Northwest Branch Stream Cleanup

Impact Area

Improve Environment

Volunteer Group Name & URL

Coordinated by the Neighbors of the Northwest Branch

Organization Served & URL

Silver Spring Community

Project Goal/Description

To clean up the Northwest Branch stream and the surrounding area in Silver Spring. The stream runs into the Anacostia River and the Chesapeake Bay, so the larger mission was to help keep those waterways clean.

Timeline for Planning

  • Three weeks in advance: request permission, mostly through email, from Montgomery Parks as well as from the property manager of the apartment complex where people parked their cars
  • Before the clean-up: pick up supplies provided by Parks, such as trash bags and gloves. The Community Outreach office is open Monday through Friday between 9:00a-4:30p


How Many Volunteers

About 12, mostly friends who knew each other. Time Commitment: 3 hours on a Saturday.

How Was This Publicized to Recruit Volunteers?

Since the group was comprised of friends, widespread publicity was not needed. Mostly email was used among the friends

Required Facilities, Materials & Expenses

No expenses. Montgomery Parks provided supplies, namely trash bags and gloves. The apartment complex allowed the group to use their dumpsters for trash deposits. 


The site was pretty dangerous. It had a lot of broken glass. And there was a steep hill running down to the stream from the parking lot that people had to traverse.

Group Type

Neighborhood/Civic AssociationService Club

Strategic Priority Addressed

Vital living for all our residents


The area looked much cleaner, and over 30 bags of trash were collected. In addition, participants “got a lot of exercise and a sense of helping the community and the environment,” says Elliot Rule.

Special Points of Interest

  • Pick your site carefully and check it out beforehand, to make sure the terrain is appropriate for the ages of the participants (this one would not have been good for young children).
  • Dress for the event, meaning wear old clothes that can get very dirty.
  • Bring water!