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2000 Half Street SW

Washington, DC 20024


Bringing together PEPCO, the National Park Service, Mayor Anthony Williams and DHCD led to the adaptive reuse of a second pump house. Washington’s first Brownfield grant fueled the engineers of the U.S. Navy Seabees who transformed a forgotten triangle of National Park from a dump into a living laboratory now known as the Matthew Henson Earth Conservation Center. At this center is where the River of Hope blazed the trail once again by installing the first green roof in the District of Columbia and paving the way for the countless others that followed. Thousands of youth have gained job skills through the programs inside the Henson and the outdoor classroom in Henson Park (River Walk, green roof, rain gardens, trail, Guns to Roses) and many are now employed adults.

The Matthew Henson Center is home to our Wildlife Tracking, Species Reintroduction & Raptor Ambassadors. 


Named after Matthew Henson, the American explorer who accompanied Robert Peary on seven voyages to the Arctic, claimed to be the first person to reach the geographic North Pole but was not recognized for his achievement because of his race.

To watch a brief National Geographic video explaining the life of Matthew Henson...

Wildlife Tracking, Species Reintroduction & Raptor Hospital 

Renovating Our Living Laboratory and next up, our Raptor Hospital:

Corpsmembers will also engage in wildlife tracking at the Matthew Henson Earth Conservation Center in addition to our plan for a fully established Raptor Hospital. As PEPCO has agreed to help renovate our center again, the River of Hope Partnership will assist our corpsmembers to further assess the impacts of climate change through wildlife data collection and analysis as well as the potential for other hands-on STEAM based opportunities on the river with our in-building fish hatcheries for native species reintroduction (including Sturgeon reintroduction) and further ecological monitoring with our U.S. Geological Survey Monitoring Station; and with our Raptor Research & Conservation. To meet our birds that reside on our rooftop aviary at the Matthew Henson Center, Click Here.

Additional Programs

Additional River of Hope Partnership programs held at the Matthew Henson Earth Conservation Center include Guns To Roses as well as Wood From The Hood which both provide hands-on skills training. Guns to Roses welds guns into Osprey nest platforms (as seen around Washington, D.C. and monitored by cameras with a global audience) and Wood from the Hood teaches basic woodworking and carpentry skills through building bird and bat houses with repurposed wood that is locally sourced and would otherwise be discarded.

Henson the Heron, a sustainably made art installation right outside the Matthew Henson Center created by Earth Conservation Corpsmembers collecting & repurposing Anacostia River trash.

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