Anacostia Watershed Blog

Lee's Travels: Agriculture in China

Hey AWS,

I hope things are going well over there on the other side of the world. They're pretty exciting here in the far west of Inner Mongolia in Alxa. Dr. Michael Zhang and Viola Li have orchestrated an amazing itinerary for us and have been terrific guides since we began in Beijing. I couldn't have asked for better people to hear from or a better way to get a good hard look at China and what they're doing with water.

Lee's Travels: The Gobi Desert

Hey AWS,

I hope all is well on the river back home. I've been away from the internet for a little while so I have a couple of neat things to share and catch up on. A few days ago I traveled from Beijing to Yinchuan and from there crossed into the far western region of inner Mongolia, once again crossing the Great Wall. Out here, the wall is made of sand and packed clay. There is still copious amounts of food available to us, even here in the desert, probably because we continue to be associated with Chinese Government. I have trouble turning down food because I don't want to be rude.

Lee's Travels: The Great Wall & The Nature Conservancy

Hey AWS,

Above is a picture of me after leading my Mongol horde onto the great wall. My Mongols immediately went to the espresso shop at the bottom of the hill, which is why they are not seen in this picture.

Today was a very productive day as we learned how nonprofits operate in China. We visited the Society for Entrepreneurs and Ecology (SEE) and the Nature Conservancy (TNC Beijing office). The SEE has 130 members who are all successful business persons who give more than 100,000 yuen annually. They are sort of like a board for the organization comprised of entrepreneurs from all industries. At the moment, they mainly focus on the desert areas of inner Mongolia where we will visit in a couple of days, however they have visions of international conservation efforts.

Enjoying the Botany of the Watershed

We had our first Native Plant Walk with the Maryland Native Plant Society (MNPS) on Saturday at Fort Dupont Park in SE Washington, DC! Our Conservation Biologist Jorge Bogantes Montero led the event with Mary Pat Rowan (MNPS) a Landscape Architect with extensive knowledge on local native plant species, Pat is particularly passionate about native trees and shrubs. At 10 AM Jorge and Mary started the trip at the park’s Activity Center with an enthusiastic group of four participants eager to learn about the native flora.

Lee's in BEIJING!

As we mentioned in our previous blog entry, AWS Manager of Education Lee Cain is currently in China representing the Chesapeake region as part of a fellowship to conduct a water conservation comparison between the US and China. Be sure to check the AWS Blog as well as Twitter and Facebook for more updates from Lee!

Below is Lee's most recent account of his trip...

Hey AWS,

I've had a pretty amazing trip so far and I've learned quite a lot about what China has been doing with water. I am attaching pictures of me in some recognizable places and below I've written something that you can share on the AWS Blog. I'll try to get a couple more e-mails to you over the next few weeks to keep you updated. The pictures attached are of me entering the forbidden city, me finding the princess in the forbidden city, and me organizing a protest in Tienanmen Square.

Where in the world is Lee Cain? Answer: China!

Lee’s China Trip, for an International Comparison on Water Conservation Efforts

AWS Manager of Education Lee Cain is currently flying across the US on his way to China to conduct a water conservation comparison between the US and China as part of a fellowship.

Twelve US citizens and twelve Chinese citizens have been selected for this exchange program funded by the US State Department and Lee has been selected to represent the Chesapeake region. The Chinese have already visited sites in the US (Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC, Utah, Arizona and California) to study issues ranging from polluted rivers to securing drinking water.

DC Residents: Speak Out for Clean Water and E-mail the EPA by Friday!

Action Alert: Tell the EPA You Want a Clean Water Permit for DC

Dear Friend of the Anacostia,

They’re doing science in our parking lot!

As many of you know, AWS is headquartered at the historic George Washington House in Bladensburg, Md., which is the site of the former Indian Queen Tavern.  The original portion of the building was constructed circa 1760, so we are blessed with big, beautiful brick fireplaces in many of our offices.  As the bicentennial of the War of 1812 approaches, interest in the rich history of Bladensburg is peaking.  Archaeologists from the Maryland State Highway Administration have been conducting digs at many of Bladensburg's historical sites including Bostwick House and now right here at AWS.

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) and the Center for Heritage Resource Studies (CHRS) at the University of Maryland designed the Bladensburg Archaeology Project as a collaborative partnership to investigate the historic resources of the town of Bladensburg, Md. in anticipation of the upcoming War of 1812 Bicentennial.

Garlic Mustard Blitz at Fort Dupont Park!

Steve McKindley-Ward and Jorge Bogantes Montero had a wonderful morning last week in the woods of Fort Dupont Park with an animated volunteer group from St. Albans School (NW Washington, DC). The all-boys school group was presented with a significant Garlic Mustard Challenge along a half mile segment of the Hiker Biker Trail. The 58 volunteers were split up into two subgroups and led through the hilly hardwoods of the park by Steve and Jorge and a “secret” prize was promised for the winning team, which raised some eagerness in the group. The groups raided the trail uprooting all the second year garlic mustard herbs found at the trailside.

Two Rivers Public Charter School Students Help Transplant More Than 2,500 Wild Rice Seedlings

Last Friday, students from Two Rivers Public Charter School helped the AWS education team transplant more than 2,500 wild rice seedlings. The wild rice seedlings had been germinating in a greenhouse for about a week and were ready to be transplanted into their own seed cups. The seedlings are now growing in AWS’s wet beds at Bladensburg Waterfront Park. Later this spring, the AWS education team, with the help of other DC area students, will transplant the seedlings into the marshes of the Anacostia River.

For more information on our Education programs, click here or contact our Education Program Manager Lee Cain at or 301-699-6204.

AWS Educator Ariel Trahan explains the process.