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CCAN Polar Bear Plunge Sets Record for Biggest Crowd Taking a Dip to "Keep Winter Cold"

After the hottest year on record, over 340 climate activists from across the DMV took the biggest plunge yet, raising awareness and funds to fight climate change.

National Harbor, MD — On Saturday, February 10, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) 19th Annual Polar Bear Plunge set a new record with more than 340 activists plunging into the Potomac River and other locations to raise awareness and funds for fighting climate change. It took place on a day that was 17 degrees warmer than normal and in the aftermath of the hottest year on record by a wide margin, suggesting heightened awareness of global warming is inspiring more people than ever to take action.  

“Climate change is a big fight, a scary fight,” said University of Maryland President, Daryll J. Pines during a rally before the Plunge. “But I want to tell you that you are not alone… We are the ones we have been looking for. We are committed to the partnership with CCAN, and to building a more sustainable planet.”

Andreana Lin, member of a CCAN volunteer group based in northern Virginia, said that being part of CCAN allows her to “be part of a world that could look past, having food on the table, that could look past the worries of having enough money in their pockets; and could look at something far bigger. Not just the worries of the present, but the hopes and dreams of the future and the next generation.”

Andres Jimenez, CCAN Board Member, Executive Director of Green 2.0, and member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors said, “When things stall at the national level, it’s so important that we look at our backyard and say, ‘How can I change things? How can I make my community better?’”

”There are two reasons we have been so successful. Number one is because all of our supporters donate their precious time, and two: because they donate every year to grow the movement and influence legislators. Because of them, we have made amazing progress, and because of them, I know we will win this fight!“ said Quentin Scott, CCAN Federal Director.

CCAN’s 2024 Polar Bear Plunge sponsors included: Green 2.0, Neighborhood Sun, The Electrical Alliance, US Wind, Rewiring America, MAREC Action, Evergreen Action, and EDF Renewables. 

The need to bring awareness to this cause was underscored recently throughout the Mid-Atlantic, where residents experienced “June in January,” with temperatures reaching the 80s – the highest observed in January since record-keeping began in 1872. This may be why this year’s plunge saw record numbers of participants and volunteers than ever before. 

In addition to over 300 people participating in person, there were also dozens of supporters who sent in videos of themselves taking the plunge in their own neck of the woods. A selection of those videos will be available next week along with photos and videos of the National Harbor event.

This year’s plunge raised over $200,000 in funds that will be used to fight the harsh effects of climate change in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and across the United States. For more information, visit our site:


Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with climate change in the Chesapeake Bay region. For more than 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and beyond.