Signs of the Times: Local Nonprofit Raises More Than $125,000 to Bring New Signage, Pet Waste Station to Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens


September 7, 2022                          (202) 876-2992 /

Residents, Tourists Better Directed to Nation’s Only National Park Devoted to Aquatic Plant Life

WASHINGTON, DC — Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, the official nonprofit fundraising partner of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens located in Washington, DC’s Ward 7, is successfully putting the nation’s only national park unit devoted to aquatic plant life on the map by adding more signage. In addition to the waysides and new welcome signs, the organization has added a pet waste station at the neighboring Kenilworth Park.

From left to right: Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (FoKAG) Executive Director Tina O’Connell, National Capital Parks East (NACE) Superintendent Tara Morrison, NACE Chief of Visitor Services Vince Vaise, FoKAG Volunteer & Program Coordinator Shannah Cumberbatch.

There is now a sign at both entrances to the park – one at the parking lot along Anacostia Ave for those traveling by roadway and one at the Anacostia River Trail entrance for those traveling by bike or foot.  In addition, Friends added a directional sign at Douglas St. and Anacostia Ave. NE, a new sign for the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Visitor Center, as well as six more educational wayside exhibits. A pet waste station, too, is now located at Kenilworth Park at Anacostia Ave. NE, and 40th St, NE, a request made by the community.

“Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens has been working to improve the visitor experience in cooperation with the National Capital Parks-East for nearly 20 years. This refresh is something both National Capital Parks-East and park visitors wanted, and we are thankful to our funders and supporters for allowing us to make it happen,” said Tina O’Connell, Executive Director of Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. “In 2018, we provided more than $175,000 in park enhancements supporting new educational waysides, and wayfinder signs, bike racks, a water bottle refill station and we wanted to complete the effort with more visible entrance signs that celebrate the fact that this is a National Park here in Ward 7. Now, folks coming off Highway 295, and walking into the neighborhood from the Metro will be able to more easily navigate to this neighborhood national park. We hope to get signage on 295 and throughout the community in years to come.”

National Park Service’s National Capital Parks-East manages Anacostia Park which includes Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Fort Circle Parks and Fort Dupont. For 20 years, Friends of Kenilworth Gardens has assisted the Ward 7 park with infrastructure improvements like these, and by leading community clean ups, hosting activities and events for young people and families, like wellness activities and the Lotus & Water Lily Festival. The addition of the signs is the latest effort in the partnership to maintain a welcoming, well-maintained and well-enjoyed neighborhood national park. 

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is such a great place to enjoy year-round. This investment will help neighbors and visitors more easily locate the park, learn more about the park’s history, and feel comfortable and prepared to bring their families, including their pets, to enjoy and respect this oasis,” said Tara Morrison, Superintendent of National Parks. “Partnership works and we’re happy to have Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on our team in an effort to enhance a very unique park on behalf of park neighbors and visitors.” 

The pet waste station installation is a direct result of Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens listening to community members’ concerns around the need to keep the adjacent community clean, and also further open up Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to dog walkers. The station has been installed at Kenilworth Park at 40th Street and Anacostia Avenue, near the Kenilworth Park tennis courts.

“Given our close proximity to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and Kenilworth Park overall, we consider ourselves its unique caregivers,” said Junel Jeffrey, a dog-owning park neighbor and Eastland Gardens Civic Association president. “Adding this pet waste station helps keep our park clean, and further illustrates the impact of community engagement. We all have to do our part, and it feels great to work hand in hand with Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on this important project. The Eastland Gardens community is thankful for the special relationship we share with them.”

From left to right: National Capital Parks East (NACE) Chief of Partnerships, Volunteer & Youth Programs Michael Chambers II, Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (FoKAG) Executive Director Tina O’Connell, NACE Superintendent Tara Morrison, NACE Chief of Visitor Services Vince Vaise, FoKAG Volunteer & Program Coordinator Shannah Cumberbatch.

Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is the official National Park Service partner organization that helps celebrate and preserve Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens through public engagement, programming, and project support. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is open year-round and offers opportunities for all ages and interests. It’s a great destination for birding, wildlife viewing, photography, picnics, volunteering and school groups. For more information visit

For interviews, contact Zerline Hughes Spruill at or 202.876.2992.

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