(202) 650-5651 hello@groundworkdc.org


Dennis Chestnut
(202) 506-3867

Groundwork Anacostia River DC Invites the Public and Environmental Partners to a Launch Event and Open House

A newcomer to Washington, D.C’s grassroots environmental movement, GWARDC aims to reconnect residents to their neighborhoods’ environmental assets, including parks, open spaces, and the Anacostia River and its tributaries

WASHINGTON—May 12, 2011—On Thursday, May 19, Groundwork Anacostia River DC (GWARDC) will host the public at a ceremony and open house celebrating its launch as a new organization at the forefront of Washington, D.C.’s grassroots environmental movement. GWARDC is part of Groundwork USA, a network of organizations in places across the country that boost community development through environmental stewardship. Based in Ward 7, GWARDC focuses its work on cleaning up the Anacostia watershed, reclaiming the vacant and derelict lands for conservation, recreation, and economic development.

“Groundwork Anacostia has, in its short existence, made great strides already in turning the Anacostia River and its surroundings into enjoyable, recreational spaces for east of the river residents,” said Dennis Chestnut, GWARDC’s Executive Director. “We’re excited to have received such support from our neighbors, as well as from our federal and local partners. We really want everyone to come out and see what we’ve been up to, and see how you might be able to join the effort as well.”

The launch will begin at 2 p.m. at the Dorothy I. Height/Benning Library, located at 3935 Benning Road NE. Mr. Chestnut, as well as Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Assistant Administrator Mike Shapiro, National Park Service Deputy Director Mickey Fearn, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ward 7 Councilwoman Yvette Alexander, and Mayor Vincent Gray are scheduled to speak.

Following the remarks, GWARDC invites guests to a reception and a tour of its office in the Center for Green Urbanism, located at 3938 Benning Road NE. GWARDC encourages taking the Metro to the Minnesota Avenue stop, just three blocks from the event location, though parking will be available behind the Benning Library. The reception and open house will continue until 8 p.m.

GWARDC was conceptualized in 2007 when a group of neighbors in communities located east of the Anacostia River decided to organize their efforts to improve the river, its tributaries and green spaces for community benefit. In 2009, the group was approved to become a Groundwork USA member, or trust. Groundwork trusts are non-profits established across the United States in places that have experienced decades of decline in their physical and social environments, with the goal of awakening these neighborhoods’ potential by working with communities to improve their physical environment. GWARDC has been strategizing and further organizing for over a year, and the upcoming launch event celebrates its viability in the district and as part of a national organization.

Some of GWARDC’s projects include:

· New Deanwood Learning Garden: In partnership with Parson’s New School for Design, GWARDC is developing the Deanwood Learning Garden at 48th Street and Sheriff Road N.E. in Ward 7. Parson’s is building 2 solar homes and Groundwork will be working with the families who are selected to live in the new homes on how to live in a “Net-Zero” home. The new Deanwood Learning Garden is an outgrowth of this partnership and is the 3rd community garden developed by GWARDC in Ward 7.

· Fort Mahan Trail Connector: A part of the Civil War defense systems of the National Park Services’ Fort Circle Parks, the Fort Mahan Trail Connector is in the heart of an urban neighborhood. GWARDC partnered with National Park Service-East to improve the trail connector’s grounds with low-impact development, improved trail ground cover, and safety measures.

· One Yard of Garden: Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program and sponsored by the University of the District of Columbia’s Cooperative Extension Service, GWARDC works with residents to give them the tools to become urban gardeners focused on creating environmentally-friendly yard environments that abandon traditional “Industrial Lawn” practices, utilizing yards to grow specialty crops, and supporting healthy eating and cooking options and practices. This program is especially useful in the GWARDC’s service area because of being under-served by groceries and healthy food options.

· Green Team: The Green Team is one of Groundwork USA’s signature programs. Aimed at young adults, the participants receive instruction in conservation, environmental restoration, watershed restoration, park and trail management, community outreach and engagement, cultural enrichment.

To learn more about GWARDC, visit www.groundworkdc.org, or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/GWARDC-Groundwork-Anacostia-River-DC/192108237910.