My husband and I have volunteered with Rock Creek Conservancy extensively since 2009, on trash cleanups, committees, and English ivy pulls. While we fully support removing trash from our parks, they need so much more, and we were excited to see the organization start to work on stormwater and invasive species removal with the Park Service and others. But after the first Executive Director left in 2015, the organization seems to have abandoned many of its initiatives and let others drift. It gave up on its steady work on English ivy, doesn't do much with most of its stream teams aside from trash cleanups (with a few exceptions), has not been active in stormwater outreach, and seems content to raise money and do the minimum to get attention. We just don't see it in the parks very much anymore. Rock Creek Conservancy used to be a workhorse organization; now with a much larger budget and staff, it is more of a showhorse. We still volunteer to help clean trash, but would love to see another non-profit step in and take aggressive action to protect and restore our beloved Rock Creek Parks. Rock Creek Conservancy is no longer that organization.
Rock Creek Conservancy has been a pleasure to work with and is eager to support the youth in DC get greater access to the parks.
My family loves volunteering with Rock Creek Conservancy. Their events are well organized and responsible and allow us to get our kids out into the parks to really make a difference. All of the staff members we have encountered have been well educated and professional. We think this organization is right on target with its combination of involving the community in the stewardship of this important watershed.
Rock Creek Conservancy could have been a great non-profit. It had an engaged board, a small but growing base of volunteers, and excellent staff and leadership. But like many small organizations that are trying to grow, it has lost its way. The best of board is moving on, its longtime Executive Director left in autumn 2013, and now the organization is focusing most of its efforts on public relations and fundraising in an effort to get big as fast as possible. Bigger can be better, but not when it comes at the cost of effectiveness. Rock Creek's ecological health is declining but this non-profit has few answers. If you live in DC or Montgomery County and are concerned about the health of Rock Creek, your generosity is best directed elsewhere.
The Conservancy started 6 years ago as Friends of Rock Creek's Environment and changed its name and mission in 2011. It now advocates for Rock Creek, Rock Creek Park in DC, and the string of parks surrounding Rock Creek in Montgomery County. It is the only organization in the region that is focusing primarily on a healthy creek and parks.
Review from Guidestar
Rock Creek Conservancy mobilizes thousands of volunteers each year, including its board members. I know my board leadership is helping to shape this organization, but it's also making sure Rock Creek remains a healthy and accessible resource for our community. Through development of our new strategic plan this year, we are listening to the community and making careful decisions about how the Conservancy can most effectively improve the waters, parks, and lands of Rock Creek. By working with partners, we don't have to do everything--we can focus on what we do best!
Rock Creek Conservancy is an excellent, evolving organization with something to offer park lovers, volunteers, recreationists, and neighbors. I strongly encourage everyone to check out the Conservancy and get involved!
I live in Northwest DC, near a Rock Creek Tributary, Soapstone Creek. I love the outdoors and enjoy being able to walk across Connecticut Avenue and find myself in a beautiful, quiet forest filled with birds, sunlight and a babbling stream. By working on the board of Rock Creek Conservancy, I have been able to play a personal role in improving Soapstone Creek and other sections of Rock Creek, through trash cleanups, removal of vines that are destroying trees, and educating neighbors about what they can do to reduce pollution. Rock Creek Conservancy is the only organization working on the entire length of Rock Creek, from its origins in Montogomery County to its mouth near the Kennedy Center in DC. The Creek is a precious but neglected natural resource for all the residents of the DC Metropolitan Area, but lacks a strong cadre of residents dedicated to its restoration and enhancement. Rock Creek Conservancy is working to build an army of neighborhood "Stream Teams" to protect and enhance Rock Creek, but the organization is still very small and lacks the necessary staff and funding to make the kind of impact that is needed. Neverthless, Rock Creek Conservancy is off to a good start and mobilized over 2,000 volunteers in early April for its Annual EXTREME Cleanup at more than 60 locations along the Creek!
Rock Creek Conservancy launched a stream team program that has successfully recruited and engaged over 60 stream teams that have adopted sections of the creek and its tributaries. The grass roots power of this army of volunteers and advocates is simply amazing. The teams participate in cleaning up trash, removing invasive weeds, planting trees and more.
Having admired the wonderful volunteer network that Rock Creek Conservancy developed for organizing cleanup work along the creek and the adjacent parkland, I joined the board last year. For a small newish group it is extremely well run, with formal procedures for educating new board members, well-organized committees, and tightly run meetings, that also are enjoyable. The potential for helping defend and improve Rock Creek, and for using Rock Creek to educate and exercise and entertain the residents of the Washington metropolitan area, is so great, that the Conservancy is expanding rapidly. We are working on a new strategic plan to determine our priorities for work over the next 5 to 10 years. Meanwhile, the current intern ran a wonderfully well organized Extreme Cleanup this month, and my team collected 28 bags of flood debris and over a ton of branches, which the Park service hauled away promptly. I was certainly impressed.
Review from Guidestar
Rock Creek Conservancy is the only organization focused on the entire watershed, from the headwaters in Montgomery County until it empties into the Potomac near Georgetown. RCC focuses on stormwater control to limit the water erroding and polluting the creek. Also, RCC volunteers remove invasive species, create habitat and participate in a huge cleanup every April.