Countdown to 2025 - A 30th Anniversary Celebration

Countdown to 2025 - A 30th Anniversary Celebration
September 19, 2019 by: Maureen Farrington

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The Countdown to 2025 reception on Monday, September 16, was a spectacular evening!  More than 200 guests mingled at District Wineryand with the gorgeous weather, everyone could enjoy the spectacular views of the Anacostia River from the patio.  Before the main program, we showcased community science efforts with our exhibits, including:

  • Anacostia BioBlitz, City Nature Challenge, Mussel monitoring; Field Guide with AWS's Jorge Bogantes Montero and Capital Nature
  • Trash sorting and reporting wtih AWS's Masaya Maeda
  • iNaturalist with Carrie Seltzer
  • Cricket Crawl with Cathy Stragar
  • FrogWatch with Todd Hettenbach
  • Lights Out DC with Jim Monsma

Our MC Derrick Ward of NBC4 presided over the program, and we heard from Founder Robert Boone, President Jim Foster, and photographer and Anacostia River Advocate Krista Schlyer who presented the new Daniel DiTondo award for Nature Journaling. We are happy to congratulate 3rd and 4th graders, Clara Merrick (Grand Prize), and Zaida Slakey & Liev Dorn (Runners Up).

Many thanks to our Gold Sponsors, Pepco and Monumental Sports and Entertainment!  We would also like to thank all of our corporate, individual, and household sponsors for their support. A swimmable and fishable future for the Anacostia River gets closer everyday with their steadfast help.

Congratulations to our 2019 Anacostia River Heroes!  These individuals were nominated by their colleagues, friends, and neighbors for putting forth extraordinary effort to protect and restore the Anacostia River. Watch the full video about our honorees on youtube by clicking here, or scroll to the bottom of this page under the photo gallery.

Mary Didier, recognized as the Anacostia River Civic Spirit Hero, has played an instrumental role in the Anacostia Watershed Society's #MusselPower program. Despite maintaining a full time job in an unrelated field, she leads volunteers at Heritage and Kingman Islands to assess the role of freshwater mussels in cleaning the Anacostia River. She’s an unsung hero of the Anacostia River and she does her work with an infectious positive energy and extreme kindness.

Roberto Sanchez Perez, Anacostia River Next Generation Hero, joined End Time Harvest Ministries (ETHM) - a longtime AWS partner - in their Pathways to Career Success program in 2014. This work brought him to the Anacostia River, where he also worked with the Town of Colmar Manor and Bladensburg Waterfront Park doing trash cleanups and introducing other teens to the joys of the river and the outdoors. Now a Junior at Bowie State University and Program Coordinator with ETHM, he continues to inspire and lead other teens to love and care for their neighborhoods and river.

Marilou Brooks, Anacostia River Educator of the Year, is a science teacher at Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary. Marilou and her students have been stalwarts of the Rice Rangers and Shad Restoration programs for many years, and she even helped expand the Shad program at her school. Marilou's classroom was also a pilot site for the Anacostia Watershed Society's Mussel project for 2018-19. She has been doing all this, on top of the typical responsibilities of a classroom teacher in Prince George's County. Marilou does all this and she always has a big smile and incredible disposition, despite all the challenges that this level of engagement sometimes will bring on. She works diligently to provide these opportunities to her students, with her passion for science education instilling a sense of stewardship in her students that is unparalelled.

Bruce McNeil, also honored posthumously with a special award, worked for over 30 years documenting the nation’s capitol waterways. His environmental fine art photography of the Anacostia River emphasized the plight of the environment with an innovative outlook for environmentalists, art professionals, policy makers, the media and the general public. Bruce believed that positive imagery can be a means of expression for beauty and spiritual transformation about a serious topic—pollution. The Washington Post dubbed him the "DC River Man". His works are in the collections of the city of Washington, D.C. and the Sandy Spring (MD) Museum, and as installations at the Anacostia Watershed Society and the 11th Street tunnel to Anacostia Park. Bruce passed away in May 2019.

Amy Johnson, honored posthumously with a special award, was one of the first teachers to participate in Anacostia Watershed Society’s teacher training, Rice Rangers program, and River of Words in her role at Cornerstone Community School. Later, at DC Public Schools' Key Elementary, she continued working with AWS through Rice Rangers and the Shad program. In her own words, "While I studied environmental science as an undergraduate, it wasn’t until I took my first group of students with the Anacostia Watershed Society’s boat trip over fourteen years ago and began teaching about our local watersheds that I saw what an impact this type of education can have on our students. It’s science at its best when students can apply what they are learning to real world experiences!" Amy passed away in June 2019 after a 4+ year battle with cancer.


Video and editing by Tim Persinko/Owl Ear Media. Additional video by Jon Lottman/Sustainable Waterfronts Music: Lakeside Walk by Blue Dot Sessions. 2019 Anacostia River Heroes
Maureen Farrington

Maureen Farrington

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