My name is John Wood and I’m the field manager at the Earth Conservation Corps. Born as a native Washingtonian and living my years in SE, I had no idea about the Anacostia River and the pollution and devastation it faced throughout its history when I was younger. It wasn’t till later on that I would gain a passion for working with the environment and ecosystems.
My first introductions to wildlife and rivers was when my grandfather and uncles would take me fishing along the Potomac. Later on, I would join the Boy Scouts. I spent 7 years in the program finally earning my Eagle Scout rank at 18 years old, a rank in which less than 10 percent of scouts achieve.
During these years I’ve grown to appreciate the outdoors and the wildlife living in it. Wildlife has always interested me, especially with all the different species and features that they use to adapt in their surroundings. I learned to be able to work with my hands instead of relying on heavy tools and machinery amongst many other skills that I can apply to this day.
It was during my junior year of high school that I was first introduced to ECC through a program called Youth Creating Change. A program where we completed community service projects like building benches in the Kingman islands, and educational trips that were fun. The first time we met the ECC we went fishing in the Anacostia River, experienced a raptor encounter and learned how to weld.
That same summer I entered a summer employment project through the ECC called the Plastic Bottle Corps. We took plastic bottles from the river and created a statue of our own design. Through hours of welding, attaching, and wrestling with the chicken wire we created Henson the Heron. A heron’s head statue made with a bottle and other litter found in the Anacostia.
After graduating high school, I joined the AmeriCorps program at ECC and completed 900 hours of community service. In the summer of 2019, I was hired as official staff. Today I help run environmental education and service programs like Eco-schools and the District’s Green Zone Environmental Projects.
This organization has helped me take advantage of the many opportunities that I didn’t know were available to me. Working here has undoubtedly helped me grow as a person and in maturity, allowing me to go outside my usual circle and see what the environment has to show.