AWC has several long-running programs. Creek Cleanup began in 1984 and has continued without interruption--even with Covid-19. Issue response is actually intertwined with the beginning of our annual Creek Cleanups which was encouraged by then-Mayor Tony Knowles in conjunction with Anchorage's public health director, Dr. Rodman Wilson. There was great concern about raw sewage and other pollution in Anchorage's creeks, so cleanups and confronting issues in local creeks and lakes went hand-in-hand.
The Citizens' Environmental Monitoring Program, or CEMP, has been going strong since 1998 with more than 200 volunteer monitors who have spent thousands of hours over the past 24 years testing water quality. Shorty thereafter in 2001, there was a growing awareness of the need to improve the pick up of pet waste--and the Scoop the Poop! campaign began.
In 2008, a couple of years after Last Child in the Woods was being latched onto as a mantra for getting young people into nature, AWC developed its "Creeks as Classrooms" model wherein over thousands of K-12 ASD students have taken part.
While those are the mainstay of AWC's work, more recently we have focused on reducing the impact of monofilament fishing line and lead fishing tackle on birds and wildlife with our fishing line recycling program, and we are now responding to the times with a focus on the impact of Climate Change on local waterways.
One of our biggest challenges that we have undertaken since 2010 is educating on the impacts of stormwater on local waterways. Anchorage is classified as an MS4 city, or Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, which means all rain, snow melt, and yard water is directed into an underground storm sewer system where it is channeled into local creeks and lakes UNTREATED. The result is that "anything on the ground, washes down".