Affiliate of the Week: Earth Conservation Corps

In honor of our 80th Anniversary celebration throughout 2016, the National Wildlife Federation is recognizing each of our Affiliate Partners in a special “Affiliate of the Week” blog series that showcases the dedicated conservation efforts taking place across the country each day. This week we celebrate our Washington, D.C. affiliate, the Earth Conservation Corps, and their commitment to wildlife.

ECC Logo

Who We Are

Since the early 1990’s, the Earth Conservation Corps, a 501(c)(3) located in Washington, D.C., has literally been in the trenches helping at-risk youth in the District of Columbia transform their lives by cleaning up the environment in which they live. The Earth Conservation Corps’ mission is to inspire youth and young adults to transform their lives by reclaiming the environment around them through impactful conservation projects and environmental justice advocacy that restores and protects urban watersheds.

What We Do

As early pioneers in urban environmental justice in the District of Columbia, the Earth Conservation Corps started the massive Anacostia River cleanup initiative that has sparked national awareness around river restoration, raising and investing more than $40 million in youth-driven conservation projects. Since that time, the organization has given birth to numerous projects and organizations centered on the Anacostia watershed.

Ospreys are one of the many wildlife species that benefit from the ECC’s work in the Anacostia River. Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Kim Taylor

Making a National Impact

After 24 years of driving clean river advocacy and conservation programs along the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., there’s visible improvement in surface level river quality and millions of dollars planned in current and future investments. In fact, there are efforts afoot now for a swimmable river by 2025, supported by the District of Columbia Government and the dozens of organizations that have sprung up over the last two decades to save the amazing natural resource that is the Anacostia watershed.

Earth Conservation Corps members remove trash and debris from the Anacostia River. Photo by ECC
In contrast, no one could imagine this type of comprehensive engagement and transformation back in 1992 when nine youngsters from Valley Green public housing threw caution to wind to clean up their lives by cleaning up the environment. Not only did they have the courage to imagine a better environment for themselves, they also put boots to the ground, officially launching the Earth Conservation Corps and becoming the first pioneers in environmental justice for youth and young adults in southeast Washington, D.C.

With the support of the National Wildlife Federation, the Earth Conservation Corps has restored and maintained DC’s first certified wetland along the Anacostia. The Anacostia watershed is important for preserving healthy waters in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as the Anacostia flows through DC and Maryland and into the Potomac River.

Looking for a cool Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Day project? Look no further! Join Earth Conservation Corps in removing invasive plants from our beautifully restored wetland. For more information please email

Connect with ECC

Connect with the Earth Conservation Corps to get their latest news and keep up with developing water protection efforts: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or by visiting their website.