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Friday Focus: Port Tobacco River Conservancy

By Monica Meinert • April 24, 2015

people cleaning up river
In 2001, a small group of Charles County citizens came together to form the Port Tobacco River Conservancy. Today, the organization works tirelessly to return the river and watershed to healthier conditions to protect native species and preserve the river for the next generation. We spoke with the PTRC’s Executive Director, Julie Simpson for this week’s Friday Focus.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A: The Port Tobacco River Conservancy works to protect and restore the Port Tobacco River and its watershed. Our activities include advocating for a cleaner river and healthier watershed at the state and local level, as well as working with businesses, residents, local and state governments and other conservation groups on restoration projects like rain gardens and stream buffers.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: In December, PTRC volunteers planted the 10,000th tree to restore a wetland adjoining the Port Tobacco Creek. This project created a forested buffer that will protect the watershed by filtering pollutants, controlling erosion and providing habitat for wildlife. Volunteers included environmental students from local high schools, boy scouts and PTRC members.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: Providing opportunities for young people to experience and appreciate the natural world. One of our priorities in the coming year will be developing programs to introduce people of all ages to the watershed and what it has to offer, through recreational activities, learning about wildlife, or other experiences.

Q: Are there any upcoming events?


Celebrate La Plata – Saturday, April 25

Join PTRC at the Town of La Plata’s spring festival on the grounds of La Plata Town Hall, 305 Queen Anne St, La Plata MD 20646, from 12:00 to 4:00. We will have demonstrations of rain barrels and rain gardens, as well as activities for kids.

Port Tobacco Market Day – Saturday, May 2

Enjoy artists and vendors, food and drink, and tours of the historic site, from 9:00 to 2:00 at the Port Tobacco Historic Village, 8430 Commerce St., Port Tobacco MD 20677. Don’t forget to visit the PTRC booth!

Touch-A-Truck – Saturday, May 16

PTRC will be participating in the Center for Children’s Touch-a-Truck event from 10:00 to 3:00 at Regency Furniture Stadium, 11765 Saint Linus Dr, Waldorf MD 20602. Bring the kids to touch, learn about and explore trucks, construction vehicles, cars and public safety equipment, and to meet the people who operate them. PTRC will be sponsoring the Fishmobile, the meandering marine menagerie.

ArtsFest – Saturday, June 13

Look for the PTRC booth at this year’s Charles County Arts Alliance ArtsFest from 11:00 to 5:00 on the grounds of La Plata Town Hall, 305 Queen Anne St, La Plata MD 20646. Visual and literary artists will display and sell their works, and performing artists will entertain you. Sample the offerings of food and drink vendors and learn about local nonprofit cultural, historical, heritage and environmental organizations.

Q: How can people get involved with your organization? 

A: Most of our accomplishments are the result of a great group of volunteers. If you would like to help out, contact Julie at jsimpson@porttobaccoriver.org or Krupa at krupa@porttobaccoriver.org.