Early on a Saturday morning, seven members of the Maryland Solar Decathlon Team ventured off of the sleepy College Park campus to participate in the Anacostia Watershed Society's River Clean-Up. At the Bladensburg Waterfront Park, team members grabbed gloves, trash bags, and lifejackets before setting out for a half-day of litter pickup on the river.
Using canoes, rowboats, and walking the shoreline on foot, Maryland volunteers collected multiple bags of trash. Junior Mechanical Engineer, Rifat Jafreen was excited about boating opportunity yet nervous about "flipping over in the canoe." By the end of the clean-up all had become confident boaters - evident in the adventurous use of the boats and nets to retrieve trash from hard to reach places.
The Anacostia watershed includes portions of Montgomery County, Prince George's County, and Washington, D.C. The region located within the watershed is primarily an urban area. After heavy rains, human debris tossed from automobiles and swept away from roadways and parking lots ends up in the river.
The Anacostia Watershed Society's mission is to make the Anacostia and its tributaries swimmable and fishable and to restore the local environment for the health and enjoyment of everyone in the community. The October 23 event was the last of a series of clean-ups in 2004 serving to reduce the litter along the shore and improve the natural integrity of the river.
After several hours of hard work, the team returned to College Park cold, muddy, and wet. Even so, all were in agreement that they would return for the first Anacostia Watershed Clean-Up in 2005.
Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Website