Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

April as Earth Month: Rock Creek Conservancy Hosts Tenth Annual Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup, Saturday April 14th

One of the problems of "Earth Day" is that many groups focus their energy on organizing activities to be held on that specific day, so that there are multiple events, but the average person can only get to one, maybe two events.

Celebrating "Earth Month," and spreading out actions across the month allows for more involvement and participation.

-- Earth Day, Sunday April 22nd, Earth Day Network
-- Earth Month2018

I am a fan of "community expos" as capacity building activities. In the DC area, both Howard and Montgomery Counties in Maryland have signature events for Earth Month:

-- Howard County GreenFest, Saturday April 21st
-- Montgomery County GreenFest, Saturday May 5th

The Silver Spring Time Bank will be sponsoring a "repair café" at the MoCo event. There's one at the HoCo event too.

I found out that there is a "Repair Café" network.

(I'd like to find a "sewing café" division, to get all my various clothes mending requirements taken care of...)

From the Rock Creek Conservancy:

Thousands to Celebrate Earth Month by Cleaning Up Rock Creek

Spring has officially sprung, and Rock Creek Conservancy is inviting D.C. denizens and Marylanders alike to get outside this April and celebrate Earth Month by cleaning up Rock Creek.

The Conservancy is hosting the Tenth Annual Extreme Cleanup on April 14th. As the Conservancy's largest volunteer event of the year, the Extreme Cleanup mobilizes thousands of people to clean up 60 critical sites throughout both Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland. These volunteer sites will include some of the area’s most iconic parks thanks to the Conservancy’s partnerships with Rock Creek Park, part of the National Park Service, and Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Volunteers make a difference. In the last nine years, volunteers have carted more than 17,000 garbage bags full of litter, 80 tons of junk, and 40,000 plastic bags out of Rock Creek's parks.

"What people don't realize is that occasional littering in a metropolitan area eventually builds up. A straw here, a plastic bag all finds its way to Rock Creek," stated John Maleri, the program manager for volunteers, outreach, and restoration at Rock Creek Conservancy. He continued, "Without the help of our dedicated volunteers, all of that trash would still be collecting in Rock Creek and its parks, polluting our favorite lands and waters."

And it gets worse. A plastic bag or bottle left uncollected in Rock Creek will continue to “go with the flow.” That piece of trash can make its way into the Potomac River, float to the Chesapeake Bay, and ultimately end up in the Atlantic Ocean, where it would join the 5.2 trillion pieces of plastic trash that currently pollute the Earth's largest bodies of water.

"If you think about the scale of this problem, this cleanup truly becomes a celebration of Earth Month," Maleri affirmed. "The work we do here goes beyond Rock Creek. It has implications for the ecological health of the world at large."

The Conservancy is working closely with their partner, Alice Ferguson Foundation to align the Extreme Cleanup with the more expansive Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, which spans cleanup sites in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and DC. Together, these two environmental organizations will bring together hundreds of communities throughout the Potomac River watershed.

“We encourage our volunteers to take what they learn during the Extreme Cleanup and apply it all year long,” continued Maleri. “We can all become stewards of our environment. Together we can make a difference.”

The Conservancy asks everyone to learn more and register. Those who would like to host a cleanup at their own site should email

The Conservancy is hosting several other events in April to celebrate Earth Month, including the "Wild and Scenic Film Festival" and several happy hours to give back to the Rock Creek community. You can find more information about these events online.

ROCK CREEK CONSERVANCY - Rock Creek Conservancy exists to restore Rock Creek and its parklands as a natural oasis for all people to appreciate and protect. As the only organization dedicated solely to Rock Creek and its parks, the Conservancy is uniquely positioned to foster outreach, education, and efforts to overcome threats to Rock Creek. For more information, visit

ROCK CREEK PARK - Rock Creek Park, a unit of the National Park Service, comprises nearly 3,000 acres in the heart of Washington, D.C. The park offers visitors the opportunity to escape the bustle of the city for a peaceful refuge, recreation, fresh air, majestic trees, wild animals, and thousands of years of human history. Approximately 4.5 million visitors come to the park for recreation opportunities--including hiking, bicycling, picnicking, fishing, bird-watching--and to explore historical topics--including Civil War history, milling, Colonial life, landscape architecture--and much, much more!

MARYLAND-NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION MONTGOMERY PARKS - Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 419 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high-quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other park systems.

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