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2014 Citizen Scientist Program youth, coordinators and State Farm representatives take a break from testing water quality in the Anacostia Watershed. Photo by Susana Raab.

2014 Citizen Scientist Program youth, coordinators and State Farm representatives take a break from testing water quality in the Anacostia Watershed.
Photo by Susana Raab.

Media Release

Larger Grant Helps Expand Citizen Scientist Program Watershed Testing in Washington Metropolitan Area

The Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum has received $54,000 in second-round funding from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB) during the 2016 project period to support expansion of its Citizens Scientist Program (CSP) Urban Ecology Engagement Initiative. The State Farm grant will facilitate the involvement of youth from additional schools in the metropolitan area, including Montgomery County, Md., and covers the cost of materials and scientific supplies. An outgrowth of the museum's multiyear, multidisciplinary Urban Waterways Project, CSP has engaged more than 200 local middle and high school students since 2013 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.

The museum was one of 62 organizations to be awarded the YAB service-learning, youth-led grant nationally and among the 22 selected in their eastern market area for this school year. As in 2014, the museum is acknowledging State Farm's continued support and larger gift by inviting its representatives to participate in a field trip Oct. 31 with CSP students to demonstrate the placement of chemical data logging devices in Watts Branch Tributary in Capitol Heights, Md. The student field-trip participants are from the Anacostia-area United Planning Organization, whose youth have been part of CSP since its inception conducting experiments and analyzing data to ascertain the environmental health of the largely polluted local streams and waterways in their communities.

"It is a testament to the important work our youth are doing that State Farm has provided this second and more generous gift," said Sharon Reinckens, the museum's deputy director. "We are particularly proud that almost 98 percent of the CSP students who graduated last year were college bound and a third were engineering or STEM majors. All of the program participants described their CSP experience as life changing in their college applications, and this is just the kind of impact we want to have."

State Farm agent Angela Rosser and other State Farm representatives are among those who will assist the CSP youth at the stream along with the museum's program coordinators and staff. "The success of last year's program and the commitment of the students help make this program one of the top contenders for this year's Youth Advisory Board grants," Rosser said. "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. The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a prime example of State Farm's commitment to education, our community and our youth."

The 2016 program officially kicks off in the spring with youth from the existing Washington and Prince George's County, Md., sites as well as the new sites. Additional support for CSP has been provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Smithsonian Grand Challenges Programs.

About the Anacostia Community Museum

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.

About State Farm

State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve almost 84 million policies and accounts–approximately 82 million auto, home, life and health and commercial policies in the United States and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. For more information, visit http://www.statefarm.com. A signature program, the Youth Advisory Board is a diverse group of 30 youth, ages 17–20, competitively chosen to lead, administer and oversee grantees of 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