Pope Francis Visits Anacostia Watershed

From Capitol Hill to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception,
significant part of Pope’s historic visit takes place within
the Anacostia River watershed

Bladensburg, MD September 22, 2015 – As the Washington DC community welcomed Pope Francis, the Anacostia Watershed Society and its faith partners celebrated continued progress toward the goal of a swimmable and fishable Anacostia River by 2025.

With his June 2015 Encyclical, the Pope focused attention on climate change, and the importance of restoring our “common home.” In the Anacostia River watershed, a broad range of faith groups were already hard at work restoring our common home -- the Anacostia River. “We welcome the Pope to the Anacostia, where the faith community is leading the restoration of the River,” said Jim Foster, President of the Anacostia Watershed Society. “We are inspired by their leadership in helping reach the goal of a swimmable and fishable Anacostia River by 2025.”

Among the faith community leaders of the Anacostia restoration effort are:

  • End Time Harvest Ministries (ETHM) have worked closely with AWS to engage young people in the restoration of the Anacostia River, creating the next generation of stewards who will protect the river.
  • Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg helped pilot the Junior Watershed Stewards Academy for AWS, equipping students with the knowledge and skills to implement stormwater solutions on their schoolyard. “The Holy Father calls us to be better stewards of God’s creation, and we’re developing the leadership skills that will equip our young women to meet the challenges of the 21st Century,” said Sister Ellen Marie Hagar, President of Elizabeth Seton High School.
  • First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville has partnered with Anacostia Watershed Society to restore their entire landscape, using rain gardens, native plants and other features to capture and treat 2 million gallons of storm water a year, preventing it from channeling pollutants into the Anacostia River.

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