Bay Journal

Project Clean Stream an opportunity to heal, engage, connect

  • By Dan Ellis on March 13, 2012
  • Comments are closed for this article.
Volunteers clean Church Creek in Annapolis, MD People of all ages are encouraged to take part in Project Clean Stream.  (South River Federation)

The restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed has many facets. But, a personal connection between residents of the watershed and their local stream or river may be the most vital relationship in this work. People will care for and protect the things they know and love.

The Alliance works to create this connection by providing experiences that encourage committed people, communities, organizations and businesses to get involved. On April 14, Project Clean Stream will once again aid in the restoration effort. Throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, thousands of people will be participating in this annual event coordinated by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, our sponsors and partners.

Project Clean Stream is a deeply rooted initiative for the Alliance. The Alliance maintains multiple programs that span a wide range, from installing rain gardens to encouraging more sustainable environmental practices at businesses.

Our programs are united by three core goals: healing the land, engaging local communities and connecting people to the Bay and its rivers.

Efforts like Project Clean Stream, because of its multifaceted nature, are not easily placed in only one category. Which goal do you think Project Clean Stream helps to accomplish the most?

The first obvious answer might be "healing the land." Easily measurable results of Project Clean Steam, such as tons of trash removed and miles of streams cleaned, clearly suggest that Project Clean Stream is, at its heart, a demonstration of healing through the cleanup of some of the thoughtless ways people can treat their local stream or woods. But Project Clean Stream is about much more than picking up trash. It is more than just improving the appearance of a stream.

Project Clean Stream volunteers are engaged in a meaningful outdoor experience. Project Clean Stream also connects them with local watershed or community groups. These groups continue to involve and educate volunteers in the future beyond the day's cleanup project.

The Alliance organizes opportunities for volunteers to spend a few hours outside cleaning trash from streams or otherwise improving their communities. At the same time, volunteers are joined in community service with their neighbors, coworkers and other volunteers. These volunteers beautify the neighborhoods in which they live and work, but also gain awareness about the impacts they may have on the environment.

On April 14, more than 100 organizations will work directly with volunteers for Project Clean Stream. Many are local watershed, conservation or community groups; Boy and Girl Scout troops; schools; and churches. While individuals are engaged in public work activities, they also gain an appreciation for the work of the other organizations.

Businesses are a very important part of Project Clean Stream. The event provides their employees with a day of team-building. The Alliance works with many businesses and employees to organize a cleanup near their workplace. Volunteer work unites coworkers, reinforces environmental stewardship among employees and supports businesses' goals for sustainability and community involvement.

Only a strong and diverse coalition of committed people, communities, organizations, businesses and governments will be able to protect the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed in the future. Through Project Clean Stream, more than 5,000 volunteers will have the opportunity to dig, plant, pick up trash, learn and realize that their everyday decisions affect the health of the Bay and its watershed.

Communities are beautified and made safer, and real connections are made between volunteers and local environmental and community organizations.

I hope you will consider being a part of Project Clean Stream. Taking part in this annual event culminates in a unified day of service to the watershed and your community. The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is especially thankful to our generous continuing sponsors, the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Perdue, who have recognized value in the message that Project Clean Stream promotes.

Details on how to start a cleanup site and a map of locally registered sites can be found at http://allianceforthebay.org/pcs. For details, contact Dan Brellis at 443-949-0575 or dbrellis@allianceforthebay.org. Find the Project Clean Stream event on Facebook and share it with your friends.

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About Dan Ellis

Dan Ellis is the network administrator for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

Read more articles by Dan Ellis

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