Active Conservation


Citizen Science

  • ECO-Schools
  • Friday Night Ichthyology
  • Raptor Rescue & Research 

“We fight to save what we love” The Earth Conservation Corps strategy  to restore 'Americas forgotten River" was based on that basic truth. Much of  the simple but fun task of inspiring “Biophilia" by taking  potential volunteers out on the Anacostia River or one of her tributes. Back in the day we often had to share a vision of how beautiful a creek would become once they helped pull out the  rusted cars and shopping carts but the response became a movement. 

Today the Anacostia is rebounding and functioning ecosystem, The  recreational treasure and tremendous economic engine that we envisioned decades ago. It took  a minute but our youth leaders brought the entire community and  Mayors, Govonores, Congresswomen  men and  Senators followed. All  saw the treasure buried under the pollution and they joined us and together we watched  natures restorative power at work. It was magic.

We had hoped we could rest when we got to this point but as we can all see the existential threat of climate change is upon us. The scale is so large that it can overwhelm and make an individual feel powerless. Our youth leaders are bringing the same can do mind set to the climate fight and showing how the restoration of  the natural systems in our back yard  are crucial bulwarks. By strengthening vital natural systems is essential at withstanding the coming stresses.   We revel in  engaging students in the hands on work of restoring  biodiversity because it engages them in an  essential fronts were they can  win battles every day. Now that the shopping carts are out of the river we  turn to engaging a new generation in everything for  bringing  the sturgeon back to   planting  butterfly gardens their school.

Biophilia is the banner of all our environmental education programs. Students  connect with the Anacostia River’s past, present and future and take action to  positive impact the future health of the river by strengthening its biodiversity. A foundational goal of our student engagement, Biophilia, is inspiring all students to become life long conservationists and citizen scientists. The doors we  open may even  lead some to a career in the natural sciences. 

Environmental Leadership

  • AmeriCorps – Serve DC
  • Capital Guardian
  • ECO – Camp

Our  direct impact to the river is a direct result of our empowerment of  our city's young people with real hands-on leadership roles. Our  AmeriCorps programs offer service-learning opportunities, giving our volunteers  real green infrastructure training that can lead to meaningful careers. They also gain soft skill training that gives them tools for their next step in life. Designing and planting a rain garden, leading a group of volunteers in a service project, speaking to a crowd of fifth graders with a bird on your arm, learning how to set goals – these skills build an important foundation for a young person’s future.

Summertime is also a time for growth for our young people. ECC is a partner with DOEE’s GZEP program where we provide real green infrastructure training for young people ages 14-24. Young people design and implement rain gardens for DC properties in need of stormwater management. We are proud to report that our program has received a 90% approval rating from the youth in their evaluations.

Habitat Restoration

  • River Life Expeditions
  • Trash Traps
  • Turtle Beach
  • Urban Forestry
  • Water Quality Monitoring

The Anacostia River is rebounding! It is no longer a dumping ground and even the intractable issue of storm water run off has been tackled though city and federal infrastructure investment. Plastic bottles still remain a tough issue so the Earth Conservation Corps continues to maintain five  trash traps along the river and reguraly collects, sorts counts and weights the different traipses of trash and reports the results to our partners at DDOEE. 

An estimated 90% of the Anacostia’s wetlands have been destroyed. Wetlands are natural filters for a river system and vital for their health. In 1996 the corps discovered that under the Cities “snowplow graveyard" was a remnant unbulkheaded stretch of natural Anacostia r9ver shoreline. Since then. thanks to the generous funding form the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation  we have been working to reclaim then shoreline and restore  of natural wetland in between what is now The Monique Johnson Anacostia River Center and Dimond. Come down and see what nature will do if your give her half a chance. The wetland is booming with ice and Turtle Beach is now a vital remnant nest site for freshwater turtles.