Be a a Site Captain for a local river or beach cleanup event

Site Captains are important leaders -- they make it possible for hundreds of others to participate and become hands-on stewards of our local streams, rivers and beaches. Please consider becoming a Site Captain, and organizing a cleanup event in your community!


Contact Clean Virginia Waterways (434-395-2602 or if you have any questions, or if you are ready to sign up!

Click here for a Site Captain Signup and Supply Form.

Support you will get from Clean Virginia Waterways:
Site Captains receive trash bags, data cards, pencils, posters, brochures & instructions on organizing a successful cleanup. Site Captains also receive a T-shirt

WHEN: The Virginia Waterways Cleanup is held annually between September 1 and October 31. You and your group of volunteers can pick any date that works for you.


Duties of a Site Captain (short version):

1. Pick any stream, beach or river in your neighborhood or nearby park that needs a cleanup.
2. Help promote the cleanup with co-workers, park visitors, friends, students, neighbors and local businesses. Please ask your local newspaper and radio stations to run a notice of the event.
3. Show up early on your cleanup day to hand out trash bags, pencils, and Volunteer Ocean Trash Data Forms to volunteers.
4. Collect the Data Forms from volunteers, thank your volunteers, and mail the Data Forms to CVW along with your Coordinator Ocean Trash Data Form.

  SAFETY FIRST! Click here for safety information.

Publicity for your cleanup:
Some Site Captains organize cleanups that are just for a certain club, school, or group of co-workers. But if your cleanup event is open to the public, it is important to promote the event so you will get volunteers. Clean Virginia Waterways will promote your cleanup in news releases, radio public service announcements, and on the CVW website. The Ocean Conservancy also promotes the International Coastal Cleanup in major newspapers, magazines, and on TV and radio stations around the world. In addition, we ask that you contact a few radio stations and ask them to announce your cleanup event. You will also receive from CVW a press release that you can customize for your local newspaper. We have learned that local newspapers and radio stations respond best to requests from local citizens.

Duties of a Site Captain (long version):

1) Select a cleanup area/site along a river, beach or any other body of water. If in a park, contact the park's ranger and work with him or her to coordinate the cleanup. Call Clean Virginia Waterways, or send us an email     to register your cleanup as part of the Virginia Waterways Cleanup.

2) Find out about parking and bathroom facilities for your volunteers. Where will the filled trash bags be placed? In parks, they are usually placed near trashcans. If no trashcans are present, someone needs to take the bags to a landfill. Is there is a picnic area where your team can have a post-cleanup gathering?

3) Get volunteers! Sources of volunteers include: park visitors, friends, neighbors, churches, co-workers, club/association members, local schools, boy or girl scout troops, flyers at libraries, etc. In some areas, volunteers may learn about your Cleanup Site from local newspapers and TV/radio.

4) Let your volunteers know where to assemble, and how to dress in order to avoid injury and overexposure to the sun. They should wear sturdy sneakers or boots, gloves, hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, and BRING WATER. Please let volunteers know that their participation in the cleanup for any length of time is greatly appreciated!

5) You will receive trash bags, Data Cards, pencils, promotional posters, and sign-up forms from Clean Virginia Waterways. Site Captains will also receive a T-Shirt. Give CVW an estimate of how many volunteers you are expecting at your site so we can send the correct amount of supplies. We'll also need your T-shirt size!

Please get to your clean-up site ONE HOUR before the announced start time. Display signs (if deemed necessary) to help volunteers find your "Sign-in Area". Get your supplies ready to hand out to volunteers.

Have with you the supplies you got from CVW:

Trash Bags
Data Cards and Pencils
Volunteer Sign-in Forms (be sure to get all volunteers' names, addresses, phone, and age if under 18)
...and be sure to wear your Site Captain T-Shirt!

Other supplies to have:

First Aid Kit, cell phone
Bug Spray, sunscreen
Bucket or coffee can for dangerous, sharp trash items
Rakes and scissors (optional--but helpful!)
Cooler with sodas/water for team members
Scale to weigh trash (usually standard household kind)
Cameras to take pictures of your team and of any interesting trash you find.
(Please send some of your photos to Clean Virginia Waterways for use in reports.)

Instruct your Volunteers on:

1. Filling out the Data Cards
The data collected on these cards are crucial to the success of this International effort. PLEASE stress the following with your volunteers:

a. Use tick marks ( //// ) to show how many of each item is picked up. Please do not just put a number or words like "many!"
b. Unusual items should be described on the cards. Example: "found one gorilla suit and two mobile phones."

2. REVIEW SAFETY REMINDERS!! (Listed on the Data Card)
ONLY adults should pick up dangerous or sharp trash items! Click here for more SAFETY INFORMATION.

Break volunteers into groups of two, three or four to cleanup and record data. Give one Data Card and one pencil to each group. Send them in different directions. The first few groups of volunteers should only pick up clean, recyclable cans and bottles. These should be bagged separately and then recycled. Each volunteer should take one or two trash bags. Tell volunteers where they should place the trash bags when they are full. At no time should a volunteer be working alone -- they should always be with other volunteers.

When the cleanup is done, estimate the weight of the bags and other debris. Collect all Data Cards and thank your volunteers! Some cleanup events end with a short presentation from a naturalist, biologist, park ranger, teacher or other expert who can help the volunteers understand how their efforts will help the local wildlife and habitat.

What to do with dead animals:

Record them on data cards and leave them where found. List cause of death if it is from entanglement in litter or debris. Try to identify the animal by species (ex: "Black-Backed Gull" rather than "Bird"). If possible, please take photos and send these to Clean Virginia Waterways.

What to do with injured animals:

If found, leave them where they are and notify your local Animal Control office. Or, if your cleanup is in a park, contact the park ranger.

1. Within three days of the cleanup, mail all your completed Data Cards to Clean Virginia Waterways. Use the pre-addressed envelope that will be provided to you from CVW. Also, please fill out the "Captains Report Form" and "Summary Card" and mail them with your Data Cards.

2. If you have photos, please send them within a month to CVW. Digital photos are preferred.

3. Please send a list with addresses/phone numbers of your volunteers (for next year). If anyone showed interest in being a Site Captain for next year, let us know!!

To sign up to be a Site Captain...

...simply call Clean Virginia Waterways (434-395-2602) or send an email to CVW with your name, address, phone number, the site that your group will be cleaning, the cleanup date, and an estimate of how many volunteers you hope to have. Or Click here for a Sign Up Form that you can print out. Please talk to your friends and family across Virginia. Encourage them to volunteer at a cleanup event, or to serve as Site Captain. Thank you for helping make Virginia's Waterways cleaner for everyone!





Get Involved

Rain Barrels & Harvesting Rain Water

Clean Virginia Waterways is a leader in water conservation through the use of rain barrels. More than 160 nonprofit organizations and local governments have been trained by CVW to put on Rain Barrel Workshops in their communities. Tens of thousands rain barrels are deployed across Virginia thanks to CVW and its partners.

Conserve water, reduce runoff & save a bit of money
Drought or no drought, we should all conserve water. Virginia's groundwater and fresh water supplies are limited. As more people are using groundwater, we need to use it responsibly. Rainwater is usually free of dissolved minerals and great for your indoor plants, garden and lawn, washing your car, and your birdbaths.

If your roof's area is 1,200 square feet (30 x 40 feet), then 1 inch of rain equals more than 700 gallons! Harvest this rainwater which otherwise would be lost to runoff. To harvest even more rainwater, connect several barrels in a series and have 100s of gallons of water capacity.

Runoff can cause erosion, plus carry fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals into streams where they are very damaging. Rain barrels help you manage peak storm runoff. If you get your water from the town, why pay to water your gardens when you can collect hundreds of gallons at no cost? Also, if you depend on electricity to run your well pump, water in rain barrels is handy in power outages.

Rain Barrel Workshops
Every spring, CVW works with partners across the state in offering rain barrel workshops. Workshops cover water conservation, how to prevent polluted runoff, the benefits of rain barrels, how to install and maintain a rain barrel, and how to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Send an email to to learn about upcoming workshops. Please put "Rain Barrel Workshop" in the subject line.

Would your organization or park like to co-sponsor a Rain Barrel Workshop with CVW? Call CVW at 434-395-2602 to learn more about workshops and supplies for workshops (barrels, faucet kits, etc.).

How to make a rain barrel from a food-grade barrel: Directions here

Conserve Water

Check out our Rain Barrel page for a great way to conserve water!

Here are other things we can all do to conserve this precious resource:
























































































Other ways to volunteer for Clean Virginia Waterways

Volunteer in the Clean Virginia Waterways' office

We are located on the Longwood University campus in Farmville, Virginia. We could use volunteers to help us with data entry, workshop preparation, research and writing. Contact us if you can help! 434-395-2602.

Contribute to our Balloons Litter Research Project

If you find a balloon anywhere in Virginia or its coastal waters, please let us know. Data collection is the first step to finding solutions! Enter your data here.

Virginia Waterways Cleanup
Part of the International Coastal Cleanup
September 1 through October 31 annually

Sites for the 2014 Virginia Waterways Cleanups (September and October) will soon be registering volunteers! It is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1. Find a cleanup site near you. (2014 cleanup sites will be posted later this summer)

2. Contact the Site Captain to register and get details on where to meet.

3. Show up, cleanup & fill out a data card! Bring some friends & family members too! Your actions = cleaner water!

This annual cleanup of trash and litter in our rivers and on our beaches is part of the International Coastal Cleanup and is the largest event held by Clean Virginia Waterways.

Thousands of volunteers gather along the shorelines of Virginia’s rivers, lakes, bays, and beaches in September and October to cleanup litter and debris, and recycle found items.  They also complete Data Cards, supplied by Ocean Conservancy, to collect valuable information about the amounts and types of litter and debris. Please participate in this statewide and international effort dedicated to cleaning the world’s waterways.

If you would like to be a LEADER of a cleanup, please signup to be a Site Captain or call Clean Virginia Waterways at 434-395-2602, or send an email to


Education Tools

Course for Middle School Teachers: Summer of 2013.
SOLstice: Summer of Learning – Science Teachers Investigating the Chesapeake Environment. This unique and exciting course will bring together university faculty, practicing middle-school teachers, and pre-service middleschool science teachers to work collaboratively as “teacher-researchers.” Taught by Longwood University faculty in conjunction with Clean Virginia Waterways, Longwood University's Hull Springs Farm and other partners.

Virginia's Water Resources—A Tool for Teachers curriculum packet

Virginia-specific! This book is full of information and activities for teachers to support interdisciplinary and problem-based teaching about watersheds, water quality, stewardship, and management issues. It is correlated to Virginia's Standards of Learning (SOL), and supports the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement's goal to "provide a meaningful Bay or stream outdoor experience for every school student in the watershed before graduation from high school."

Virginia's Water Resources—A Tool for Teachers was written by Jeremy M. Lloyd, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Science Education, Longwood University, and Kathleen M. Register, Executive Director of Clean Virginia Waterways. It was developed through a grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment. Click here for the Table of Contents and PDF files you can print.

World Water Monitoring Day -- Virginia-specific guide for educators

The World Water Monitoring Day is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies. Participants sample local water bodies for a core set of water quality parameters including temperature, acidity (pH), clarity (turbidity) and dissolved oxygen (DO). Results are shared with participating communities around the globe. Clean Virginia Waterways worked with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Virginia Water Monitoring Council to create a new Virginia-specific guide for educators thanks to a grant from Altria. This on-line guide will help you plan a safe and educational World Water Monitoring Day event on your school grounds, or in a nearby park.

River and beach cleanups can be integrated into your classwork

Stream, river and beach cleanups can be an important part of a meaningful watershed educational experience. CVW has written "Virginia's Water Resources: A Tool for Teachers" which has several lesson plans that are built around a waterway cleanup. Students can learn about the impact of litter, math and classification skills, graphing and charting skills, and much more based on the data they collect during a cleanup. Your class, school or ecology club can have their own cleanup event in a waterway near your school. The data collected by students can also be sent to CVW for inclusion in our statewide data base. Learn about being a Site Captain.

MORE resources for teachers here!



Your gift to Clean Virginia Waterways will made a difference

Clean Virginia Waterways welcomes in-kind donations as well as financial support! Clean Virginia Waterways has 501(c)(3) status through its affiliation with the Longwood University Foundation. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

In-kind donations

Gloves (cotton, rubber or latex) are especially needed. CVW also can use donations of trashbags, litter pickup tools, water monitoring equipment, copier paper and office supplies. At our larger cleanup events, donations of water and food are appreciated.

Professional Services

CVW welcomes help from public relations, media and fundraising experts.

Make your gift on-line

Secure and safe! To make a donation using MasterCard or Visa, please click here. Be sure to specify that your gift is to support Clean Virginia Waterways. All information is kept in strict confidence and is not sold or distributed to third parties.  

Make your gift by Check

Make your check payable to Longwood University Foundation (CVW) and mail to:
Longwood University Foundation
201 High Street
Farmville, VA 23909

Be sure to write "Clean Virginia Waterways" on the memo line of your check so CVW will be credited with your gift.

Call 434-395-2602 or send an email to for more information on how you or your business can support the work of Clean Virginia Waterways. Thank you!