Friday, April 24, 2015

CAUSES, UDC 4-H participate in first ever Anacostia River Festival

by Arielle Gerstein
The first ever Anacostia River Festival took place on Sunday, April 12th from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. This Festival was a partnership between the National Park Service, the 11th Street Bridge Park and the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  Approximately 5,000 to 6,000 were in attendance throughout the day. The event focused on Historic Anacostia and why the Anacostia River is important to the Washington, DC community.  

UDC CAUSES was a partner in the festival to support the 11th Street Bridge Project. CAUSES’ activities showcased the intersection between water and food production. 

"It's very important for the Center for Sustainable Development to participate in educational activities to engage the community and foster relationships with like-minded partners," explained Dr. Dwane Jones, the Center's director. 

"This particular agroecology activity was important to actually convey how food is produced and the water it takes to produce rice, beef and tomatoes," explained Dr. Lorraine Weller-Clarke, project specialist, CAUSES Center for Urban Agriculture. "There is a lot of disconnect because people don't understand the source of the food and only know the end product."

Activities included an aquaponics display with Hugo the Betta fish, how much water does it take to produce that food? Guessing game, and making rain activity with the Brightwood Education Campus 4-H Club. 

"Teaching is harder than it looks," stated Danica, one of the CSD students volunteering at the event. The miniature aquaponics display was helpful to be able to take what they learn in the classroom and explain to a more general audience.

Historic Anacostia is often an overlooked neighborhood for events and tourists so this festival introduced many DMV residents to the river, the Anacostia arts and music scene as well as the local restaurants. Event-goers had the opportunity to canoe on the river and participate in a bike ride. The more residents that learn about the pollution problems in the river and the time, resources and research government and non-profit organizations are putting in to make the river cleaner, the more likely the river will be swimmable and fishable by 2032, one of the main goals of the Sustainable DC Plan.  

Special thanks to the 4-H students from the Brightwood Education Campus 4-H Club, who participated in the event (pictured below with 4-H extension agent, Diego Lahaye). The students are: 
  • Roberto Vivas
  • Syam Seid
  • Paola Hernandez
  • Frank Mbalale
  • Wilfredo Jimenez

"By showing people this science experiment, we are showing people that they can do it, too," explained Roberto, one of the 4-H youth on hand for the day.

"It's important for the 4-H students to participate because they get to practice their science while also enhancing their leadership skills by interacting with the community," said Diego Lahaye.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the festival and stopped by our tent! Additional photos from the event are available on the CAUSES Facebook page. The event was also covered by WJLA ABC 7

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