For over a decade, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has helped organize regional stream cleanup events as a part of our Project Clean Stream (PCS). What started as a single day event in the Spring, now spans over the course of a season with tens of thousands of volunteers picking up trash across the watershed. 

Project Clean Stream offers hands-on opportunities through our partnership with communities, local businesses, environmental organizations, local governments, community groups, houses of worship, schools, and universities, to come together to take action to restore local streams, creeks, and rivers! Through our Project Clean Stream cleanups, volunteers have the opportunity to pick-up trash in their communities, discover how their everyday decisions affect the overall health of their local waterways, and ultimately foster a healthier relationship with the Chesapeake.

While the Alliance helps coordinate the cleanup events and provides the gloves and trash bags, the real heroes are the volunteers who register and put together a cleanup event, who we call “site captains.” The Alliance would not be able to achieve this watershed-wide event without them. This year, as Maryland Outreach Coordinator, I’ve been able to take the lead on coordinating PCS. And through all the hustle and bustle of trying to organize the cleanup events, getting the site captains their supplies, and working with the supply pick up locations – these wonderful site captains are my favorite part of the job. It takes a special kind of person to volunteer their time to help gather volunteers, select a location, and run a volunteer event! Their positive energy and willingness to spend a weekend picking up trash is what keeps me determined to make the next PCS season be the best one yet. 

To ensure the safety of our staff and volunteers, the Alliance is postponing PCS to the Fall with a kick-off date of September 11th, to coincide with National Day of Remembrance and Service. While this may be disappointing, the Alliance wants to remind everyone that while we may currently be physically separated, now more than ever is the time for all of us to come together as a community and do our part – even if that means staying inside and physically distancing ourselves from others. 

That being said, now is a great time to start planning your clean up event in the Fall! Instead of rewatching movies and old TV shows, you can take the time now to plan on ways to help your community in the future. I encourage anyone who has never registered their own event, to take that leap and try their hand at being a site captain. To register a site, click here. 

Another way to do your part while practicing physical distancing, is to have your very own “cleanup event.” Last Wednesday was a beautiful day on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where I am currently isolating myself with my family. I grabbed a trash bag and a pair gardening gloves and had my very own PCS event. I walked for about two miles picking up trash. It was a great chance to take a break from everything going on in the world and just take some time to do something that makes me feel good about helping the world, even in just a small way. You can do the same thing in your neighborhood! Next time you go out for fresh air, take a trash bag and some gardening gloves with you and pick up trash along your walk. You’ll be surprised at how good you feel about doing your part after you’ve finished.

While we are facing many challenges during this hard time, we at the Alliance remain committed to improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The work will continue on in the Chesapeake, and we hope you will join us.

The Alliance reminds everyone to do their part to flatten the curve of COVID-19 by practicing responsible behavior. Please make sure to practice physical distancing, wash your hands often with soap and water, cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing, avoid touching your face, and avoid contact with sick people. We encourage you to follow the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines, and to follow any guidance from the jurisdiction where you live.