Clean-up Starts Here! Concerned Youth Partner with Government Agencies in Local River Restoration
Kenilworth Park, Washington, D.C., October 22, 2010—
In response to an urgent call to action by environmental groups and federal agencies that have prioritized efforts to clean-up the Anacostia River, on Friday, October 22nd, Groundwork USA brought 70 youth from communities all across the country to participate in a comprehensive restoration project along the river. These young people were on hand to show their concern by getting involved in trash pick-up by the river, water quality testing, and trail improvement at one of the Anacostia River’s six known “toxic hot spots” near the Eastland Gardens neighborhood of Kenilworth Park. The youth work with Groundwork USA and its growing network of local Trusts in 19 cities and towns across America to revitalize and restore their cities and waterways, and joined Groundwork Anacostia Trust members, other adult leaders and concerned citizens in Groundwork’s watershed service project.
On hand were EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water Mike Shapiro, and David Lloyd, Director for the Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization, who have both served as longtime partners of the Groundwork USA initiative, as well as National Park Service Deputy Director Mickey Fearn, a longtime champion of meaningful youth environmental engagement and hands-on learning. Each senior official spoke alongside several Groundwork USA representatives, Groundwork youth employment program participant Edward Bell, and DC’s Department of the Environment Director Christophe Tolou, to kick-off the 1 p.m. event. At the same time, the EPA celebrated its 40th Anniversary and the agency’s launch of the inter-agency Urban Waters Partnership Initiative with this event.
As a result of strong Federal agency partnership, support for establishing Groundwork was delivered through a unique interagency agreement between the National Park Service Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program and the EPA Brownfields Program. To date, NPS staff has provided ongoing technical assistance and program support to the Groundwork USA Initiative, while EPA has provided funds and technical assistance through its Brownfields Program. This support has catalyzed the establishment of new trusts in distressed environmental communities across the country, all of which face a preponderance of overlapping challenges including environmental, economic, and social justice issues.