1989Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) was founded.
2004The first broadcast of Endangered Species
2004The once abandoned U.S. Capital Pumphouse was saved by teenage conservationists who inspired and now lead a movement to restore the Anacostia River.
2005ECC was featured on 60 Minutes.
Monique Johnson Anacostia River Center
The Monique Johnson Anacostia River Center is named in honor one of the nine remarkable founding members of the Earth Conservation Corps. Monique Johnson saw the potential in a polluted Anacostia River, in her fellow pioneer Corps members, and in herself. Monique’s work ethic, keen mind, and calm spirit were largely responsible for the first Corps achieving their mission.
Monique understood that few believed a band of black teenagers from Valley Green could possibly be interested in nature let alone make a positive contribution. So every day they waded in what used to be one the most polluted rivers in America to pull out tires, shopping carts and tons of trash. Sometimes when it seemed overwhelming Monique would say,
“You’re not gonna quit… nobody’s watching… but if we stick together and do this, they will see.”
In August of 1992, Monique was murdered on her way with the corps to work in a national wildlife refuge. Those of us who had the privilege of restoring the river alongside Monique dedicate every day of service to her. And yes, look at the river around her River Center today. You were right Mo, people saw and followed.
Thank you, Bob Nixon.
Pioneering Urban Environmentalists
The Earth Conservation Corps Volunteers pictured here define active conservation. Every day wading into the polluted Anacostia in a battle to restore the river they loved. We honor their vision, heart and sweat which launched a movement they would not live to see. Each was a victim of the extreme poverty that continues to permeate inner city America. Most were murdered, two died from fourth world medical care.
Some were less than perfect but each loved nature and had volunteered to improve their corner of the world. As our city embraces the rebounding river let us remember their broader vision called River of Hope. These bright optimistic citizens saw a restored rivers bounty lessening the gap of unemployment and violence in their neighborhoods.
We value the innovative partnerships led by the Mayor, Council Members, The Metropolitan Police Department, The District Department Of Youth Rehabilitation and our many foundation and nonprofit partners engaged with our youth to make River of Hope a reality. Forever young, they will always be our family. Their contributions belong to America. Let us strive to engage the talent and energy of all youth to become part of the solution. They are dying waiting for the opportunity.