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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Potomac River, Leesburg, Virginia, USA

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Potomac River, Leesburg, Virginia, USA
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Registered: December 2008
City/Town/Province: Leesburg
Posts: 1
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Hi, my name is Heidi. This winter, I planned and executed a trash clean-up with a group of my friends along the Potomac River in Leesburg, Virginia. The Potomac River is the fourth largest river along the Atlantic coast of the USA, flowing through West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. While it is utilized today by millions for recreational activities such as boating, fishing, hiking and bird watching, the Potomac River has a historical background dating back to George Washington. In fact, America’s first President lived along the Potomac River right here in Virginia and urged that this river be developed in order to link Americans with the West. Additionally, I see this river as a symbol of our nation since it is home to the American Bald Eagle and passes by the U.S. capital of Washington D.C.
In Virginia, River Creek is known as a beautiful gated community with its sparkling blue lake and stretch of green golf courses. However, just a short hike down from these houses is the Potomac River, which in this particular area was not getting the proper attention that it deserved. I first noticed this river when I was jogging down the paths in River Creek with my friend Kelly. I saw garbage hidden along the shorelines and brushes, which made me think about the effect that this would have on the wildlife here. I care deeply for animals and did not want any of them to be injured or killed because of the carelessness of others who litter in this area, and thus I made a plan to clean it up.
As we all met at Kelly’s house, we gathered our trash bags, rubber gloves, water, and winter gear, and began our hike down to the river. The short hike turned out to be a little longer than we had remembered when we were jogging the first time, but lucky for us, the River Creek gym was along the way to provide us with a short break. Once refreshed, we started off again, eager and excited to help out the environment and our community. Along the way we took the time to also pick up stray trash that we found on the paths. There was not too much trash in this lovely neighborhood, but since it was a pretty long hike we collected a fair amount. When we finally arrived, the time seemed to fly while we were cleaning up and it was dark before we knew it. What we found was everyday litter from uncaring individuals such as used plastic cups and plates from a picnic.
At the end, it felt good to know that we helped to sustain the important ecosystems of the Potomac River so that the numerous fish, crabs, and other aquatic critters can go on with their lives safely. I am proud to have participated in the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative because I know that I personally, and my awesome friends that helped me accomplish this project were all educated on the importance of keeping our environment clean. We contributed to the conservation and well-being of some of our wildlife here in Virginia; and, by picking up the trash we found, we made a difference in this community. If just a few more of the over 5 million people who live within the Potomac watershed partake in this action, we can make an even bigger difference in the environment. My goal in this project was to encourage people to stop littering as we helped to protect and conserve the environment. Furthermore, I hope that as we informed people around our school and neighborhood of our project, we inspired others to follow in our footsteps.
Date: December 31, 2008 Views: 8207 File size: 25.6kb, 219.4kb : 1500 x 1125
Hours Volunteered: 10
Volunteers: 4
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 14 to 17
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 0.14
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 0.96
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