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125th Anniversary Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2015

Media Contact: Nate Adams, nathan_adams@nps.gov, (202) 619-7158, Joel Greenberg, joel@dcpr.com, (202) 669-3639

Find Yourself in Rock Creek Park

National Park Service and Rock Creek Conservancy Host Special Events to Celebrate the Park's 125th Anniversary

Washington - The National Park Service and Rock Creek Conservancy yesterday kicked off a year-long celebration of the 125th anniversary of Rock Creek Park with a special event at the Omni Shoreham Hotel and Junior Ranger activities in the park. Park staff, partners, and new Junior Rangers shared their appreciation for the park and expressed optimism for its future.

"This is a year-long opportunity to highlight the rich history of Rock Creek Park as the first urban national park in the country," Superintendent Tara Morrison said. "This morning children dissected owl pellets and learned about park wildlife; I saw their eyes light up with the satisfaction of discovery -- maybe we'll inspire a future biologist. That's what this year is about -- having fun, learning, and inspiring people to work together to ensure a great future for Rock Creek Park."

Rock Creek Conservancy announced the nearly two dozen members of its Green Ribbon Panel, which will draft a green paper with observations and recommendations for the park's next 125 years. Panelists include Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congressman Chris Van Hollen Jr., along with Pulitzer prize-winning author Edward Wilson and experts in urban planning, the environment, national parks, conservation, community development, recreation and the arts.

"We are honored to have attracted the commitment and level of expertise of those on the Green Ribbon Panel," Rock Creek Conservancy Executive Director Matt Fleischer said. "While the panelists evaluate the long-term possibilities for the park, we will focus on the more immediate with the 'Find Yourself in Rock Creek Park' app and helping people enjoy the park and volunteer in ways that strengthen their connection and improve the health of this very special place."

A new smart phone app, coming soon, was unveiled. The app will help people plan their park visits and make navigating the trails and attending park programs and volunteer events easier. The National Park Service and Rock Creek Conservancy hope that events during this anniversary year will encourage more people to visit the park and get involved.

Throughout the day, aspiring Junior Ranger attended programs in the park where they learned about owls and other wildlife, the Civil War, and how to care for their environment. All of the young people earned patches and were sworn in as new Junior Rangers.

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About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 405 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

About Rock Creek Conservancy

Rock Creek Conservancy protects the lands and waters of Rock Creek and revitalizes Rock Creek Park for people to treasure and enjoy. Rock Creek Conservancy is recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service. For more information, please go to www.rockcreekconservancy.org

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Pledge to Remove English Ivy

Take Our Pledge to Remove English Ivy From Your Property

English ivy is an invasive plant that is commonly used as a ground cover. It spreads rapidly, kills trees, and damages property. We are currently working to remove English ivy from trees on park lands, but we need your help to remove ivy throughout the Rock Creek watershed. Please take our pledge to remove English ivy from your property and prevent its spread.

English ivy is a major threat to the health of the trees around Rock Creek in Montgomery County and the District. I pledge to remove English ivy from my property and to protect my trees from its spread.

Click here to take the pledge!

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Special Gift

Rock Creek Conservancy has several ways to give in honor of someone special.

Give a Gift Membership

Celebrate a holiday or birthday with a Rock Creek Conservancy gift membership.  Provide the person's name and address on the online donation form, and we will inform them of their gift membership.

Honor a Special Occasion

A gift to Rock Creek Conservancy can mark special occasions, such as a wedding, graduation, anniversary, or Mother's or Father's Day.  We will mail a letter to the honoree informing them of your generous gift, but the amount will not be disclosed.

Make a Tribute Donation

Pay tribute to the memory of someone you care about.  Provide the person's name and the family's address, and we will let them know of your gift.

Advocate for Cleanup of Toxins in the Anacostia River

Imagine not being able to play in Rock Creek or in your neighborhood stream.  After decades of pollution from toxic sites along the Anacostia River, that's the scenario for citizens who wish to use the Anacostia.  In February, a coalition of groups came together to form United for a Healthy Anacostia River.  This coalition intends to raise public awareness of the Anacostia's toxics problem and keep pressure on our local government officials not to let the cleanup fall behind.

To learn more about the problem and how you can help, go here and visit the website of United for a Healthy Anacostia River.  And sign the petition urging the District to make cleaning up the toxins in the river a top priority.

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Rock Creek Conservancy Appoints Matthew Fleischer as Executive Director

Bethesda, MD — February 12, 2014 — Rock Creek Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the lands and waters of Rock Creek Park, today announced the appointment of Matthew C. Fleischer as the Conservancy’s new executive director.

Fleischer is tasked with growing the organization’s resource development efforts and expanding the group’s donor base to increase its impact and support new conservation initiatives. In addition, he will oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization.

Rock Creek Conservancy protects the lands and waters of Rock Creek and revitalizes this national park for people to treasure and enjoy. The creek meanders 33 miles through the Washington, DC metropolitan area, crossing federal lands as well as district, city, county and state boundaries.  Although parkland borders much of the creek, the surrounding development and invasive species threaten the health and beauty of these natural areas.

“Rock Creek Conservancy is uniquely positioned to foster outreach, education and protection efforts to overcome threats to Rock Creek and the watershed,” said Fleischer. “I’m eager to extend our strategy of partnering with government agencies, other non-profit organizations, businesses, institutions, community groups, and residents to work together to preserve Rock Creek Park for present and future generations.”

Fleischer’s public debut with the organization took place last weekend when he oversaw a successful event in which Rock Creek Conservancy volunteers and supporters turned out to help beautify Melvin C. Hazen Park,  a section of Rock Creek Park, by clearing invasive English ivy. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell was among the volunteers on hand for the event.

“We’re excited to have Matt join the Conservancy to help us expand the organization and organize to celebrate the 125th birthday of Rock Creek Park in 2015,” said Barbara Elkus, president of the board of directors for Rock Creek Conservancy. “We were struck by Matt’s background, energy and enthusiasm for our mission.”

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