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Media Release

Grant Supports Citizen Scientist Program Youth to Conduct Watershed Testing

The Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum has received a $32,000 State Farm Youth Advisory Board grant to support its Citizens Scientist Program Urban Ecology Engagement Initiative. An outgrowth of the museum's multiyear, multidisciplinary Urban Waterways Project, CSP engages local middle and high school students to collect environmental data and conduct scientific research to improve understanding of the biology and water quality of the Anacostia River Watershed. The program is implemented in partnership with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

One of 65 organizations to be awarded the YAB service-learning, youth-led grant across the United States and Canada, the museum acknowledged State Farm's support by inviting its representatives to participate in a recent field trip with CSP students to conduct biological and chemical water testing at the Beaverdam Creek in Cheverly, Md. Drawn from the Anacostia-area UPO, the eight students are part of a CSP group who since 2013 have been conducting experiments and analyzing data to monitor, track and study the environmental health of the largely polluted local streams and waterways in their communities.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to show one of our funders firsthand how their contribution supports this important work for our community and enriches the lives of our youth," said Sharon Reinckens, the museum's deputy director.

State Farm agent Lynn Heinrichs and her agency colleagues and guests were among those assisting the CSP youth at the stream along with the museum's program coordinators and staff. "State Farm supports service-learning because it integrates service to the community into classroom curriculum using a hands-on approach to mastering subject matter while fostering civic responsibility," said Heinrichs. "The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a prime example of State Farm's commitment to education, our community and our youth."

The Anacostia Community Museum opened in southeast Washington in 1967 as the nation's first federally funded neighborhood museum. Adopting its current name in 2006, the museum has expanded from a solely African American emphasis to a focus on issues affecting contemporary urban communities. In 2012, the museum presented the groundbreaking exhibition, "Reclaiming the Edge: Urban Waterways and Civic Engagement," launching the museum's initiatives on environmental issues and communities. For more information on the museum, the public may call (202) 633-4820; for tours, call (202) 633-4844. Website: anacostia.si.edu.

State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts—more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. For more information, visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca. A signature program, the Youth Advisory Board is a diverse group of 30 youth, ages 17–20, competitively chosen to lead and oversee this $5 million/year service-learning grant initiative.


Media Only:
Marcia Baird Burris (202) 633-4876; (202) 320-1735 (cell)
bairdburrism@si.edu

Media Website:
http://www.anacostia.si.edu; http://newsdesk.si.edu

Note: Interested media should RSVP to the number/email above.