Category Archives: NEWS MEDIA

ANS Testifies on Proposed Beltway Expansion

ANS TESTIMONY TO MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION (MDOT SHA)

Audubon Naturalist Society’s testimony to Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on the I-495/I-270 Managed Lanes Study Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement.1 

Denisse Guitarra
Maryland Conservation Advocate, Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) 

November 1, 2021

Dear MDOT SHA and FHWA,  

For 124 years, the Audubon Naturalist Society has inspired people to enjoy, learn about and protect nature. ANS demands that last year’s DEIS “No Build” option still remains as the preferred alternative, as the SDEIS still lacks complete studies on environmental justice, climate change, wildlife, and waterways impact, and fails to include transit alternatives. The Managed Lanes highway expansion project pushes far beyond the climate constraints people and the environment are currently experiencing today. The United Nations IPCC report2 released earlier this year makes it clear – we have no time left to get ourselves off of fossil fuels and save as much of our planet as possible.  Maryland and Virginia need a more equitable, transit, and climate-friendly solution to solve our traffic congestion problems. We need excellent transit and not an inch more of car-coddling pavement. ANS demands that MDOT SHA and FHWA do not move forward with the project’s “Preferred Alternative” option.  

The preferred alternative would negatively impact people’s lives and wellbeing. On Chapter 4 of the SDEIS, it mentions that 501 properties would be impacted by the project, the majority of these being residential properties.3  Even more alarming, the SDEIS does not provide details on how communities, especially POC communities, would be impacted by the new bottlenecks on I-270 beyond its intersection with I-370. Equally disturbing, the SDEIS fails to include a complete study of the overall cumulative impacts the project will have on people. Under our four concurrent public health, climate, economic, and social crises, it does not make sense to add more air-polluting lanes. 

Moreover, the preferred alternative listed in the SDEIS does not properly mitigate the negative impacts the highway expansion project will have on air, water, wildlife, and people. The SDEIS, like its predecessor the DEIS, fails to properly account for and provide any solutions and dangerously underestimates the devastating impacts the project will have on people and the environment. The SDEIS fails to consider the mitigation of 1,000,000 sq ft of floodplains and over 186,000 sq ft of wetlands.4 Lacking these critical pieces of information, when climate change is already causing major flooding issues in the region, is completely irresponsible of MDOT SHA and FHWA. In terms of water quality, the SDEIS’s preferred alternative will reduce Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties capacity to reduce and meet its Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) goals. Furthermore, the project will impact 500 acres of forests and 26 acres of Parkland.5 In terms of rare, threatened, and endangered (RTE) species, 41 species are in peril due to the project.6 The irreplaceable destruction the “Preferred Alternative” is expected to have on the environment is so extensive that no built infrastructure could ever replace the natural infrastructure this project would take down, placing  Maryland and Virginia at a higher climate catastrophe risk for the next 50 years.   

ANS and our partners recommend that MDOT SHA and FHWA do not approve the SDEIS’s “Preferred alternative” due to its incomplete, faulty, and deceiving information and instead opt for the “no build alternative” option listed in the DEIS. On behalf of ANS and our 28,000 members and supporters, ANS respectfully requests that MDOT SHA and FHWA to act responsibly and not move forward with the SDEIS’s Managed Lanes Preferred alternative today. 

 

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Map of the proposed expansion of I-495 and I-270

Naming the Future

NEWS ALERT

AUDUBON NATURALIST SOCIETY ANNOUNCES DECISION TO CHANGE ITS NAME

New name will build on strengths of the past and usher in a more inclusive future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 22, 2021

Media Contacts:  Caroline Brewer at caroline.brewer@anshome.org or Vince Robinson at
vince.robinson@anshome.org

CHEVY CHASE, MD – After listening to the voices of ANS community of members, volunteers, program participants, donors, board and partners, the organization has decided to update its name to signal a new chapter that builds on the strengths of ANS’s past and moves forward toward a stronger, more inclusive future. With temperatures climbing, fires raging, and storms becoming more deadly, it’s clear we cannot address the substantive challenges to nature conservation without engaging with all communities. 

“The mission and vision of the organization have not changed,” said Lisa Alexander, Executive Director of ANS. “The deliberate and thoughtful decision to change our name is part of our ongoing commitment to creating a larger and more diverse community of people who treasure the natural world and work to preserve it. It has become clear that this will never be fully possible with the current name,” she said. 

ANS acknowledges that the art of John James Audubon was a catalyst for bird conservation in our nation, and that the Audubon community has achieved much together over the past century. However, ANS knows that names matter and can cause harm and stress to many members of its community. Retaining the name Audubon without regard to the pain that John James Audubon inflicted on Black people and other people of color is a disservice to the ANS community. 

“This is about more than what we call ourselves,” said Diane Wood, incoming Board President. “We can and must do better to address equity and racial justice in everything we do. We are deeply invested in breaking down barriers and acknowledging our part in an exclusionary past,” she said. 

This name change is part of a process started in 2010, when ANS began to reassess its policies and practices and found that some of  its work did not fully realize its mission to connect everyone to nature in the Washington, D.C. metro region that ANS has a mission to serve. The decision to change the name is due to the organization’s increasingly diverse set of programs and is rooted in its commitment to the communities ANS serves in the DC region.

“Our organization has been on this path for more than a decade,” explained Alan Spears, ANS Board Member. “I appreciate the bravery, steadfastness and willingness to listen to members, staff, partners and allies on this issue, which is about the future of ANS and how we become a better organization.” 

ANS is excited to continue this work, and looks forward to collaboratively changing the organization’s name to one that reflects the growing and rich diversity of the region ANS serves and sends a clear message: Nature needs all of us.

The new name and brand identity will be decided after a deliberate and thoughtful process of listening and learning from the current ANS community as well as the nature lovers that the organization aspires to partner with in the future. 

Learn more at https://anshome.org/namingthefuture

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The Audubon Naturalists Society (ANS) is the oldest independent environmental organization in the Washington, D.C. region. ANS inspires residents of the greater Washington, D.C., region to appreciate, understand, and protect their natural environment through outdoor experiences, education, and advocacy.

Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Northern VA Advocates Take Action

NEWS ALERT

Climate Change, Inclusivity Top Northern VA Advocates To-Do List

ANS Brings 14 Groups Together to Take Action on Route 1

For Immediate Release: Friday, October 15, 2021
For more information, contact renee.grebe@anshome.org or 703-261-4668 or caroline.brewer@anshome.org

CHEVY CHASE, MD – Saturday, October 16th from 1-4pm, residents living along the Richmond Highway Corridor will come out to the “Day of Action” outside of the Creekside Community Center, 7941 Janna Lee Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22306, to learn how they can become "waterkeepers" and make Richmond Highway a more environmentally friendly, walkable, bikeable, and inclusive place.

The Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) has advocated for improvements along Richmond Highway for years and community engagement is as important as ever as it faces big changes: the drastic widening of the highway, a new bus-rapid transit system, and redevelopment.

Renee Grebe, ANS’s Northern Virginia Conservation Advocate, said, “Through our Water Keepers of Little Hunting Creek program, we’ve partnered with United Community to help residents act on the fact that the health of the stream is directly related to their health. The choices about our land and water directly affect our health. When trees are removed and nature replaced with pavement, the air we breathe is dirtier and our streams – the sources of our drinking water – get polluted.”

United Community’s Director of Community Empowerment, Tamara Cobbs said:: “The Water Keepers program has been a phenomenal asset to the Creekside Community. United Community has seen the families in Creekside take a stronger interest in their watershed. The children of the Creekside Village Community Center have been excited to learn about clean water and combatting climate change. The impact of this project has made a generational shift towards conservation involvement.”

Fairfax County’s Lee District Supervisor Rodney L. Lusk will participate in the day as well, as he celebrates the forthcoming tree plantings: “A healthy, natural environment is directly connected to the health and well-being of all residents. This ‘Day of Action’ will celebrate the incredible benefits of trees: fresh air, clean water, reduced CO2, cooler temperatures and more. Planting trees in targeted areas supports the County’s commitment to create green spaces for all communities. Furthermore, these new trees will provide beauty and enjoyment to adults and children for decades to come.”

A tree can absorb from 760 to 3,000 gallons of water each year. This means that, as storms are getting stronger and more frequent, Little Hunting Creek could see 72,000 fewer gallons of runoff after storms once these newly planted trees are established.

The “Day of Action” brings together ANS and the following 14 community organizations to provide resources to residents to be the voice for improving their neighborhoods:

· Audubon Naturalist Society
· Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture
· Casey Trees
· Fairfax County Communities of Trust
· Fairfax County Health Department providing free Pfizer vaccines
· Fairfax County Neighborhood & Community Services
· Fairfax County Master Gardener Association
· Fairfax County Police
· Fairfax County Urban Forest Management Division
· Fairfax NAACP
· Fairfax County Department of Transportation
· Financial Empowerment Center of South County
· Northern Virginia Soil & Water Conservation District
· United Community’s Opportunity Neighborhood
· Volunteer Fairfax

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

ANS Outdoor Party

NEWS ALERT

Accessibility & Sustainability are a thing with Woodend Sanctuary's Grand Opening on October 6 

For Immediate Release - October 4, 2021

For more information, contact: caroline.brewer@anshome.org or lglisagoodnight@gmail.com

Chevy Chase, MD – Whether you run, walk, crawl, fly, hop, use a wheelchair, walker, cane or stroller to get around, you are welcome to ANS’s All-Day Outdoor Party to celebrate the Grand Opening of its remade nature sanctuary October 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Woodpeckers, cardinals, and bluebirds will be there. Wood frogs, Eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies, and bumblebees too. Thousands of new trees, shrubs, native plants and wildflowers will be visible along our new accessible trail and waving at you from our restored meadows and gardens saying, “How do you do?”

New memories will be made and dreams will come true for hundreds of people with disabilities, children looking for places to run wild, and anyone desiring a moment to meditate and just take in the healing view.

Everybody! Everybody! is welcome to join ANS for naturalist-led forest tours, a scavenger hunt, native plant sale, membership and gift shop deals at our grand opening celebration of our $4-million, 3-year-long restoration project, made possible with the support of our members, donors, local, state, and federal officials, and environmental partners.

Learn more about the Grand Opening here: https://anshome.org/grand-opening/

Find video here of the new wildlife and visitors blooming at the sanctuary, https://drive.google.com/file/d/19zSgGZnq7re81Jq_gnX6VQSuhoE3rEUO/view

Contact us to learn more and for a tour before, during, or after the Grand Opening.

Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

MOCO Climate Action Plan

NEWS ALERT

ANS Responds to Montgomery County's New Climate Action Plan (CAP)

Maryland Advocate Denise Guitarra Praises Plan, Calls for More Protection for Forests and BIPOC Input

For Immediate Release: June 23, 2021
For more information, contact caroline.brewer@anshome.org, or 240-899-9019, denisse.guitarra@anshome.org, 240-630-4703, or eliza.cava@anshome.org, or 305-310-7149.

CHEVY CHASE, MD – Maryland Conservation Advocate Denisse Guitarra

My name is Denisse Guitarra and I’m the Maryland Conservation Advocate for the Audubon Naturalist Society, based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. For 124 years, the Audubon Naturalist Society, also known as ANS, has inspired residents of the greater Washington, DC, region to appreciate, understand, and protect their natural environment through outdoor experiences, education, and advocacy.

As part of that long legacy of civic action, we participated in the development of the Climate Action Plan, also known as CAP. We participated in more than a dozen meetings since 2019 with County staff and various coalitions, provided written testimonies, and hosted online webinars that were open to the public. We have taken a look and are still analyzing the final draft plan and while the plan is not yet perfect, we are excited to see that it includes some of our recommendations, such as increasing tree and forest protections, and working more closely with communities, and specifically BIPOC communities, to co-create policies.

What we appreciated most during the process was the flexibility and openness to change. Continuing in that spirit will be essential to helping us reach a more perfect plan and our goals to help bring together Montgomery County’s rich traditions of social justice and environmental protection to better serve every community.

Climate justice is human justice, therefore, fighting climate change is about valuing life itself. It’s about valuing plants, animals, and people and how each one of us is connected to our habitats. We are in a climate emergency and that means we must also ensure that environmental justice is at the forefront of the climate change movement, because communities of color experience disproportionate harm from the damage caused by climate change.

The CAP lays out an ambitious blueprint for the future. However, we are here to emphasize that the CAP still needs to be strengthened and include specific environmental policies, especially those regarding more trees and better stormwater management, and community inclusion and engagement. We need the Council to enact policies that will help us achieve these climate change goals, such as passing a “no net loss of forests” policy, implementing stronger stormwater management policies, and enforcing our existing environmental laws. Protecting our forests is critical. Between 2008 and 2016, development in the County cleared 1,383 acres of forests, the 5th highest amount of forest cleared among all counties in Maryland. See our comments on the CAP in our ANS Conservation Blog.1

We’d like to thank Montgomery County Executive Mark Elrich and Climate Change Coordinator Adriana Hochberg for inviting us to be a part of this process. We look forward to continuing to work with the County, government agencies, environmental organizations and coalitions, and BIPOC communities to help deliver to residents of Montgomery County an even stronger and more effective plan.

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

2021 Taking Nature Black® Environmental Champions

NEWS ALERT

Harriet Tubman, Today’s Trailblazers to be Honored as 2021 Taking Nature Black Environmental Champions 

ANS Earth Month Event Salutes Legacy, National, Regional, Youth Champions

For Immediate Release: April 8, 2021
For more information, contact Communications Director Caroline Brewer at caroline.brewer@anshome.org or (240) 899-9019, or lglisagoodnight@gmail.com, or (301) 523-5394.

CHEVY CHASE, MD – The Audubon Naturalist Society will salute 11 national, regional, legacy, and youth environmental figures for engaging in service that improves the quality of life for under-resourced African American communities in ways that are unique, groundbreaking, and pioneering. Taking Nature Black is ANS’s signature Black History Month event. This year’s Taking Nature Black Environmental Champions are being honored during Earth Month in a virtual ceremony that will feature music, poetry, and Q and A on April 15 at 7 p.m.

The 2021 Taking Nature Black® Environmental Champions are:


LEGACY CHAMPIONS

Harriet Tubman, a deeply religious woman often called the Moses of her people, who led African Americans to freedom through woods, rivers, and marshes. She used the environment and astronomy as guides, sustenance, and tools. Parks in the states where Tubman lived are named in her honor, a fitting tribute to the famed Underground Railroad conductor whose deep understanding of the natural world is now being recognized along with her other spectacular achievements.

Pamela Rush, the Lowndes County, Ala. mother who died last year after contracting COVID-19. Rush used her voice to bring national attention to the environmental injustices plaguing many poor people. Her fighting spirit continues to inspire the ongoing work to help rural Americans living without basic sanitation and access to nature. Delivering a powerful testimony before Congress in 2018, she told leaders about her family’s unsafe living conditions which included raw sewage in their yard, and a mobile home suffused with mold.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

Congressman A. Donald McEachin (D), who represents Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. During his first term in Congress, Rep. McEachin co-founded the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Congressional Task Force and now serves on the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and serves as Vice-Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition.

Catherine Coleman Flowers, an environmental health advocate and MacArthur “genius.” Flowers is widely credited for raising awareness around the appalling lack of proper sewage and waste disposal and treatment systems for lower-income communities across the United States. Flowers is Founding Director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice (formerly the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise), and author of Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret.

Beattra Wilson is the Assistant Director for Urban & Community Forestry at the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C. Wilson served three years on the Forest Service Environmental Justice Board, promoting initiatives that improved access and awareness of federal programs to minority communities and stakeholders and generated a pipeline of new minority and millennial students pursuing forestry and natural resources careers.

Derrick Evans is a humanitarian, educator, historian, community builder and a sixth-generation member of the Turkey Creek community in Mississippi and the co-founding Managing Advisor to the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health. This fund helps direct monetary, technological, and collegiate support in the Gulf South. This grew from Evans’ work with Turkey Creek Community Initiatives, where he worked to conserve and protect the rich African American cultural history and ecological knowledge of his ancestral land and water. Evans stars in a dynamic Environmental Film Festival documentary, Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek, about the incredible years-long fight to save his historic Turkey Creek community from erasure.

REGIONAL CHAMPIONS

Drs. Candice Duncan, Akua Asa-Awuku, and Ebony Terrell Shockley make up the University of Maryland Geo-Sciences Research Team working to diversify the geosciences, a field where just five percent of the degree holders are women of color. They established the PEARLS (Providing Educational Access to Research & Learning in geoscienceS), a National Science Foundation-funded program to recruit students with non-traditional backgrounds.

Dr. Duncan is a lecturer in the Environmental Science and Technology Department at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her work focuses on the transport and characterization of organic contaminants in the vadose zone (the Earth's terrestrial subsurface that extends from the surface to the regional groundwater table).

Dr. Akua Asa-Awuku, a chemical engineering professor in the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Her work focuses on particles in the atmosphere and how these particles influence air quality and climate.

Dr. Ebony Terrell Shockley, the College of Education's Executive Director of Teacher Education and the Associate Clinical Professor for the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership. Her expertise is in teacher education. She studies the academic experience of marginalized learners, using her research to center their cultural, ancestral, and historically-divergent knowledge profiles.

Donald Belle is the Environmental Outreach Educator at the William Schmidt Outdoor Education Center, which serves the entire school district in Prince George's County. He builds pioneering programs around the county focused on environmental literacy, connecting students to green careers, and allowing them opportunities to innovate and create.

YOUTH CHAMPION

Kwesi Osaze Billups, an Urban Garden Manager, Garden Builder, and Community Organizer who has brought healing and hope to his fellow community members by working the land and helping to build and manage Project Eden. Billups recently graduated from American University with a degree in International Studies and was profiled by the Washington Post.

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

TNB Conference Starts February 23rd

NEWS ALERT

“WE’VE KNOWN RIVERS AND STILL WE RISE”

Black Environmentalists to Tell Stories of Disrupting Narratives and Changing the Game in Outdoor Spaces at “Taking Nature Black” Conference

Interviews, including tours in the DC area, available throughout the week (Plus video)

For Immediate Release: February 22, 2021
For more information, contact Caroline Brewer, caroline.brewer@anshome.org or (240) 899-9019, or lglisagoodnight@gmail.com, or (301) 523-5394

CHEVY CHASE, MD – Black climate activists, birders, foresters, urban gardeners, naturalists, biologists, creatives, and the nation’s only Black waterkeeper are among the 900 attendees who will convene Tuesday, February 23 – Saturday, February 27 at the 2021 Taking Nature Black Conference.

These environmental professionals and advocates are uniting out of a love for the planet and to join in a rare national celebration of the work of others like them. Hosted by the Audubon Naturalist Society, the conference is a reflection of the tremendous diversity that exists among those fighting to protect the environment – faces that are rarely seen and voices that are rarely heard. The Conference exists to elevate them, their stories, and calls for action.

**

Tamara Toles O’Laughlin served on President Biden’s Climate Task Force and is a highly sought-after climate activist who creates multimedia campaigns to dismantle privilege and increase opportunities for vulnerable populations to access healthy air, clean energy, and a toxic free economy. She is disrupting the narrative and changing the game around climate action by arguing for “climate reparations.” She recently said on the futurehuman.com podcast, “There is not a single thing that exists in America that isn’t built on Black people’s bodies or Indigenous people’s suffering and relocation.” She’ll be on Wednesday’s “The Politics of the Environment Panel” and will talk about what the Biden Administration needs to do to incorporate climate reparations. Toles O’Laughlin is the chair and state representative on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Air and Climate Public Advisory Committee and co-chairs the Green Leadership Trust. Formerly, she was the North American Director at 350.org, where she drove regional climate strategy in the United States and Canada.

Fred Tutman is the Patuxent Riverkeeper and a hell of a one-man-band grassroots community advocate for clean water. The Patuxent is Maryland’s longest and deepest intrastate waterway. Tutman, a vice-chair for the conference and moderator of the two panels on Friday, is among the longest-serving waterkeepers in the Chesapeake region and the only African American waterkeeper in the nation. He has disrupted narratives and changed the game in fighting for environmental justice by showing that he is unbought and unbossed in taking on big businesses for polluting the river and adjoining communities, winning hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties, and much respect.

Jaren Hill lives in Ward 8 in Southeast DC, a community of 80,000 people who suffer from high crime rates, high poverty rates, and limited access to healthy and affordable food. Ward 8, in fact, has just one grocery store. In contrast, Ward 3, DC’s whitest and wealthiest ward, has nine grocery stores. Hill is the Director for The Well at Oxon Run, a new urban farm and community wellness space. The Well will change the food insecurity narrative by becoming home to season crop production, a pick-your-own flower garden, a farm stand, an orchard with chickens, a green house, herb and pollinator gardens, and a large youth garden with outdoor classroom. Hill is speaking on Tuesday’s 12:00 -1:00 p.m. panel, Living On and Off the Land.

Chanceé Lundy co-owns and is principal of Nspiregreen, a firm that combines engineering and urban planning with community organizing, which is a narrative-disrupting and game-changing move in the engineering communityNot to mention that she brings the lens of being a black woman into a field dominated by men. Lundy has spearheaded projects providing technical support and/ or public outreach services to environmental clients on projects such as the District’s Comprehensive Energy Plan, Solid Waste Management Study, and Consolidated TMDL Implementation (Stormwater Management) Plan. She is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Water Environment Federation, and is Mayoral Appointee to the Chesapeake Bay Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee. Lundy is speaking on Saturday’s 11:20 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. panel, Going Hard at Green Careers.

Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu, a D.C.-based singer, storyteller, and scholar from Harlem, will present an original work called Ain’t You Got a Right to the Tree of Life?,  a music, dance, and story exploration into an African American Environmental Bill of Rights. Dr. Wilson-Ama’ Echefu is disrupting narratives around the African American experience in the outdoors by linking wildlife, conservation, and nature spaces to artistic expression in ways that heal, uplift, educate and excite. Her research interests include African cultural and religious history and the philosophies and theologies of Africans and their descendants in the Western Hemisphere as identified through their song, story and dance.  Ain’t You Got a Right to the Tree of Life? will debut Tuesday, February 23 10:40 a.m. -11:40 a.m., featuring Ysaye Barnwell, renowned vocalist and instrumentalist, formerly of Sweet Honey in the Rock, and will be broadcast a second time, Friday, February 26, 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Tykee James, Government Affairs Coordinator for the National Audubon Society, organizes bird walks with members of Congress and congressional staff. He has disrupted the narrative around birding and is changing the birding game as co-founder of #BlackBirdersWeek, created in response to the racist attack on Central Park birder Christian Cooper which occurred on the same day as the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020,. He is also a co-founder of the #BlackandLatinxBirders Scholarship Fund. James speaks frequently about how he experiences birding differently as a Black man and will share remarks during the closing session of the conference. He recently said, “I was proud to work alongside my fellow organizers to show that the Black experience goes beyond trauma and pain, that it includes joy, strength, pride, resistance, and style. That's part of what made the first #BlackBirdersWeek so special.”

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Black Environmentalists to Share Joy and Pain

NEWS ALERT

Black Environmentalists to Share Joy and Pain that Open Spaces and Their Jobs Bring

Taking Nature Black Virtual to Draw Highest Attendance
Runs Tuesday, February 23 – Saturday, February 27, 2021

For Immediate Release February 11, 2021

For more information, contact Conference Chairwoman and ANS Director of Marketing and Communications Caroline Brewer, caroline.brewer@anshome.org or 240-899-9019, or Media Outreach Specialist lglisagoodnight@gmail.com or 301-523-5394

CHEVY CHASE, MDTykee James, board member of the DC Audubon Society, is especially conscious of how he dresses before he goes out birding in the wilderness. As a Black man entering wild (also known as “white”) spaces, he recognizes that each trip could be his last.  So before he indulges himself in the beauty of birdsong, he contacts friends to tell them what he’s wearing so that, if necessary, they can help authorities find his missing body. “Going outside is an opportunity for racism. I can’t get too comfortable,” James says.

When doctoral forestry student Jasmine K. Brown first invited her father to go on a hiking trip in the woods, he was elated. As they followed trail markers and took father-daughter selfies, he became overwhelmed by discomfort, fear, and a reluctance to keep going. He explained that the history of African American victimization in the woods was haunting him. Brown was able to help her father re-imagine forests as a healing space, which allowed them to finish the hike.

For Blacks environmentalists, as for most people, parks, woods, and other open spaces are places to play, explore, rejuvenate and refresh. But the great outdoors can also be unwelcoming and even traumatic for Blacks (as we saw in the Central Park attack last year), and so can being a rare person of color in their fields. The Taking Nature Black® Conference is a place where audiences Black, white, Asian, Latinx, and Native American flock to hear stories like James’ and Brown’s --raw, unvarnished tales of what it’s like to be Black in green spaces and hold jobs as environmentalists. Black birders, foresters, waterkeepers, urban gardeners, park staff, and others who go hard at green careers, tell their stories of joy, pain, tragedy and triumph as if they are in the comfort of a friend’s living room. Because, to them, they are.

And when they tell the stories only they can tell, they, literally, breathe easier. This is why participation in Taking Nature Black has soared since the first conference to 700 this year from 100 in 2016.  “I get to be my full Black self (here),”  teen climate activist Jerome Foster II, who was later featured in the Washington Postand New Yorker Magazine, proudly and emotionally boasted to the 2020 audience during his acceptance speech as the Youth Environmental Champion.

A 2018 participant wrote, “I’ve spent much of my 19-year career in environmental conservation trying not to highlight my Blackness... This conference has made me feel so proud to be a part of a community of Black environmentalists. Thank you…I loved this conference!” 

The virtual Conference runs Tuesday February 23 – Saturday, February 27, 2021. Interviews can be arranged with many of the 50 speakers, panelists, performers and artists. Click here for the Conference Agenda, Speaker and Panel Descriptions.

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

ANS Naturally Latinos 3 Conferene

NEWS RELEASE

ANS's Naturally Latinos Conference Celebrates "Superpower" Within Latinx Community

Anti-racism, Queer Experiences, and Trailblazers in the Outdoors in the Spotlight

For more information, contact caroline.brewer@anshome.org, or 240-899-9019, or lglisagoodnight@gmail.com, or 301-523-5394

For Immediate Release – November 2, 2020

CHEVY CHASE, MD – The Audubon Naturalist Society and its partners are proud to announce the third annual Naturally Latinos Conference (NLC3) happening virtually on Dec 2-4.

This year’s conference theme “Una Comunidad, Many Voices” underscores the reality that the Latinx community is not monolithic – Indigenous, Afro-Latinx, and LGBTQ+ perspectives matter.

“Each community brings its own superpower honed through the challenges they have faced. When you bring them together... it’s really powerful,” said NLC3 Conference Co-Chair Serenella Linares.

Conference highlights include, “A Conversation on Becoming Latinx Anti-Racists in Our Environmental Movement,” "The Queer Latinx Experience in the Outdoors,” and “Green Careers.”

Pinar Ateş Sinopoulos-Lloyd, the indigenous co-founder of Queer Nature, is one of five environmental champions being honored. The two keynoters are José G. González,
Founder and Director Emeritus of Latino Outdoors and Natali Fani-González, Vice-Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board. She is the first Latinx and first millennial to serve on the five-member board.

Because the event is happening online, ANS is expecting audience members from the Caribbean and beyond to participate. The full agenda is here:  https://anshome.org/nl3-agenda-2020/

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

App Lets People Take Action For Water Quality

NEWS ALERT

New Mobile App Lets People Take Action for Water Quality

It’s an easy, fun and fascinating way to safely collect and report water quality data

For Immediate Release: September 30, 2020
Photos available upon request

CHEVY CHASE, MD – The Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) and Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) have launched a brand-new version of Creek Critters®, an innovative smartphone app that empowers people to collect valuable data and report on local water quality. Using only a smartphone and a small aquarium net, everyone can learn about stream health and become advocates for their own natural resources.

“It always fascinates me to see how excited people get by discovering life in their streams,” says Gregg Trilling, Conservation Outreach Manager for the Audubon Naturalist Society. “Creek Critters helps newcomers and experienced stream monitors alike experience that thrill of discovery.”

Water quality in the United States is under threat from a wide range of sources, from excessive road salt use to stormwater runoff. Professional water quality experts are unable to monitor even half of the more than 3.5 million miles of streams and rivers across the country. ANS and IWLA have trained community scientists for decades to collect critical water quality data and engage local communities.

Creek Critters uses simple step-by-step instructions and an interactive guide to help users find and identify organisms in local streams. Collecting and identifying these small, fascinating animals, called benthic macroinvertebrates, is one of the most effective ways to assess stream health. Benthic macroinvertebrates live in creeks and streams and have different tolerance levels to water pollution. By identifying and reporting the macroinvertebrates they find in a stream, anyone, including students, can help paint a picture of water quality and pollution threats across the country.

“For students, Creek Critters is a splashy introduction to the stunning biodiversity that can be found if you learn to look,” says Dani Moore, science teacher at Wilson High School in DC.

The data collected by app users is uploaded into the Clean Water Hub, the water quality database managed by IWLA. The first database of its kind, the Clean Water Hub brings together data collected by volunteers across the country in a single, user-friendly website.

“With the Creek Critters app now connected to the Clean Water Hub database, people across the country are empowered to do their own water quality monitoring, share their results and use their data,” says Samantha Briggs, Clean Water Program Director for IWLA.

The app can be used by people working alone or by small groups, making it an easy activity to do while social distancing. It is also family friendly and can be used by schools, camps and clubs to educate and engage students of all ages.

The free app is available for download on iOS and Android devices.

CONTACT:

Caroline Brewer
Director of Marketing and Communications
Audubon Naturalist Society
(240) 899-9019 or caroline.brewer@anshome.org

Gregg Trilling
Conservation Outreach Manager
Audubon Naturalist Society
gregg.trilling@anshome.org

Samantha Briggs
Clean Water Program Director
Izaak Walton League of America
(847) 650-5112 or sbriggs@iwla.org

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About The Izaak Walton League of America: Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America (www.iwla.org) and our more than 40,000 members protect America’s outdoors through education, community-based conservation, and promoting outdoor recreation.

About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.