Leading extreme conservation and fighting for environmental justice since 1992

A letter from Founding Earth Conservation Corpsmember, Rodney Stotts

The Earth Conservation Corps was launched in April 1992 by nine teenagers living in Valley Green public housing community in ward eight. The seven young men and two women understood it was no coincidence the most polluted river in America flowed through communities of color with Washingtons' highest unemployment and crime rates. But each individual was empowered by the knowledge that the garbage choked River and  National Park Land with the omnipresent 'No Trespassing' signs belonged to them. That America's first civil rights battles were fought over access to public parks. 

The Corps became a remarkable team of committed naturalists too busy making a difference to see that something else was happening. Others began to notice these mud caked teenagers pulling mountains of trash out of the Anacostia. Citizens and elected officials were finding their way to the forgotten river, asking for waders and joining the cause of restoring Anacostia. One began to hear the term Environmental racism. 

My name is Rodney Stotts. Twenty nine years ago I was one of those teenagers who launched the Earth Conservation Corps. Yes, we did did launch a movement. A rebounding river now supports five bald eagle pairs and everybody wants to live by the river. We will also share a heartbreaking reality.  Across those years we buried twenty-seven environmental heroes across those years. Amazing young men and women who died from violence or the extreme poverty that defined their short lives and remain power undertows. I press on with the understanding that America remains a work in progress. But above all, it is the joy I when I show a child one of my birds and see their eyes light up. 

Rodney Stotts

Named Heroes For The Planet

Presented by Pierce Brosnan for National Geographic

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In tribute to our founding Corps 

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 Corps members 'hacking" juvenile Bald Eagles at the National Arboretum in 1995. The bold experiment leads to the Bald Eagle returning to nest in  the nation's capital after an absence of 50 years.

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We focus worldwide attention to environmental racism.

Dr. Dian Fossey
Dr. Dian Fossey's  active conservation  message   "It's not talking about conservation - it's action. Conservation begins with the boots on your feet" is our guiding principal.  We are inspired by her for her tireless battle to save the mountain gorilla from extinction. 
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