Anacostia Watershed Blog

AWS Educators to Hold Rice Rangers Teacher Training Tomorrow

Anacostia Watershed Society Environmental Educators Lee Cain, Ariel Trahan and Wendy Van Norden have been working hard this week to prepare for the Rice Rangers Teacher Training that will be held at AWS and Kenilworth Marsh tomorrow, March 5th.  Selected teachers from both Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland as well as the District of Columbia are scheduled to attend the training.  The teachers will learn how to grow wetland plants from seed in their classrooms, discover wetland-related lessons to use with their students, and gain knowledge about the history of the Anacostia Watershed.  In the afternoon, teachers will complete a hands-on project in the marsh to prepare for their students' upcoming wetland plantings.  In May and June 2011, they will revisit the site with their classes to plant the wetland plants they grow in their classrooms!

Escape from the Nethermost Bottom

Pat Gladding and Masaya Maeda of the Anacostia Watershed Society strolled around the ball park in Colmar Manor, Md. in February 2011.  Near the ball park, there is a series of sediment ponds that receives dredged sediment to cleanse the water.  We were checking the dredging activity to see if it is being operated properly or not.  Then we found something interesting – white dots in the dredged sediment.


White dots can be seen in the dredged sediment
(Click for a large photo)


Collection of Zoom-in Photos
(Click for a large photo)

Northwest Branch Cleanup with Pick Up America

February 27, 2011 AWS partnered with Pick Up America to clean up a particularly trashed section of the Northwest Branch near the West Hyattsville Metro Station.  The area is subject to heavy foot traffic, over the fence dumping by businesses, and trash deposition by high water during rain events.

Pick Up America is amazing group of people who are walking across America picking up trash and educating about a zero waste economy.  Organized by University of Maryland students who feel a connection to that school's home watershed of the Anacostia, AWS is proud to support their work.  Here is an excerpt of their thoughts on our Northwest Branch cleanup.

Green Power Night at Joe's Movement Emporium

Last Thursday AWS participated in a community forum in Mt. Rainier, MD, centered around ways people can go greener at home.  We were proud to join Clean Currents, the Protect Our Planet Corn Heating Cooperative, and the Anacostia's Mayor, the Honorable Adam Ortiz of Edmonston, MD.

Busy Beavers Flood Local Parking Lot


Flooded parking lot at Magruder Park in Hyattsville, Md.

Recently, some beavers have been busy building a large dam in Magruder Park.  There is significant evidence of beaver activity along the back edge of the parking lot.  The beavers have felled many trees and created a large dam causing the parking lot to flood.


Beaver dam at Magruder Park.

Beavers are second only to humans in their ability to change their surrounding environment. They create dams to transform fields or forests (or in this case a parking lot!) into wetlands.  The large ponds that they create also provide habitat for other animals, such as the Mallard Ducks seen flying in the photo below.

Meet the AWS Stewardship Team

Maybe you've met one of us at a volunteer event, or maybe you've just seen us saving the world from afar. Either way, let me take this opportunity to reintroduce you to your AWS Stewardship Team.

AWS Stewardship Team

Before we get into the details, let's clear something up for the uninitiated; what does stewardship even mean?  In our case it means showcasing examples of how to coexist and contribute to a healthy river through our projects and programming.  At the end of the day, our mission as a team is to expose an ever increasing number of people to the challenges and opportunities that individuals in our watershed can tackle on their own, or with a little planning and collective effort.  

So, without further ado, let's meet the team (L to R from photo above):

Greening the Empire State Building Lecture

On Wednesday evening we brought in Frank Mobilio, Associate Director/Vice President in the Project and Development Services Group in the Washington, DC office of Jones Lang LaSalle, to share his experiences and involvement with the recent green renovations at the Empire State Building as part of our ongoing AWS Lecture Series.

The Empire State Building project has a very interesting website featuring an interactive puzzle and information about their new energy efficient features and technology (http://esbsustainability.com).  Frank also explained how some of these techniques could be translated to your own home or office. 

Upcoming Restoration Projects

Starting this month the Anacostia Watershed Society will be involved in two restoration projects, both of which are being funded by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  The Anacostia Riparian Meadow Restoration (ARMR) project, awarded at $21,000, is to be implemented in Hyattsville, Md. along the northern streambank of the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River (see photo below).  The goal of this project is to establish native grasses in the area for better management of plant communities on the floodway.  Non-native invasive plants currently inhabit the project site and are very problematic; once they start growing in an area they reproduce quickly, destroy native plants, and decrease the habitat quality for other biota.  The first year of ARMR will be dedicated to removing invasive plants and woody vegetation and planting native seeds.  AWS hopes to engage at least 100 volunteers to help make this project a success.

AWS to present at MAEOE conference tomorrow

Lee Cain, AWS's Director of Education Programs, will be presenting at the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE) conference tomorrow in College Park, Md.  He will discuss how educators can become involved in the National Capital Region Watershed Stewards Academy (NCR-WSA) and explain how they can apply concepts from its curriculum into their lessons. 

Good Jobs, Green Jobs: Reflecting on Youth Engagement

This past week, I had the fantastic opportunity of attending the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference in Washington, DC.  On Tuesday, I attended a session about connecting urban youth to careers in the Green Economy.  Kids living in urban areas like DC and Baltimore rarely get the chance to appreciate and experience the great outdoors, and therefore don’t always understand the critical need to protect it.  In urban settings with high crime rates and a high percentage of people living under the poverty line, it’s extremely difficult to put renewable energy, organic food, and environmentalism on the top of the priority list.  The workshop gave me an opportunity to hear from six youth in the MillionTrees Training Program in NYC.

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