First, we pray that you and your family are safe and well during these challenging times. We hope that social distancing is perhaps allowing you to slow down a little and enjoy the time with your families. The best defense we have during uncertain times—and to bolster our immune system—is to rely on our community and each other, and to focus on our strengths.
In April, we will mark our 28th year of youth-led environmental action. We have come a long way since we followed a band of teenagers into trash choked waters and joined their seemingly impossible dream of turning America’s most polluted waterway into a River of Hope. Today, a reclaimed Anacostia is a thriving ecosystem, a booming recreational resource, economic engine and the envy of cities around the world. We want to thank you for the generous commitment of time and treasure that has allowed our youth to make that happen by leading over a million hours of citizen volunteer environmental service, engaged the foundation community, the City and Federal governments and the corporate world. But the youth of our community always had twin goals — using a restored river as a path to breaking the cycle of poverty and violence that plagues their daily lives. We are not done, but we believe our simple River of Hope plan will allow us to achieve our other impossible dream.
The Earth Conservation Corps like everyone, is trying to adapt to the challenges of the Coronavirus and our rapidly changing world. The pause in our fee for service programs and Eco Schools classes is creating a financial crunch so we are asking you for a donation to keep our program afloat. Our ask is big, but it’s our reality. We need to raise fifty-thousand dollars to get us to program kick offs in June. Earth Conservation Corps has so many exciting plans, but we need to be able to keep our small staff funded and operational until regular river restoration and environmental education can resume.
Here are a few 2019 highlights:
- Vibrant & Experienced Community Leader, YaVonne Boyd, joined as Executive Director.
- In 2019, Earth Conservation Corps, the DC Affiliate for National Wildlife Federation, kicked off the award-winning Eco-Schools program in Washington, DC. This program model is used all over the world bringing conservation awareness and action to local schools all done on the student level.
- In the fall of 2020, we are planning to bring this program to youth who would greatly benefit from this opportunity, National Guard Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy. The Youth Challenge academy is a residential program that works with 16-18 year-old high school dropouts, providing workforce development and service learning experiences that will give these young people the tools needed to succeed as productive citizens.
- 1,774 people engaged in our raptor experience programs
- 786 children and their families participated in Friday Night Fishing
- Eight corps members completed 3,600 AmeriCorps service hours, while leading 465 volunteers in river restoration service projects
- Thirty-six community youth engaged in our six-week environmental training – DC’s GZEP program.
This summer we plan to continue our environmental training programs that include the DC Department of the Environment’s Green Zone Program, Friday Night Fishing and our very own DC Eco-Camp (engaging youth under 14). We are also expanding programs at our River of Hope “Wings” Campus and continuing to restore the 100-year-old barn into a dynamic raptor education center for our greater community with a focus on serving adjudicated youth.
You have been there for the young people at Earth Conservation Corps for many years. You are part of the phenomenal success that has been achieved through your investment in their future and the Anacostia River. Thank you for considering a gift during this time.
With deepest gratitude,
Bob Nixon John Bridgeland