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News & Special Events

Pierce Park Pays Tribute to Fallen

On April 16th (DC Emancipation Day) the community came together for a deeply moving lighting of thousands of candles to honor the memory of the 8,428 African American men, women, and children who are buried underneath Walter Pierce Park in Adams Morgan.  Parks & People has been working to protect and transform this site since 1993, and we are part of a broad community/government partnership to plan a lasting future for the cemetery and park. 


Marvin Gaye Park Honors his 75th birthday 4/2

 Marvin Gaye Park, DC's largest-ever community park revitalization, is also the world's largest tribute to Marvin Gaye.  The only Motown star ever to sing about the environment, Marvin began his life of music next to the park and gave his first professional performance in Parks & People's field headquarters, the former Crystal Room nightclub now known as the Riverside Healthy Living Center.  On the legendary singer's 75th birthday Wednesday, April 2, Parks & People joined with DC Parks and Recreation and other partners to celebrate the massive impacts of  our 13-year Down by the Riverside Campaign along this entire section of the Anacostia watershed.  


Green Corps Cohort #8 Opens

Washington Parks & People (WPP), in partnership with the District of Columbia Urban Forestry Administration (UFA), Sustainable DC, the DC Department of the Environment, and the USDA Forest Service, will start its 7th cohort of the DC Green Corps on March 24.  The Corps provides intensive park-based job readiness in expanding and sustaining the urban tree canopy, remediating stormwater runoff, and restoring habitats in under-served areas.  This training program gives trainees valuable job skills, self confidence, job contacts/resources, and mentoring.  


  • Certificate upon completion
  • Assistance with job referral and placement
  • Contact with experienced trainers and mentors
  • Connect to urban forestry/ greening leaders
  • Physical fitness, health, and nutrition support
  • Field experience in urban forestry & greening
  • Work with government, community, business
  • Improved job readiness and skills
  • More self confidence and commuity leadership
  • Positive impact on DC community environment
  • Teambuilding and leadership training
  • Continuing Education Units/ other credentials

 CONTACT:  RonDell Pooler at (202) 681-2437 rondell.pooler(at)

Free Tae Kwon Do & Self Defense

As part of Parks & People's new 4H program, in partnership with UDC/CAUSES, join neighbors at the Riverside Center to learn Tae Kwon Do's kicks, strikes, and self defense.  1-hour weekly classes will be taught by Rob Seidel, 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and 1st degree black belt in Combat Kapkido.

Open to all ages 11+ for 1 hour moderate exercise.

Info:  Rondell.Pooler(at)

Sponsored by Parks & People, UDC-4H, Rob Seidel, & Daybreak Ministry.



Event Space

Originally built to be the home of the Vice President, the historic 40-room  Josephine Butler Parks Center offers a variety of packages and event spaces for all kinds of programs.  Our grand home, facing the sunsets over Meridian Hill/ Malcolm X Park, has hosted hundreds of unique events over the past 15 years - from nonprofit and community events to weddings, celebrations, retreats, performances, classes, exhibitions, and conferences.  Contact us today about holding your next event in this beautiful Renaissance-Revival mansion, or in our other facilities at the Riverside Center or greening sites.

About Parks & People

Washington Parks & People began 24 years ago with Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park, receiving the National Park Service's highest organizational award for leading the transformation of the single most violent park in the capital region into one of its safest. We lead greening initiatives across the city -- massive land reclamation, native reforestation,  watershed restoration, public health and fitness programming, urban agriculture, and green job training -- to help revitalize once forgotten communities. Parks & People leads the Down By the Riverside Campaign at Marvin Gaye Park in the Watts Branch stream valley. Join the Parks & People Network or find out more about volunteering to help the parks today.

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Thank you to our Parks Center Partners.

We invite you to explore the programs and events at the Josephine Butler Parks Center, a multi-organization "greenhouse" for advancing green spaces and rebuilding communities.

Riverside Center/
Marvin Gaye Park

Meridian Hill/

Malcolm X Park

 Marvin Gaye Community Greening Center

Parks & People has opened DC's first community nursery, as a base of green job training, native environmental restoration, and sustainable urban agriculture.  The facility has already helped plant thousands of native trees across the city, and generated thousands of pounds of pesticide-free healthy food, and served as a base of job training for over 100 people.  


Your support allows us to continue to restore, improve, and advocate for urban green spaces throughout Washington, D.C.

SEED ($25) Invites to WPP events/ newsletter

TREE ($50) Above + WPP water bottle

RIVER ($100) Above + WPP ski cap

PARK ($200) Above + tree planted in your name

FOREST ($500) Above + Open Space Sacred Places Book

COMMUNITY ($1000) Above + 4 hours landscape design

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Washington Parks & People

2437 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20009