The Anacostia River touches countless communities across the DC region before flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Though it has suffered from generations of neglect, the promise of a healthy and clean river is within reach. Dedicated to the restoration of the watershed, AWS mobilizes the community to clean, protect, and reconnect with the river. Through hands-on service learning, it engages thousands of local students each year in planting wetland vegetation and cleaning up the shores; and it advocates on the river’s behalf, seeking better stormwater controls and smarter green development. AWS also trains adults to become Watershed Stewards and Master Naturalists, empowering them as advocates for their communities’ environmental health. Year-round events engage thousands more volunteers, and regular recreational, environmentally-friendly activities remind residents of the pleasure that (clean) rivers can bring. Your stewardship, and support, is the next essential resource.

COVID-19 Update: Earth Day Cleanup (the largest volunteer event of the year) was postponed from April to October. With strict guidelines in place (screening for illness, travel to high-risk locations, and exposure to others; social distancing, masking, and limitations on group size), volunteers at more than 30 cleanup sites throughout the watershed were able to do their work. Other initiatives, like the Wild Freshwater Mussel Surveys at Kenilworth Lake (mussels increase water filtration capacity), a greening initiative at Fairmount Heights, and the development of “outdoor classrooms” continue – with safety measures in place, of course.

Headquarters: MD-Prince George's County

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; MD-Montgomery County; MD-Prince George's County

Age Groups Served: Infants (0-2); Pre-K (3-4); Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-49); Seniors (50+); All

Population(s) Served: All; Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members; Students

Schools They Work In: We work with more than 50 schools through DC, Prince George's, and Montgomery Counties each year.


  • Number of volunteers who work with us annually:   7500
  • Number of clients served in outdoor education programs (students/others) annually:   3000
  • Acres of land / miles of river protected or preserved annually:   12

Awards & Recognition

1992 — United Nations Achievement Award
1992 — Sierra Club Outstanding Achievement Award (Sierra Club)
1994 — Excellence in Environmental Education (National Environmental Education Foundation)
1999 — President's Volunteer Action Award (Office of the President of the United States of America)
2000 — Friend of the Potomac Award (Friends of the Potomac)
2006 — Argosy Foundation and etown E-chievement Award
2009 — U.S. Senate Certificate of Special Recognition
2012-2015 -- Rated 5 Stars by Charity Navigator

Press

Budget (FY2015)

  • The current budget for Anacostia Watershed Society is: $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

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