Environmental Education Program: Leaving No Child Indoors

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Torch Club members Stephen and Asha celebrating the tree they re-planted, with DOPC Restoration Program Director Ann Aldrich in the background.

Neither snow nor bitter cold slowed down the Conservancy’s environmental education programs this winter. On the contrary, in January, twenty youth from the Urban Adventure Squad braved the 20-degree weather and toured Dumbarton Oaks Park while learning about invasive species in the process. Winter’s beauty shined throughout the morning as we found the Park’s naturally occurring ice sculptures, freezing nature’s moments in time.

The Jelleff Boys and Girls Club’s Middle School Torch Club, in partnership with Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy, has also been hard at work. The Boys and Girls Club has launched a national Climate Change Challenge, with new tasks assigned weekly. The Torch Club has risen to the challenge, tackling each new obstacle with enthusiasm. We recently learned how planting trees help mitigate climate change by absorbing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Two baby native trees were growing in an area of Dumbarton Oaks Park that could not sustain them, so Torch Club replanted them in a different section of the park, where they now grow and thrive. Not only did we meet the challenge, we saved two trees that the Torch Club will continue to look after throughout the upcoming years.

We would also like to extend a large thank you to the Earth Conservation Corps for bringing their raptor program to the Jelleff Boys and Girls Club, where the Torch Club hosted an environmental education event. Youth were able to see these magnificent birds, including a red-tailed hawk, up close, and learn about their behavior from a new perspective. While hiking through the Park this upcoming spring, we will keep an eye our for the Park’s native raptor inhabitants, and observe them in their natural habitat. We have already spotted a barred owl and red-tailed hawk.

Stay tuned for more updates about the environmental education programs offered through the Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy!

Written by Alisha Camacho, Education Specialist

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Robert West, the Raptor Specialist at the Earth Conservation Corps, displaying Harriet, their Cooper’s Hawk to the Jelleff Boys and Girls Club youth during a Torch Club environmental education event.

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DOPC staff member, Scott Einberger, pointing out the invasive plant species, English Ivy, to the urban Adventure Squad.

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