Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region manages and conserves Kingman and Heritage Islands, located on Washington, DC’s Anacostia River (a tributary of the Potomac) on behalf of the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) who own the property. The islands are home to Living Classrooms’ award-winning environmental education programming, environmentally-based job training, hiking/biking trails, a kayak/canoe launch, and picnic areas.
The conservation area is composed of two neighboring islands, Kingman and Heritage, which were originally created by a dredging project of the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1916 and were supposed to have been developed as urban recreational areas at that time. However, no development plans ever materialized, and the islands sat abandoned for almost a century, during which time they were used as unofficial dumping grounds and were eventually overgrown by invasive plant species. Thanks to a partnership developed in 2007 with the Washington, DC City Government, Living Classrooms now serves as the manager of the islands and is responsible for restoration and stewardship of this vibrant urban conservation area.
Located along the Anacostia Water Trail and the Anacostia River Trail, the park connects residents from Southeast to Northeast DC, creating an outdoor recreation linkage for urban hikers, runners, bikers, and paddlers. Stewardship of the islands has led to a return of native flora and fauna that is helping revive the threatened Anacostia ecosystem, making the islands an excellent example of what can be accomplished when abandoned urban spaces are transformed back to their natural state. In 2018, the DC City government designated Kingman and Heritage Islands as a “State Conservation Area” and portions as “Critical Wildlife Areas.”
Living Classrooms offers a wide variety of education programming, engaging children and youth of all ages in outdoor environmental programming throughout the year. The programs are tied to local and national educational content standards and provide academic learning in a hands-on and engaging fashion that encourages youth to develop an interest in E-STEM (Environmental Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects and careers.
See our contact information below to schedule a trip!
Learn more about how we are utilizing the islands to train unemployed Washington, DC residents for “green jobs” through our Kingman Rangers Program.
Living Classrooms hosts roughly 1,500 volunteers on Kingman & Hertiage Islands each year from corporate and youth groups to a large number of individual volunteers from throughout the region. Volunteers are critical to maintaining the park as a true urban oasis for wildlife and visitors. Projects commonly include invasive species removal, trash and watershed cleanup, small building projects, and event assistance.
Visit our Volunteer Page for a list of upcoming opportunities. For more information, or if you would like to schedule a service day for your group or company, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kingman and Heritage Islands are open to the public throughout the year for use as a recreation and gathering space during daylight hours. Living Classrooms also hosts several public events throughout the year including canoe tours, hikes, and our annual spring music festival, the Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival. For more information about the Festival visit www.kingmanislandbluegrass.info.
Biking: Biking is permitted on the main trail on Kingman Island and on the boardwalk trail.Bird Watching: There are 100 species of resident and migratory birds that can be seen at the park.
Boating: Visitors can explore the park’s shore to the east on the Anacostia River and to the west on Kingman Lake. Dock access to the island is provided on the boardwalk connecting Kingman and Heritage Islands.*
*Note: The waterways surrounding the islands are tidal; please check Current Tide Data before planning your trip.
Dog Walking: Dogs are permitted in the park but must be leashed at all times. Please pick up and properly dispose of their waste.
Fishing: Fishing is permitted in all areas of the park in accordance with DC Laws.
Hiking: There is over a mile and a half of trails on the islands to hike and explore.
Picnicking: Food and beverages are permitted in the park. Please remember to properly dispose of trash and recycling. No alcoholic beverages are permitted on park grounds, in accordance with DC Law.
Wildlife Viewing: There is abundant wildlife to see throughout the islands. Please refer to the signs spread throughout the park to learn more about the indingenous species that have returned in recent years.
Photography: Kingman and Heritage Islands are beautiful parklands that offer any photographer a wealth of opportunities for great photos. If you are posting your photos to social media, please check-in on Facebook and/or tag @livingclassroom on Instagram or Facebook to share your work.
Students were served with hands-on environmental STEM education on the islands in 2019.
Native plants were planted on the islands to restore and maintain native habitat.
Square feet (about an acre) of invasive plants were removed from the islands’ habitat in 2019.
Pounds of trash were collected from the islands’ shoreline by students and volunteers in 2019..
Number of times the islands were visited by the community in 2019.
Volunteers contributed to our mission to conserve, restore, maintain, and educate in 2019.
Support the Kingman & Heritage Islands Education and Community Fund
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