We hope that you and your family stay safe and healthy during this global COVID-19 health crisis. It’s times like these that make us more aware of the importance of resilient and sustainable local communities for our health, economies, and well-being. Our 17 Waterkeepers are part of the essential fabric of their communities, working to protect clean water and healthy communities. This Earth Day, the COVID-19 global health crisis is shining a light on how communities hardest hit by pollution are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and other public health threats. Never has it been more important for us to work toward a clean environment for all.
Like many nonprofit organizations and local businesses, Waterkeepers Chesapeake and our Waterkeepers have had to respond quickly and creatively to work remotely and provide programs, events and outreach virtually. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is the perfect opportunity for us to share some of the interactive ways we are continuing to champion clean water and keep you all connected to our cause. Check out some of the ways you can adopt water-friendly practices and help improve your local waterways*:
1. Participate in your own cleanup! While we can’t gather in large groups for traditional Earth Day river and beach cleanups, you can still get out and pick up trash in your own neighborhoods. The Anacostia Riverkeeper is hosting a Remote Earth Day Cleanup through the end of the month — register today!
2. Report pollution! Our Waterkeepers rely on citizens to help be our eyes and ears in finding pollution. When you see pollution, there are several ways you can contact them. You can also download the Water Reporter app to easily share information while out on a paddle, walk or hike.
3. Take a Clear Choices Clean Water pledge! We have several pledges to encourage you to adopt water-friendly practices that help reduce polluted stormwater runoff. You can do every activity in your own yard and neighborhood.
4. Order native plants from Assateague Coastkeeper for curb-side pickup on May 1 at their office in Berlin, MD.
5. Connect with nature through photography and poetry! Go to our social media and share stories and photos about what you are doing in your own backyard and neighborhood to support clean water and cleanup efforts. The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper is running a Photo & Poetry Contest through April 30.
6. Learn about the state of the rivers with your local Riverkeepers! Arundel Rivers Federation is hosting a virtual State of the Rivers on April 30. Shorerivers is hosting a State of the Rivers Virtual Watch Party on May 1.
7. Sign up for a virtual water quality monitoring training session! James Riverkeeper is conducting online water quality training sessions for volunteers. Potomac Riverkeeper and Anacostia Riverkeeper will be moving their trainings to online, too.
8. Watch our Waterkeepers live on Facebook! Arundel Rivers Federation has a series of Facebook live events. The Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper is hosting An Afternoon with Your Waterkeeper on April 22. Other Waterkeepers are posting videos of their work.
9. Make a donation! Waterkeepers Chesapeake and our Waterkeepers greatly appreciate the support we’ve received. Your support during this crisis is more important than ever and we hope you will consider making a one-time or recurring donation to support our work protecting clean water and building strong, resilient communities.
We encourage you to stay connected with us and our Waterkeepers and continue to adopt practices to prevent pollution in your day-to-day life as well as act as advocates for local waterways. We are all in this together! Thank you!
*For all outdoor activities, please abide by any state and local guidelines to stay safe and healthy — wear masks and gloves, keep your social distance from others (but don’t paddle alone), and wash your hands.