Hey y’all! As promised in our first DC Volunteering Guide (which was more of a Intro-to-Volunteering-in-DC 101), here’s our spring edition– jam packed with new volunteer opportunities that let you take advantage of the fact that it’s.finally.warm.outside. (happy dance) From planting trees to cleaning river banks, we’ve got ya covered.
Kids to Parks Day! On May 21 the National Parks Service is encouraging kids across the country to go out to a park and play. Since you’re an adult reading this and not a kid, you’re encouraged to take a kid to a park and play. The Parks service has a bunch of resources, like activity guides and adventure books to make your outing more fun. Find more information on the Park Trust site.
Cherry Blossoms, Fireworks, Recycling, Oh my! When I was in college it was my job to navigate football tailgates and collect recycling. This will kind of be like that. Except fewer frat bros shotgunning Bud and more babies with dirty diapers. If your idea of a good time is being around lots and lots of people and helping to ensure quality recycling happens at an event like the Cherry Blossom Festival, you should totally join So What Else in this event.
The Nature Conservancy is offering volunteer opportunities for Earth Month, because Earth Day just isn’t enough celebration. Events include planting trees and cleaning up the banks of the Anacostia. And then more planting trees and cleaning up the banks of the Anacostia. And that’s about it, but still — check it out!
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is taking volunteers for their Earth Day Volunteer event on April 23. You can help them pull invasive species, plant native ones, and then enjoy free music, food, and speakers!
We Are Family is a year round organization headed by Mark Anderson that aids seniors throughout D.C. From providing food to just visiting, the volunteer organization is an incredibly vital aspect of living in a city. The organization does more than pass out food, it helps build community. Incredibly easy to volunteer most every weekend, We Are Family is ready to take in anyone willing to help, regardless of physical strength or long term availability.
Potomac Watershed Cleanup is happening on April 16 at many locations along the river. If you can’t make it that Saturday, there are multiple other times to volunteer. The 2015 cleanup was massive, with 805 sites from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC., 23,898 volunteers collecting 1,203,543 pounds of trash.
Citizens Climate Lobby Looking for something a little less hands-on but with a potentially greater, longer term outcome? Consider volunteering with this organization — they meet, they organize, and they lobby on the Hill for climate justice. Ba-da-boom ba-da-bang.
Student Conservation Association: Join the crew the morning of April 30 for an Earth Clean Up at Greenbelt Park (Metro accessible with a shuttle to the park!). Lunch and t-shirts will be provided for all volunteers! Sign up here to complete the online volunteer waiver.
Washington DC Green Festival: Too busy in April? The DC Green Festival isn’t until May 6-8, so put this one on your calendar. The festival is unique for this list in that it is not community-focused per se, it’s just an opportunity to partake in the city’s biggest event focusing on sustainability and green living, so even if you don’t plan on volunteering you should still check it out! Volunteers must register for this event, so get on it!
Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Lots of options to be outside and help keep the Chesapeake Bay in tip-top condition. You have to travel beyond the metro region to participate, but “oyster gardening” just sounds too good to pass up.
Rock Creek Conservancy: ALL the events! Tree planting, your usual roadside trash collection, and for those ambitious ones, the “Extreme” Clean-up… did you know Rock Creek is 33 miles long? Ohhh yeah. And all those miles need a good cleaning.
Anacostia Watershed Society: The Potomac! Rock Creek! The Anacostia! So many bodies of water, so little time. AWS even has an Earth Day celebration on the 23rd, so you can clean in the morning, and then celebrate all your hard work in the afternoon! Done!
Casey Trees: Planting trees! Free tees! (*I do not know if free t-shirts is actually a thing. But check out those tees on their volunteer page, yes please!) Volunteer opportunities include planting galore and the chance to be a “Tree Advocate”, because deep down we all want to be the Lorax.
Potomac Conservancy: Enough about the Potomac already. Unless, of course, you really can’t get enough of it. And then feel free to join the PC for one of their national days of service. (“Go Nuts for Clean Water Day”, anyone?) And for those who are able to dedicate a little more time, volunteer canal stewards are needed on a monthly basis for cleanups along the canal.
Common Good City Farm: This farm has plenty of opportunities to get involved and the best part? They’re by Howard, so in the city and easy to get to. Farm drop-in hours are probably a volunteer’s best bet, but if you want to get more involved you can get a CSA membership or join one of their other programs.
All right kiddies, that wraps up the spring greening volunteer opportunities, but this is by no means an exhaustive list, so please add any opportunities we missed in the comments section below!! And stay tuned for the summer edition, when focus will be on opportunities with proximity to rooftop bars, happy hour joints and the like.