For the first time, service projects were scheduled in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with nearly 1,500 projects for volunteers to sign up. In Washington, DC, about 6,000 volunteers, including several government employees, showed up for service. The DC Jewish Community Center sponsored a clean up of homeless shelters; Cardozo High School had a beautification project and the AmeriCorps members serving with the Earth Conservation Corps had a successful clean up of the Pope Branch Stream (a tributary of the Anacostia River).
PeteHillDDOE, Steve Saari, Sheila Besse and I were impressed towards the success of the Pope Branch clean-up. More than 120 volunteers came out along the stream pulling invasive plant species, clipping dead tree branches and picking up trash – lots of trash. Thoughtful volunteers spent time filtering out recyclables. One of the unusual items found was a vintage bicycle handlebar wrapped in duct tape. The other weird item found was a coconut shell. Last time I checked, coconuts don't grow in DC. One volunteer was mad pulling English ivy vines and had a vision that she had powers to control the movements of the vines and that it was wicked cool to tie up her nemesis with the vines just by the command of her voice. Or maybe the hallucination was that the creeping invasive were trying to attack her, I forget.
The volunteers worked very hard picking up the massive amounts of garbage found along Pope Branch stream. Volunteers clipped vines and removed invasive plant species that include, English Ivy and Japanese knotweed. Donations helped reward the volunteers for their hard work and effort, and were very much appreciated. The snacks and drinks served throughout the morning were gratefully devoured and the enthusiasm from the volunteers was priceless.
Many thanks go out to ECC staffs, Josh Burch, Tim Critchfield, et. al for the set up and the encouragement.
We still need your help!! More garbage is being washed off the city streets, parking lots and yards into the storm drains and rivers and to the Chesapeake Bay. This clean-up event can happen more than once a year and will happen. Any individuals or groups are welcome to the next clean up.
Thank you again to the residents from along the Pope Branch tributary, ECC, DDOE, the DC Sierra Club and The Pope Branch Alliance volunteers for helping to make the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of National Service clean up a success! Woo hoo!!
"Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.