Earth Conservation Corps understood it was no coincidence the most polluted river in America flowed through communities of color with Washingtons' highest unemployment and crime rates. It was that confluence of environmental and social injustice that drew us to the Anacostia in 1992. We believed neighborhood youth would jump at the chance to reclaim the river in their backyard. We hoped that through the uplifting opportunity of national service and work skills they would gain a fighting chance at a rewarding future.
When talk turns to statistics about our city’s youth, it usually centers on incarceration and crime rates--particularly in neighborhoods of Wards 6, 7, and 8 near the Anacostia River. As we grow this website, we’ll be citing statistics that paint an altogether more promising portrait of the D.C. youth who’ve participated in our program. For example, 95 percent of our 2005–2006 program graduates went on to college or careers.
We will also share a grim reality. The stories of twenty-seven young environmental heroes. Amazing young men and women who died from violence or the extreme poverty that defined their short lives. We press on with the understanding that America remains a work in progress.
For every dollar invested in a Corps member, the city receives more than $3 worth of environmental restoration. . In the 29 years we have been at this Corps members have led over one million hours of hands-on restoration of the Anacostia and inspired a movement.
Since its founding in 1989, Earth Conservation Corps--once the only program of its kind in the nation--is now being replicated around the world and has encouraged more than 24,000 city youth and adults to become environmental educators and leaders.
Our youth honed environmental preservation skills through hands-on initiatives including Bald Eagle Restoration with the Us Fish and Wildlife Service, management training with experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and shad restoration with DC fisheries. Last year Corps members delivered their conservation lessons to more than 2,820 younger children and their families through our ongoing ECO Schools partnership with the National Wildlife Federation and summer programming with D.C. Public Schools.
The surging redevelopment of the Anacostia Waterfront which we helped inspire is in full swing. We look to work with our corporate, foundation and government partners to broaden youth career training through the River of Hope. Launched in 2006 we see it gaining momentum provide 3,000 young people with life, social, and job skills through environmental education and restoration.
Our vision is that every young person in the Corps and throughout Wards 6, 7, and 8 District not only survives, but thrives. Thank you for your commitment to transform young lives through environmental action. You are helping build a legacy that will reverberate for generations to come.
Board of Directors
Sarah Guinan Nixon
Dr. Sylvia Earle
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.