Queen Richardson is a proud graduate of the first cohort of LAYC’s River Corps program. She credits the program with igniting her passion for environmental advocacy and exposing her to a career pathway dedicated to preserving water quality in the District of Columbia.
As part of the River Corps program, Queen and nine of her peers completed five months of in-class and hands-on training in storm water management and environmental restoration, related to watershed protection and the conservation of native ecosystems. Funded by the DC Department of Energy & Environment (DC DOEE), the program’s hands-on training included photo monitoring of streams in DC to track restoration progress, invasive species removal, and River Smart Home inspections. Queen, the only woman in her cohort, graduated from the program with advanced knowledge of green infrastructure and certifications in child and adult First Aid CPR/AED, pesticide application, and erosion and sediment control.
For Queen, the time in the program was enlightening: “I didn’t know about the issues related to water quality in DC. I have lived near the Anacostia River my whole life, and this experience connected everything for me.” This connection has evolved into a budding career dedicated to improving water quality. After completing River Corps, Queen was quickly hired by DC DOEE as an intern, first as a summer youth leader and then as an administrative assistant. Those experiences have led to her current position as the RiverSmart Homes program assistant at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Queen is also enrolled in school to become an IT technician and plans to integrate all of these skills into a long-term career focused on environmental work. Queen notes that River Corps gave her valuable skills and experience that prepared her to excel in her current positions. She admits that she would never have thought about water restoration as a career pathway, but credits the engaging and exciting experiences in River Corps, along with the support of River Corps staff, as the keys to her success. She proudly boasts that she took on many challenges and faced her fears—including wading into waist-deep water to conduct testing!
Not only has Queen committed to a career in water conservation and restoration, but she has also become an advocate for behavioral change for her friends and family. As a dedicated mom to her two-year-old daughter, Queen is committed to educating her on green issues and models proper water use and conservation. Queen’s admirable commitment to environmental efforts are now part of her everyday life and will have a positive impact on the community!