WASHINGTON - Some area residents could have taken it easy on their Friday. But instead, volunteers pitched in on a hot day to help our area's most troubled waterway.
The Green Up Day, put on by the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, aimed to improve conditions at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. The event brought out about 70 volunteers, according to foundation manager Vera Maher.
"The Anacostia is one of the dirtiest rivers in the United States," says Anacostia River keeper Mike Bolinder. "Kenilworth Aquatic Garden is the biggest natural filter that exists anywhere in the watershed that can work to clean out the pollution."
Volunteers from the military, other government agencies, and private companies worked to rebuild natural barriers around lily ponds, remove invasive plants and clean up trash.
The work was anything but easy.
A group of Coast Guard members who saw the event posted online worked to secure "logs" made up of coconut fibers near the ponds' banks to fight erosion. Coast Guard LTJG Dan Ladgon stood waist-deep in the water, hammering stakes into the pond's bed with a sledgehammer.
"I wasn't expecting this but it's fun, getting dirty, using your hands," he says.
Others worked to shovel dirt and move it in wheelbarrows to reinforce the edges of the ponds.
Alex Barrows, of Gaithersburg, works for Alion Science and Technology Corporation and was among those tasked with digging and hauling duty.
"I don't know if I have to work out anymore tonight," he jokes.
The Green Up event was the fourth put on by Dream Foundation.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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