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Washington, D.C. Environmental Leader Inspires Youth Through Educational Programs

“WETA Hometown Heroes” Features Amtchat Edwards

Washington, D.C. — Amtchat Edwards, outreach and education coordinator at the Student Conservation Association (SCA), is the focus of a month-long “WETA Hometown Heroes” profile airing in May on WETA TV 26. WETA selected Edwards for his commitment to inform youth about environmental conservation through educational programs in the District. His profile premieres on Wednesday, May 2, just prior to the broadcast of “Antiques Roadshow” at 8 p.m. on WETA TV 26 and repeats throughout the month.

Edwards, a native of Washington, D.C., spends his time teaching area youth on the environment and what they can do to make a difference. Edwards’ works supports the SCA’s mission to engage the youth in hands-on service to the environment, building the next generation of conservation leaders. His programs include information on water conservation, the water cycle, plant identification, erosion control, predator/prey relationships, the Anacostia River and local birds.

“Rather than focusing on the doom and gloom of the environment, I try to make people feel good and enjoy themselves while they learn about it,” said Edwards. “That way the environment stays fun as opposed to scary. It’s amazing to see that flash when the kids finally understand that everything they do impacts the environment in a positive or negative way.”

Edwards makes sure that the thousands of elementary and high school students he reaches annually learn about conservation through games and hands-on activities. Edwards works with students on weekdays and weekends throughout the year.

During the school year, Edwards promotes the program in local high schools. He also leads outdoor field trips to remove exotic species from local surroundings, clean trash along waterways and plant trees. Each summer, Edwards and the SCA open the Urban Treehouse at Anacostia Park providing a safe and welcome environment for inner-city elementary students to explore nature.

Assisting with the SCA Conservation Leadership Corps, Edwards inspires area youth to volunteer on weekends, learning though field trips and outdoor lessons, including weekend camping excursions, building trails, restoring river and lakefront environments, and conserving habitats. Edwards, along with the students, also participates in Earth Day and National Public Lands Day events by planting trees, and removing trash and invasive plants.

The SCA is a nationwide force of high school and college volunteers who are committed to protecting and preserving the environment. SCA members meet environmental challenges and gain hand-on experience through internships, conservation jobs and crew experiences. They complete projects in every conservation discipline — from archaeology to zoology — and everything in between. The SCA’s Mid-Atlantic/Southeast regional office, which is located in Arlington, Virginia, oversees programs in the District, Maryland, Virginia and 13 other states throughout the country.

For more information about Edwards’ work, the SCA and volunteer opportunities at the organization, visit its website at www.thesca.org.

Now in its ninth year, “WETA Hometown Heroes” is an Emmy Award-winning multimedia project that heralds individuals who improve their communities and encourages others to volunteer service. This year, “WETA Hometown Heroes” honors individuals who are impacting the regions’ environmental issues through work in many fields, including the arts, literacy, health and education. WETA produces television profiles on selected individuals and their work in the community. To be involved and to submit nominations, visit the Web site at www.weta.org/heroes where you will find volunteer opportunities at area organizations, archived “WETA Hometown Heroes” features, and forms to nominate a hero.

“WETA Hometown Heroes” is made possible through the generous support of Park Foundation, Inc.; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.

WETA TV 26 and Classical WETA 90.9 FM are public broadcasting stations serving Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with educational, cultural, and news and public affairs programming and related services. WETA is committed to producing programs that highlight the history and people of the Greater Washington area. WETA produces “WETA All Access,” “The WETA Guide,” “WETA Around Town,” “WETA Hometown Heroes” and “WETA Extras,” spotlighting local people, places and events. WETA’s headquarters is located in Arlington, Virginia. WETA was founded by public television pioneer and Arlington luminary Elizabeth P. Campbell. For more information on WETA and its services, visit www.weta.org. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO of WETA.

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