In September 2018, the Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) approached CHEER to help reach Long Branch community members to become more connected to the Long Branch Stream which feeds into Sligo Creek. Because of CHEER’s connection to the Long Branch neighborhood, CHEER was able to bring dozens of people and a more representative variety of participants to their "What Lives in Long Branch?" events.
One of the major events for this program was the Festival Del Rio Anacostia on October 12. This event looked to connect the growing and diverse Hispanic and minority groups in the DC area. The festival took place at the Bladensburg Waterfront Park on the Anacostia River and included a boat tour for those that attended with the CHEER group. One participant replayed how they saw turtles, ducks, cormorants, egrets, great blue herons, hawks, and a bald eagle. Participants learned how the stream system, including Long Branch, ultimately feeds into the Anacostia River.
After the boat tour, the group enjoyed music and dances from Latin American countries, as well as food and drinks. They were also able to visit different tables representing organizations such as Corazon Latino, Chesapeake Sustainability Institute, Department of Environmental Protection, and many more.
It was a great learning opportunity for our Long Branch neighbors. CHEER is grateful for the partnership with the Audubon Naturalist Society. As we know when community members learn what lives in their own backyard, they become more invested in their community.