Friends of Accotink Creek
Virginia Waterway Cleanup Day
part of the International Coastal Cleanup
September & October, 2019

Thanks to all the Friends of Accotink Creek who joined the International Coastal Cleanup along our 12 adopted stretches of Accotink Creek this cleanup season.

See all our cleanup photos on our SHUTTERFLY page!

The Vision: Legions of volunteers sweeping over the length of the creek and tributaries, clearing trash before them like swarms of locusts, then pressing on as zealous missionaries to spread the message far and wide to take responsibility for stopping litter at the source.

We found it still ticking, but is time running our for our watershed?
Our September 7, 2019 stream cleanups:

The weather was with us today, beginning with mild breezes and a cloudless blue sky that gradually became dotted with puffy white clouds by day's end. Temperatures climbed from the low 70's to the low 80's through the day.

At our first site of the day, Fullerton Road we had 11 volunteers. Together they removed 14 bags of trash and 3 tires. Our unusual finds here included an artificial Xmas tree branch, 1/2 of a fishing rod, and a still-ticking wristwatch. One volunteer struggled to collect 100 feet of a cassette tape unraveled from its spools.

The upstream portion of this site in the Accotink Gorge is becoming less and less accessible as exotic Chinese wisteria vines become so thick they make movement a real challenge.

At Franconia-Springfield Parkway, our second site of the day, we had few volunteers signed up, but were pleasantly surprised by a nice turnout of 17, including neighbors and a group from Northern Virginia Community College Annandale Honors Society. The Honors Society scholars all readily agreed to the onerous optional task of cataloging each piece of trash collected, reciting their motto "No such thing as too much data". Thank you, Honors Society! We collected 12 bags of trash here, the most unusual item being a length of rusty heavy steel cable.

A passing neighbor collecting trash long the roadside left his bag with us and lamented the innumerable tiny pieces that will be mistaken for food by wildlife.

The Honors Society brought donuts and left a few behind for the rest of us. This was fortuitous, for as we were packing up, a famished bicyclist traveling the Cross County Trail from Occoquan to Annandale came by and was able to refuel with the last donut.

The section of the Cross County Trail here has been in disrepair for years. Renovations are currently underway, but it was a mystery why the new footbridges are misaligned with the existing trail.

Our last site of the day was Telegraph Road. Here four volunteers hauled out 9 bags of trash. We usually direct volunteers to ignore the sad sight of the trash-strewn concrete ditch they must pass on their way to the stream here, but one intrepid volunteer could not look away. He spent the entire time cleaning the ditch, where he found our most unusual items, IV tubing and part of a window frame.

Despite all the wonderful volunteers who have turned out to help, we are still outnumbered by the litterbugs. Your club, school, business, or other group is welcome to join Friends of Accotink Creek in next year's Potomac Watershed Cleanup in April & May, and the International Coastal Cleanup in September & October! Volunteer site leaders and coordinators are needed!

Follow the Friends of Accotink Creek motto and "Find just one other person who cares".

See all our cleanup photos on our SHUTTERFLY page!

The International Coastal Cleanup is the world's largest volunteer data collection effort devoted to the marine environment. The Ocean Conservancy compiles the data received from sites around the world, and prepares a summary report to be used by citizens and policy makers in evaluating our progress in dealing with this serious form of pollution.

GET YOUR BRAIN WET! Join Friends of Accotink Creek in next year's International Coastal Cleanup in September and the Potomac Watershed Cleanup in April!

Learn more about Clean Virginia Waterways