WATERSHED: "That area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community."
- John Wesley Powell
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Our nation’s capital casts a long shadow. Just a few miles from the Mall – famous for the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and Washington Monument – lies a troubled world that bears little resemblance to these iconic representations of democracy. No mobs of tourists throng the streets snapping photos there. Few world leaders ever visit.
Anacostia, in southeast Washington, D.C., is famous for entirely different reasons. It has one of the highest murder rates in the world. And its river is one of the most polluted in the country.
In this dark landscape, home to so much violence to nature and
Washington, D.C. has been my home for many years. It is where my foundation is headquartered, where my family resides. It is also home to members of the Earth Conservation Corps, a service organization that teaches at-risk teenagers and young adults from the poorest, most violent neighborhoods to clean up their local Anacostia River – and their lives.
Corps members come to intimately understand through their ten months of service, environmental education, and job skills training that saving the planet isn’t just about furthering some liberal “environmentalist” agenda.
The final stop on our 17,100 mile journey across North America, visiting the Potomac River gave us the chance to reconnect with the watershed we call home. This story, about the river which runs through our nation's capital—and through Blue Legacy's own backyard—really speaks to who we are and the work we do with local water keepers. The Potomac is the lifeblood of this region and a constant reminder of the challenges we will face in the future.
It was not so long ago that the river was called a “national disgrace.” While advancements have been made to partially restore its health and