Potomac Riverkeeper accomplishes many things that larger, similar organizations do not. They also communicate their actions and activities much better, more frequently, across more effective media. Somehow they manage to convey an image that suggests both "swift, energetic, and ever present" and also "mature, efficient, and thorough". Donors have no doubt their contributions are applied well to real problems. They've taken action in the upper watershed that was overlooked by other groups (for decades) and followed through with legal action when the polluter ignored a judge's mandate.
Except for the past few years, I have had very little experience in environmental activities. I am a senior citizen, retired teacher and project administrator.
PRK stops pollution by direct confrontation, and if necessary, lawsuits against polluters. Sometimes our precious Potomac needs bold action, and that is us! For example, PRK has lawsuits pending against the largest poultry producers in the Shenandoah Valley. Working with farmers, we have a lighter touch, attempting to persuade them and tap into sources of funding for farm improvements. Closer to DC, we sue sloppy sewage treatment facilities, sue to get better stormwater permitting requirements -- it goes on and on. A lot of organizations talk about cleaner rivers and Bay, but you gotta get down with the polluters and deal with them directly.
Among the many aspects of my very satisfying volunteer relationship with PRK over the past three+ years, I recently had the opportunity to work with a staff member at a local Whole Foods market. On this particular day, this store and two others in the area, was donating 5% of its intake to PRK. I found it very rewarding to thank people for making a donation, some of whom did not realize they were making. I also enjoyed telling people about what we do and why we do it.
I have found Potomac Riverkeeper's staff to be highly dedicated, professional, and energetic. They all realize both the importance of their mission and the many obstacles that impede efforts to improve water quality in the Potomac River watershed. Despite the challenge and operating with limited resources, this team consistently made the most of their opportunities. I have been particularly impressed with their efforts to engage with community members to educate and to get them involved in improving our water quality.
Potomac Riverkeeper is one of the most effective organizations I have been involved with. It has grown from one staffer to seven in a very short time (8 years). I think this is because it has such a powerful mission (stopping pollution of the Potomac and its tributaries) and such a hardworking, smart staff (and board). The organization accomplishes its mission primarily through enforcement, that is monitoring polluters and
I listened to a speech filled with eye-opening facts about the importance of monitoring the Potomac & Shenandoah River watersheds, and how hard-working, everyday, innocent but uninformed people are polluting our waters in hundreds of small ways, but in the aggregate, making our waters impure. Thank you, Andrea Young, PRK board member for your informative message delivered with invitation rather than inflammation. We need PRK!
My first exposure to PRK was when I was recruited to help solicit donations of goods and services for its annual silent and live auction. The first thing that struck me was the recognition and respect I received from each company on the list as soon as I identified myself as a representative of PRK. I often heard that the business in question would do anything it could to help the organization with its mission. And these for me were cold calls -- people I did not know took extra time to tell me how grateful they were for the people at PRK. In terms of working directly with PRK staff and other volunteers, I find them to be bound by a single thread: passion for the beautiful rivers it serves. The sense of stewardship and responsibility to future generations is very inspiring.
The dedication of the incredibly motivated and committed staff and board and membership of PRK and SRK (PRK has purview over both the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers) is unparalleled in my experience. The mission, to keep pollution out of our rivers, sounds simple. But it is an enormous task. PRK believes that all who depend on the waters of the Potomac and Shenandoah for drinking, cleansing, recreating, watering of livestock and crops, and pure aesthetic enjoyment should be able to use this life-giving resource without fear of contamination or danger to one's self or one's loved ones. This organization works tirelessly to both insist on the enforcement of the Clean Water Act as well as to promote the education and encouragement of the community at large. PRK is making a tangible, real-time difference in the lives and health of those using the waters. What I find most exciting, however, is that PRK is not content just to focus on small things, or part of the problem. PRK's goal is to clean up the Potomac and the Shenandoah Rivers. In their entirety. To that end, it is constantly monitoring the rivers and tributaries, constantly educating itself, constantly learning, constantly meeting with stakeholders, constantly reaching out to the public, constantly, vigilantly striving to exceed expectations. It is a distinct honor to be associated with this amazing organization, which truly deserves to be one of the top-rated environmental nonprofits.
I have been moved by what Potomac Riverkeeper has done to clean and educate our community. I would be happy to support in anyway I can!