PHOTO ESSAY - KIDS, CANOES, CAMERAS New Bay Times: September 4, 1997
Seeing the troubled Anacostia River through the lens of bright, young city-dwellers...
Nations write their histories on their rivers, from exploration to industrialization, from rust to resurrection. Learning that history begins in their own backyard for young people who live in the watershed of the Anacostia River, which rises from dozens of creeks at Bladensburg, runs though Washington, D.C., finally meeting the Potomac River and merging with the Chesapeake Bay. Canoe trips run by the Anacostia Watershed Society take kids on the river to learn by seeing for themselves.
Teenagers from D.C.'s New Community After School & Advocacy Program in the Shaw neighborhood enhanced their vision by looking through the eyes of cameras. A darkroom was made for the New Community during the project.
"When looking through the eye of a camera, the connection to the natural environment is that much greater" explains Joanne Miller, the wildlife photographer who joined with the the Watershed Society to lead the New Community students on a photo project last month. Miller lives on a houseboat on a Potomac Creek.
The students saw trash and debris, abandoned boats and power plants. They learned that when people litter, rain washes their trash down street sewers and into the river. Despite the abuse, the young people saw that ducks, gulls and blue herons still flourish on the river. To feed such waterfowl, they saw where wild rice had been reintroduced unsuccessfully, on the river. Farther up the river, in the Kenilworth marsh, they saw 60 acres where new plants flourish.
"The canoe trip was a good experience because it was different from what I am used to. I felt like a queen as Afi and Mike paddled me across the river. We got good pictures of the birds, pollution, scenery and some kids fishing. The canoe trip was something that I wasn't sure about doing, but I'm glad I did." Tameka Atkinson Age 13
Sales from Joanne Miller's "Eyes of the River" show at Patagonia in Georgetown will help support this trip. Film for the students was donated by Kodak and Penn Camera.
Reprinted with permission from: Bay Weekly newspaper, Editor: Sandra Olivetti Martin
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