- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 7, 2002

Ramona Crawford, a den leader for Cub Scout pack No. 544, waded into the icy waters in Rock Creek Park near Broad Branch Road in Northwest with a long, sturdy tree branch. There was a tug, and, lo and behold, Mrs. Crawford pulled a rusty, dilapidated lawn chair from the water.
Mrs. Crawford was one of more than 70 volunteers who gathered yesterday morning at Picnic Grove No. 1 by Peirce Mill in Northwest with one thing on their minds: trash. The cleanup crew took part in the 14th annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup on a sunny but unseasonably chilly day. This year's theme "From Our Streets to Our River" focused on how trash moves from the streets and finds its way to storm drains, then flows to the area's waterways.
Mrs. Crawford's discovery the broken lawn chair was just one of the many pieces of trash bagged and left at various pickup points in Rock Creek Park. There were hubcaps and bicycle tires, windshield wipers and biking shorts, rugs and keys, jewelry boxes and hiking boots, boxer shorts and bras, and mirrors.
The three-hour cleanup took place at 11 sites in the District and included more than 100 sites in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Since the cleanup's inception, volunteers have removed more than 600 tons of trash from the Potomac River and its more than 100 tributaries, making it one of the largest restoration projects in the region.
Mrs. Crawford and 12 members of the Cub Scout pack from Peoples Congregational Church in Northwest set out on a three-quarter-mile hike to pick up trash, help the environment and work on their wildlife-achievement requirements.
"This is what Cub Scouts do. Our emphasis is on fun, family activities and service," Mrs. Crawford said while walking down a rocky path in the park. She kept an eagle eye on the youngsters as they spread out to pick up the trash that made its way from the streets to the water.
Other groups formed at Picnic Grove No.1 and fanned out in the national park, armed with garbage bags, sturdy gloves and long, tonglike grabbers to pull out trash and debris from the water and wooded areas.
White-collar desk jockeys from the General Accounting Office pitched in to do their part along with students from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria and members of Chevy Chase Presbyterian church, as well people who helped out just because they love Rock Creek Park.
Everyone who joined in got a big welcome from Rock Creek Park education specialist Maggie Zadorozny and park ranger Anne O'Neill, who registered volunteers, handed out gloves and bags, and said a few words about staying safe while in Rock Creek Park.
"This is my seventh year with the watershed cleanup, and we've had good turnouts over the years. So many people who are out cleaning up see Rock Creek Park as an extension of their neighborhoods. It's like cleaning up our own back yards, since it's a national park and belongs to all of us," Miss Zadorozny said.
For example, Lyndsey Washington, 10, picked up bags, bottles, balloons and cans. She is a member of Junior Girl Scout troop No. 5139 out of Zion Baptist Church in Northwest and was watched over by Linda Wright, the troop leader.
"They have an opportunity to do something for their community and learn about the environment in the process," Ms. Wright said.
"I picked up a lot of stuff today," said Lyndsey, a fourth-grader who attends Metropolitan Day School in Northeast.
Fellow Girl Scout Noel Harris, 9, a fourth-grader at the Maret School in upper Northwest, doesn't want to see litter and trash strewn along the park. It's an eyesore, she said.
"I like keeping the park clean for everyone. My parents drive through the park to take me to school, and I want to see it clean and beautiful," she said.

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