate in any of our events. AWS also highly recommends that all participants be up-to-date on booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible. Please see additional requirements listed in the below sections.
  2. Self-monitoring: All AWS event and worksite participants are required to:
    • Complete our Event Waiver Form and our COVID-19 screening questionnaire prior to participation.
    • If you have not been fully vaccinated and are eligible to receive the vaccination (i.e. 6 months or older), please do not come to the event.
    • If you are sick or exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 (such as fever, chills, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, etc.), do not come to the event.
    • If you are able to attend the event and become ill within one week of participating in the event, please report this to [email protected] (our Human Resources email address). We will keep your identity confidential, but want to notify those who may have been exposed.
  3. Masks:
    • AWS does not require masks indoors or outdoors for event/worksite participants. Wearing a mask indoors or outdoors during AWS programing is an individual’s choice that is to be respected and supported.
    • In addition, wearing a mask is optional for all AWS employees and representatives, except when required or requested by program participants or while conducting AWS business at other locations (e.g. schools) that require/request masking.
    • There may come a time when we see a spike in COVID-19 infections and masks could become required again.
  4. Reservations: Pre-registration is encouraged and may be required via AWS’s website ( All registrations require each participant to complete our Event Waiver Form and our COVID-19 screening questionnaire prior to participation.

What is the Anacostia Watershed Society Earth Day Cleanup?

The Anacostia Watershed Society’s Earth Day Cleanup is a DC-area tradition where thousands of volunteers cleanup sites all along the Anacostia River and its tributary streams throughout the watershed in DC, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.

How do I register to be a volunteer at a site?

Registration opens on March 20. When it does, you can choose a site from the map on the main page, register for it, then come to that location on Earth Day and make a difference for the Anacostia River! The rest of this FAQ has more details.

Do you need to register to be a volunteer?

Yes! In order to volunteer at the 2023 Earth Day Cleanup, pre-registration is required for each individual via AWS’s website. This includes each participant completing our on-line waiver form with registration.

How do I know if my registration went through?

You will receive an confirmation email from [email protected] with more details from your site.

Can I just show up at one of the sites and start cleaning?

Very few sites are accepting walk ups, and registration is required if a participant shows up without doing so prior.

How can I get a t-shirt?

In 2023, we are looking to cut down on our own waste by sending a smaller number of shirts to each site. When you check in on the morning of the Earth Day Cleanup, your site leader will decide how to distribute shirts (at the beginning, end, as a prize, etc.)

Can children participate in the AWS Earth Day Cleanup?

Yes! Please pay attention to the site information, because some sites are a little too burdensome for little hands. Sites that are not recommended for children are clearly marked on the map of volunteer sites. We trust that parents will make informed decisions about what is best for themselves and their families.

If my child volunteers, can they receive Service Learning Hours?

Yes! If you bring the paperwork, AWS site leaders and staff at your site will sign off on your child’s hours.

Great! So I can just drop off my kids at a site and pick them up at noon.

Unfortunately, all volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult over 18. Everyone needs to register online.

Speaking of groups, I would like to volunteer with one! Is there a way to register 10 people at once?

Members of groups are strongly encouraged to sign up individually.  Groups of 10 or more should contact our Volunteer Manager, Emily Castelli at [email protected] to reserve spots for your team. A group can reserve up to 50 spots at a clean-up site by Tuesday, April 4th, but will need to fill those spots by Friday, April 7th. At that time, any unregistered reserved spots will be released to the public.

My corporate group wants to help! How do we sign up?

Corporate groups are encouraged to contact Emily Conrad at [email protected] or at 301-699-6204 x111 for more information about volunteering, and the benefits of becoming an Earth Day sponsor!

Hey, the site I want to be at says that registration is closed! It’s the park right down the street from me! What’s up with that?

It is wonderful that so many volunteers participate in the AWS Earth Day Cleanup, and we plan to have as many people that each site needs to become cleaner. Sometimes these sites get full… but the sites that aren’t full still need you! We kindly ask that you pick your second choice site.

Oops! I accidentally registered for the wrong site! How do I change my registration?

If the site that you want still has spots available, just re-enter your registration for the new site. Send an email to [email protected] so we can delete the registration that you don’t want.

Who to Contact

Once you have registered, please only contact your site leader with site specific questions or concerns about location and directions. You can find your site leader contact information in the confirmation email you receive upon registering. We encourage you to have your site leader's phone number handy on the day of the event in case you need assistance finding your site that morning.

General Questions

AWS Staff


[email protected]

Site Leader Questions

Stacy Lucas

301-699-6204 x119

[email protected]

Corporate Sponsorship

Emily Conrad

301-699-6204 x111

[email protected]

Press Inquiries

Emily Conrad

301-699-6204 x111

[email protected]