Anacostia Eco Justice Trip 2010-5770

Pre-Pesach Eco-Justice Boat Ride, 3/21!!!                What a trip…

On a beautiful March day, a full boatload of Adat Shalomers and their Anacostia friends set sail on a three hour tour — to better understand the rivers and neighbors in our own area, the environmental and social issues in our own backyard, and to appreciate how Jewish values (particularly Pesach themes) tie in to the reality around us.  The ‘hook’ was the ten plagues (when Egypt’s social ills were punished with environmental collapse), and the intersection of the ecological and the interpersonal that it teaches — read more about that in Rabbi Fred’s recent Scroll article, here:  Nwsltr 2010 03 Eco-Justice, Pesach, Anacostia

It was a success by all measures — a hundred Adat Shalomers making these connections; a quality program featuring numerous experts and local activists onboard; a clear linkage between what we saw from the boat and what we were to learn; a powerful Jewish message including take-home for-Pesach ideas; real-time networking among environmental advocates within and beyond the synagogue, including teens from Groundwork Anacostia and from Adat Shalom; lots of volunteers involved (our huge thanks to Alissa Stern, Ruth Poulin, Marsha Teichman, and Haya Laufer; also to Captain Eric Slaughter who let us use the Capital Yacht ‘Celebrity’ at cost); and much more…..

But as Rabbi Fred said, if this was only a fun outing for 100 marginally more enlightened Adat Shalomers, “lo dayeinu,” it won’t have been enough.  But if we come back not only educated but motivated and resourced to get involved, to act in ways consonant with the real interconnection of all neighborhoods and watersheds, to support and get involved with our Anacostia partners and to do advocacy — then, and only then, “dayeinu.”  For a concrete list of ways to do this, try (on the right, “Follow Up Steps,” under “II. Pesach”).  And don’t forget to download our Eco-Haggadah-Helpers, and use them at your seder, either; just click on Eco-Haggadah-Helpers Adat Shalom 5770-2010 .

A few photos follow, though they do no justice to the richness of the experience; a list of the presenters and a sense of the itinerary is available by clicking here:  Anacostia itinerary-speakers-topics…   Check back shortly for links to the onboard handouts (including relevant selections from Louis Halle’s 1940’s classic “Spring in Washington”, and a ‘cheat sheet’ of Jewish texts and values which speak to climate change and other environmental issues); the annotated map of our route starts the gallery:



Looking forward to seeing you on March 21st for the EcoJustice Passover Trip to the Anacostia.

As background information, you might be interested in reading through a timeline of Anacostia, developed for the Smithsonian by Stephen W. Syphax, Chief of the Resource Management Division for the National Park Service (National Capital Parks – East). I tried to annotate the 9 pages down to a 2 page handout, but it was just too interesting, so it is attached in its entirety.  [click here:  Anacostia Chronology]

A few reminders:

DEPARTURE: Sunday, March 21st. 9:45am (Sharp! Please aim for 9:30, earlier if you want to look around, tend to get lost, or are generally late. The boat will be docked around 9:00). We’ll finish by 1pm and we will go rain or shine!

LOCATION: Please meet at Washington Marina (1300 Maine Ave, SW, near bottom of 15th Street; directions at

COST: Please make Haya’s job easier by sending her payment within the next couple of days. Checks should be made out to “Adat Shalom.” The boat ride, tour, lunch, Pesach pointers, and more are yours for just (a heavily subsidized, and adjustable based on need) $18 per person. ($5 for high school students because of the special high school program).


Washington Marina -> 11st Street Bridge in Anacostia: Using sites along the river, speakers will briefly introduce the environmental and socio-economic challenges of the Anacostia, how the two intersect, and what is being done to address those challenges.
11st Street Bridge -Washington Marina:  Over a no-impact vegetarian lunch (many thanks to Ruth Poulin and Marsha Teichman for organizing this), we will break up into small groups to give you an opportunity to meet informally with our speakers.  Anacostia and Adat Shalom high school students will meet during this time to get to know one another, take pictures of what they are seeing/learning, and work out the logistics for creating an AS blog/Groundwork facebook page when they return home.  We will have a facilitator available to help the teens.  Comnunity service available (through Groundwork Anacostia) for completing this project.

SPEAKERS: Our speakers represent a range of organizations working along the river.   Their websites are rich sources of information for learning about, and assisting with the improvement of, the Anacostia:

DENNIS CHESTNUT – Executive Director of Groundwork Anacostia River DC  (find Groundwork Anacostia on Facebook!)
JIM FOSTER – President, Anacostia Watershed Society (
IRV SHEFFEY – EcoJustice Coordinator Sierra Club DC (
DOTTIE YUNGER – Executive Director, Anacostia Riverkeeper (
AYINDE CUNNINGHAM – Local teen from Groundwork Trust (find Groundwork Anacostia on Facebook!)
JOHN HARSHBARGER – George Washington University Medical Center (
ANNETTE GANTT – Earth Conservation Corps (
CHRIS NIEWOLD – National Park Service (

and our own

RABBI FRED – his ecojustice PhD thesis is still online at (great background
for this trip!) and
FRED PINKNEY – Mishnah gardener by night, US Fish and Wildlife researcher by day (

QUESTIONS? Feel free to email me at ….

Thanks for coming along with us.  Hope you find it and interesting and enriching experience.

Alissa Stern



Sunday, March 21st, 9:45am to 1pm –

meet at Washington Marina  (1300 Maine Ave, SW, near bottom of 15th Street;

Take a comfy cruise along the Potomac & Anacostia Rivers, with neighborhood activists as our guides.  While enjoying and sightseeing, we’ll explore how socio-economic challenge intersects with environmental degradation (and how to help), and reflect on Pesach’s plagues as ecological sufferings for social ills.  Boat ride, tour, lunch, Pesach pointers, and more are yours for just (a heavily subsidized, and adjustable based on need)  $18 per person.   Recommended for ages 8 to 88.

Please RSVP to Haya Laufer (  to join us for this newest and most memorable installment in our intergenerational H2C2 – “Honoring our Holidays, Caring for Creation” – series!  (NOTE: boat is over half-full as of 3/10; RSVP quickly, and be sure your seat is guaranteed!)


One Response to “Anacostia Eco Justice Trip 2010-5770”

  1. h2c2 March 25, 2010 at 6:18 am #


    From: Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation [] On Behalf Of Sheila Blum
    Sent: Sunday, March 21, 2010 5:46 PM
    Subject: What a fabulous environmental river cruise today!

    We saw, we learned, we were inspired and—hopefully–motivated to be agents of change.

    A huge todah to Alissa Stern, Rabbi Fred, and all those who helped organize this excusion. The speakers were wonderful and it ran like clock-work. And that doesn’t happen without lots of work.

    I will stop now; my 2 minutes are up. 🙂 (Those on the boat will understand.)

    To a cleaner Anacostia,
    Sheila Blum

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