The Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) planned a project to help restore the area beside the Monique Johnson Anacostia River Center which we like to call “Turtle Beach.” It is known as that because of the many water and mud turtles that began to show up in the wetlands. They have a great basking spot among the plants beside our center.
The Anacostia River was once a freshwater tidal marsh, but towards the end of the 1800’s the wetlands were lost due to dredging and the construction of seawalls. Since 1993, the ECC has been planting and maintaining native plants and grasses along Turtle Beach.
This week we got in our waders, grabbed our trowels and got down in the sand to plant 95 wetland plants and grasses. We managed to spot two red-eared sliders basking on a log a few feet into the river. As the tide went out, Unique, a student from Cesar Chavez Public Charter School, discovered a snail slowly moving back towards the water. This caught her interest in the other living creatures found in the river, and she continued to walk in deeper (pictured here). It was great to be a part of a project like this where we can engage students with hands-on work, as well as talk about habitat loss and what we can and are doing to help right here.