Trash Free Potomac Network - Connecting for a Trash Free Watershed


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What is the difference between a site and an event?

Sites: Sites are the location and details about the area where specific events are happening. It is important to note that a registered site does not get viewed by the public until it is linked to an event. Sites must be linked to every event with the exception of workshop events.

    Example: If you were to lead a Cleanup every so often in the same place, you would register your site in the database one time. Each time you registered a new event (a cleanup), you would link it back to the site so that the information about the site is consistent.

Events: Events are what volunteers and community members view when looking for opportunities in the database. When registering an event you are able to put specific details including the date and the time that are unique to the occasion that you are hosting. Multiple events can be attached to the same site that you registered.

    Example: If you are a VTS monitor at a specific site, each time you monitor and need to report your results, you must create a new event, linking it to the same site. Similarly, each time you host a new Cleanup, you must register it as a new event and link it to the site at which it is taking place. If your Cleanup is at a new location, you will have to create a site before you add the Cleanup event.

What are the different event types?

Visible Trash Survey Monitoring: The Visible Trash Survey (VTS) is an important tool for monitoring the sources and composition of land-based trash in our watershed. The survey involves categorizing and counting visible trash along a 200 foot length along a body of water, road or land, within the confines of the Potomac River watershed. VTS volunteers spend approximately an hour of their time per site and will commit to surveying the area quarterly.

Photo Monitoring: Photo Monitoring is similar to the VTS, but you use your camera or camera-phone instead of physically counting the trash. Submit photos of an area (any size) within the Potomac Watershed that you monitor quarterly. We will compile your submissions and use them to show impairment of the Potomac River Watershed.

Cleanup: A Cleanup is an event where volunteers pick up litter from a designated area. To host your own site you can find a location near you that needs to be cleaned, keeping in mind that it does not need to be near a body of water. Litter from parks and streets eventually end up in our water once it rains.

Workshop: Workshop events are talks, training, meetings, and summits that are related to solving the trash problem within the Potomac Watershed. Be sure to provide as much detail as you can when registering your workshop.

Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup: The Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup has become a decisive catalyst for progress that ignites people throughout the watershed with the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s community spirit. The largest regional event of its kind, the Cleanup provides a transforming experience that engages citizens and community leaders and generates momentum for change. Cleanups registered in the database to be held between March 20th and April 30th will automatically be included as part of the Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup.

What different volunteer opportunities are there?

Volunteering is also a great way to become of a part of the solution with the Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative. Explore our opportunities (each of these listed will link to AFF’s website in new page):

  • Participate in a Cleanup event
  • Host a Cleanup event
  • Participate in a workshop about waste reduction
  • Monitor a trash hotspot
  • Share litter prevention materials to create a Trash Free Community

How do I find a volunteer event near me?

Use the Map:

You can visually search for events near you by clicking on “Map” located in the upper blue menu. Click on the drop pins to learn about the event that is happening at the drop pin’s location. This map will only show upcoming events.

Use the Advanced Search Function:

  • Click on “Search” located in the upper blue menu
  • You can select the criteria that you want to include in your search by checking the boxes next to the search item.
  • Best search results can be obtained by selecting at least two criteria.

To set up email notifications about upcoming events:

  • Fill out the “Advanced Search” form so that it represents the criteria for events you would like to receive notifications about.
  • After the form is filled out, click the orange “Create An Alert” button to the right.
  • Enter your email address and click subscribe. Once you are subscribed you will receive weekly notifications of any newly listed events that fit your search criteria.
  • You can only receive one alert at a time. If you wish to change your alert, just register a new search with the same email and it will automatically update.

How do I register an Event?

Events: Events are what volunteers and community members view when looking for opportunities in the database. When registering an event you are able to put specific details including the date and the time that are unique to the occasion that you are hosting. Multiple events can be attached to the same site that you registered.

    Example: If you are a VTS monitor at a specific site, each time you monitor and need to report your results, you must create a new event, linking it to the same site. Similarly, each time you host a new Cleanup, you must register it as a new event and link it to the site at which it is taking place. If your Cleanup is at a new location, you will have to create a site before you add the Cleanup event.

Instructions:

  • Unless your event is a workshop event, you must first register the site where the event is taking place.
  • If you have not registered your site or are hosting an event at a new site please click on “Sites” on the top menu and register your site first.
  • If the event is happening at a site that you have used before, you can link the new event up to the same site and do not need to register the site again.
  • Click on “Create Event” and follow the directions to add an event. Make sure to select which type of event you are registering when prompted.
  • Once registered, your events will appear in the list below indicating they are registered. At this point your event will be visible to the public.
  • After your register, you have the ability to edit your event using the “update” button to make sure that your event has the most current and accurate information. You must be logged in to manage your events.
  • As a reminder, all cleanup events that are registered between March 20th and April 30th will be included as part of the Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup.

How do I find GPS Coordinates for a Site I am registering?

All GPS coordinates must be reported in decimal degree format (ex. 38.932342, -77.053907)

To find coordinates using Map Quest:

  • Go to www.mapquest.com
  • Find the location of your site by typing in the address or using the zoom function.
  • Right click the map at the location of the site.
  • The approximate address and GPS coordinates will show up in a dialogue box.

To find coordinates using Google Maps:

  • Go to maps.google.com
  • Click on “Maps Labs,” which can be found on the bottom left corner of the page above the copy right information.
  • Scroll down until you find the “LatLng Marker” lab and click “enable.”
  • After you have enabled the lab. Find the location of your site by typing in the address or using the zoom function.
  • Right click the map at the location of the site and a dialogue box will appear.
  • In the dialogue box, click “Drop LatLng Marker.”
  • A pin will drop revealing the coordinates of your site.

How do I find my site’s watershed?

To find your site's watershed, click on this map of sub watersheds within the Potomac Watershed.

How do I lead a Cleanup?

Please make sure to visit the site leader center in order to have a safe and effective cleanup.

How do I become a VTS or Photo Monitor?

We invite you to join the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s revolutionary Trash Team. We need help tracking the litter in the watershed. We have made great progress in the past few years, but we still have work to do. In order to reach our goal of a trash free Potomac Watershed, we need your help documenting the ongoing litter problem in the Potomac Watershed.

    Become a Visible Trash Survey (VTS) Monitor: The Visible Trash Survey (VTS) is an important tool for monitoring the sources and composition of land-based trash in our watershed. The survey involves categorizing and counting visible trash along a 200 foot length along a body of water, road or land, within the confines of the Potomac River watershed. VTS volunteers spend approximately an hour of their time per site and will commit to surveying the area quarterly.

    Become a Photo Monitoring Volunteer: Similar to the VTS, but use your camera or camera-phone instead of physically counting. Submit photos of an area (any size) within the Potomac Watershed that you monitor quarterly. We will compile your submissions and use them to show impairment of the Potomac River Watershed.

How do I edit information for a site or event I have registered?

Once you have registered a site or an event, you are able to edit them when you are logged in.

To edit:

  • Click on the “update” button to the rights of the event or site you wish to edit (“update” button is in the “Actions” column).
  • Edit the information that you would like to be changed and remember to press “save” when you are finished.
  • If you decide that you do not want to edit you entry after clicking the “update” button, click “cancel” and no changes will be saved.

How do I report results from a Cleanup, VTS or Photo Monitoring Event?

Once you are logged in, you can report results for your event.

  • Click on the “results” button to the right of the event you wish to report results for (“results” button is in the “Actions” column)
  • Fill in all of the information that is asked for in the results form
  • Remember to save your entry when you are finished and remember that you can edit your results at any time.

How do I view past results from events I hosted and reported?

View results from a specific event:

Once you are logged in, you can view results from past events you hosted by clicking on the “results” button to the right of the event you wish to see results for (“results” button is in the “Actions” column).

Compare all of your event results that are from the same site:

  • When viewing your site list, click on the “events” button to the right of the site you wish to see results from for (“events” button is in the “Actions” column).
  • A list of the events you hosted for that site will appear
  • Click on the “results” button to the right of the event you wish to see results for (“results” button is in the “Actions” column).

I was a site leader in the past for the Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, how do I recover the past site information from the old database?

As a site leader, you may be wondering what happened to your old site information and cleanup results from the old database.  All of this data has been transferred to the Network and can be transferred to your event leader account by following the directions below.
  1. Once you are registered as an event leader, email Alena Rosen at arosen@fergusonfoundation.org, the following information:
    • Your full name and the email address you used to register
    • The username that you chose
    • The name of your site/s from the past years (since 2007), being as specific as possible.
  2. After receiving the correct information, we will be able to transfer the site information including past results over to your account.
  3. Be sure to carefully read the directions for each site so that you can insure that your future cleanup events are registered properly.

I was a site leader in the past for the Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, how do I recover the past site data and results from the old database?

As a site leader, you may be wondering what happened to your old site information and cleanup results from the old database.  All of this data has been transferred to the Network and can be transferred to your event leader account by following the directions below.
  1. Once you are registered as an event leader, email Alena Rosen at arosen@fergusonfoundation.org, the following information:
    • Your full name and the email address you used to register
    • The username that you chose
    • The name of your site/s from the past years (since 2007), being as specific as possible.
  2. After receiving the correct information, we will be able to transfer the site information including past results over to your account.
  3. Be sure to carefully read the directions for each site so that you can insure that your future cleanup events are registered properly.

How do I get cleanup results from sites that are not my own?

How do I get cleanup results from sites that are not my own?