NATURE, HISTORY AND HORTICULTURE IN FAIRFAX COUNTY
VOLUME 9, NO. 1 WINTER 2009
An IABC Silver Inkwell and AMPC MarCom Award and Hermes Creative Award-winning publication
A Natural Combination By Lori K. Weinraub, Park Authority Volunteer
Virginia Master Naturalists are a great fit with the Park Authority
uzanne Hough was the kid who always turned over the rock to see what was under it. She looks at dirt and sees the foundation of the world. So when the program coordinator at George Mason University read that the Virginia Master Naturalist program was expanding to Fairfax, she immediately signed on. The Virginia Master Naturalist Program was launched in 2006 and is similar to the Master Gardener program. Master Naturalists are a statewide corps of volunteers who provide education, outreach and service “dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.” The Fairfax chapter was chartered in 2007 and is now training its third class. Park Authority employees help train the Virginia Master Naturalists. Fairfax Master Naturalists are a growing part of Fairfax County’s natural resource stewardship community, and the Fairfax County Park Authority is one of the program’s partners. With so many parks and natural resources in the county, the two entities are closely linked.
The Spring 2008 training class, Virginia Master Naturalists, Fairfax Chapter, at Huntley Meadows. Photo by Doreen Peters
session: geology and soils, botany, ecological concepts, stream management and entomology. Hough says the training is intense so that volunteer naturalists understand what they’re seeing when they are in the parks. Trained volunteers who lead bird watches and nature walks know what they are talking about. Those who help clean up can distinguish between invasive and native plants.
There is a good deal of “synergy” between the naturalists and the parks, says Hidden Oaks volunteer Marilyn Schroeder, past president of Fairfax Master Naturalists and chairman of the coordinating committee. Three of the four field trips scheduled for the fall 2008 training session were to Park Authority sites. Fairfax Master Naturalists have volunteered at Lake Accotink Park, Cub Run RECenter, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Riverbend Park and Huntley Meadows Park.
Schroeder says projects, such as the fall cleanup day at Lake Accotink Park, the dragonfly survey at Riverbend Park and the Little Acorns and Forest Fledglings programs for children at Hidden Oaks, have benefited from the knowledge of Master Naturalists.
The county gets well-trained volunteers from the program. Master Naturalists are required to undergo 60 hours of basic training at their own expense and then keep up to date with eight hours of advanced training and 40 hours of volunteer service annually. The training is serious. Consider some of these class topics from the fall 2008
Mona Enquist-Johnston, the Park Authority’s liaison to the Fairfax Master Naturalists and a Certified Interpretive Trainer, continued on page 9
WHAT’S INSIDE . . . Winter Events ................ 2 Park Foundation ............ 3 Colvin Run .................... 4 Preserving History ......... 5 Building Bridges ............ 6 A Bridge to the Past ...... 8 Paper or Plastic ........... 10 Park Accreditation ........ 11 Holiday Shopping ........ 12
p Fairfax County Park Authority • Fairfax, VA 22035 • 703-324-8695 • FAX 703-324-3996 • TTY 703-803-3354 • www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/resources
NATURAL RESOURCE AND HISTORIC SITES BURKE LAKE PARK 7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station Call 703-323-6600 COLVIN RUN MILL 10017 Colvin Run Road, Great Falls Call 703-759-2771
WINTER EVENTS The Holidays at Colvin Run Mill Historic Site Great Falls, Virginia, 703-759-2771
FRYING PAN FARM PARK 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon Call 703-437-9101
Children’s Holiday Shopping December 6-7-8: 10am-2pm Saturday, noon-4pm Sunday, 1-4pm Monday. Come let a volunteer help the kids pick out a gift for Mom, Dad, siblings and friends. Country Christmas Saturday, December 13, 3-6pm
GREEN SPRING GARDENS 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria Call 703-642-5173
Model Train Display December 20, 11am-4pm. December 21, 1pm-4pm
HIDDEN OAKS NATURE CENTER 7701 Royce Street, Annandale Call 703-941-1065
Also coming to Colvin Run: Maple syrup boil-down, Feb. 8 and 15
ELLANOR C. LAWRENCE PARK 5040 Walney Road, Chantilly Call 703-631-0013
HIDDEN POND NATURE CENTER 8511 Greeley Blvd., Springfield Call 703-451-9588 HUNTLEY MEADOWS PARK 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria Call 703-768-2525 LAKE ACCOTINK PARK 7500 Accotink Park Rd., Springfield Call 703-569-3464
Candlelight Tours — A Civil War Christmas Saturday-Sunday, December 13-14, beginning at 5pm, Sully Historic Site, 703-437-1794. Learn about 19th century holiday customs. Prepaid reservations required. $10/adult, $7/senior and child
LAKE FAIRFAX PARK 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston Call 703-471-5414
December 14, January 17, February 7, March 28, and April 25, 8am, Frying Pan Farm Park, 703-437-9101. Spectators FREE
Snake and Turtle Feeding December 27, (All ages), 1-1:45 pm, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, 703-941-1065. Enjoy a presentation and meet several local species up close. Reservations and advanced payment required. $2
Birds of Prey January 3, (Adults), 10am-6pm, Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, 703-631-0013. Search for wintering and resident hawks and owls. Bring binoculars and a lunch. Dress for the weather. Reservations and advanced payment required. $20
Winter Birds of the Coast January 23, (Adults), 8am-8pm, Riverbend Park, 703-759-9018. Winter waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors highlight a day that could end with streams of snow geese descending on the marsh. Dress for cold, windy conditions. Bring binoculars and lunch. Reservations required. $34
Need directions or more information? VISIT www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks
c ResOURces is printed on recycled paper.
Virginia Hunter Horse Show Series
Saturday, January 17, 2-3pm, Green Spring Gardens, 703-642-5173. Learn how to ‘force’ crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths and irises to grow in a dish garden. $15/project includes bulbs, container and soil.
SULLY HISTORIC SITE 3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly Call 703-437-1794 HISTORIC PROPERTIES RENTAL SERVICES www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/weddings.htm Call 703-827-0609
David Ochs Don Sweeney, FCPA David Ochs Production: Innovative Projects, Inc. Published quarterly by the Fairfax County Park Authority, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035-1118. Available at park sites and Fairfax County libraries. Visit ResOURces online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/resources
December 14, 12:30-1:30pm or 2:303:30pm, Frying Pan Farm Park, 703-437-9101. Enjoy a holiday visit with the farm animals in the Kidwell Barn. Take a wagon ride with Santa and see the “Pig-a-Lou’s Christmas” puppet show. Pre-paid reservations required. $6
Winter Flower Garden
RIVERBEND PARK 8700 Potomac Hills Street, Great Falls Call 703-759-9018
Christmas at the Farm
Holiday Concerts at Sully Historic Site 703-437-1794, pre-paid reservations required. $10/seat Richmond Guitar Quartet December 29, 2 or 3 pm Four guitars plus four individuals equal one unique sound. These four young guitarists test the boundaries of chamber music. IONA, December 30 at 1, 2 or 3pm One of the top rated pan-Celtic groups in the world treats its audience to high energy entertainment. House tour included.
Winter at Hidden Pond Nature Center Springfield, Virginia, 703-451-9588 Nature Survivor Camp, December 29-31, 1-4pm Pohick Rangers Jr., beginning January 5, 3pm Pohick Rangers, beginning January 12, 3pm Animal Sweethearts Dance, February 14, 10am-Noon and 2-4pm Weekend Pohick Rangers, beginning February 21, 10am-Noon
PA R K F O U N D AT I O N
A FAMILY PLACE By Paul Baldino, Executive Director, Fairfax County Park Foundation
Something’s coming, something good. And it’s gonna be great.
An accessible tree house
Fun in a spray park
ee District Park, a 138-acre site on Telegraph Road just three miles from the beltway, is the planned home of a unique, outdoor Family Recreation Area that will catch the imagination of elementary school-aged children. It will feature physical and creative play for all. This magical place will combine old-fashioned and thoroughly modern play elements so children with and without disabilities can play side-by-side, sharing fun, excitement and thrills.
The Family Recreation Area will include: ✔ An accessible tree house, literally in the trees, overlooking a forest and stream valley. The tree house entrance will run along gently sloping ramps accessible to people with limited mobility.
✔ A spray park, where water showers from fanciful structures, providing a safe and fun activity on hot summer days
✔ A playground with slides, swings and other equipment specially designed to be used by all children, including those with disabilities
✔ An old-fashioned, fully accessible carousel ✔ A family picnic area with covered shelters ✔ Changing rooms, restrooms and the other facilities you need for a day of family fun
Public funds alone are not sufficient to bring this family place to life, so the Fairfax County Park Foundation is beginning a fundraising campaign to make the dream a reality. If you can help, please contact the Fairfax County Park Foundation, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 404, Fairfax, VA 22035, call 703-324-8581 or e-mail Paul.Baldino@fairfaxcounty.gov. The Fairfax County Park Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All contributions to the Foundation are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
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Milling County History By Lori K. Weinraub, Park Authority Volunteer
Hunter Mill Road, Union Mill Road, Fox Mill Road, Stuart Mill Road, Old Keene Mill Road. Notice a pattern? Some of our local road names reflect our history, and mills were a major industry in Fairfax County 200 years ago. Not far from Tysons Corner today, miller Mason Maddox grinds wheat into flour, just like his predecessors. Watching him at work is worth a visit to Colvin Run Mill. The mill has been around since the time of the Louisiana Purchase, when the country was looking west and had seen its first bank failures. There were tensions with Britain that would lead to the War of 1812, and the German immigration south from Pennsylvania had taken place. Colvin Run Mill in the winter
boosted grain production, combined with improved transportation, kept things humming at the mill until the Civil War.
The gears inside Colvin Run Mill
In the early 1800s, farmers knew that tobacco burned up nutrients in the soil, so they turned to grains in Fairfax County. In that historic setting, Colvin Run Mill appeared. It was a merchant mill, which farmers liked because it meant they got paid in cash for their product and didn’t have to find a market for all that flour after the grinding. It was also a modern mill based on a radical new design by an inventor named Oliver Evans. New farming techniques that
During that period, the mill was a community center. The site contained a general store and a blacksmith shop, which meant farmers could sell their product to the miller, buy what they needed for their home and get their equipment repaired all in one stop. Later, the mill pond became a favorite swimming and fishing spot in summer. In the winter, there were roaring bonfires on the banks as ice skating parties slid into the nights. By the time of the Great Depression, the mill had become “a novelty,” says Colvin Run Mill Site Manager Mike Henry. Modern transportation meant that farmers could earn money by shipping their products to giant companies like General Mills, Kellogg’s or Ralston Purina. The local mill was no longer needed. Dairy farming succeeded milling in the county business community.
Photo by CRM volunteer Mike Toms
Fairfax County eventually acquired the 36-acre Colvin Run property with the mill, miller’s house, barn, three sheds and the remains of the mill dam, and the Park Authority began restoring the mill in 1968. Mark Cockrell’s early 19th century general store was moved from across the street onto parkland. The mill reopened to the public in 1972 with the water wheel turning the stones for grinding corn and wheat. Historian Mason Maddox, who did a lot of maintenance and carpentry work at the site, became the miller by reading old texts. He now operates the mill on Sunday afternoons from April until November, and the flour and cornmeal that is produced is sold in the restored general store. The mill is an excellent display of the county’s history and a chance for parents to slip in a little education while taking the kids out to one of the many fun activities at the park.
Colvin Run Mill will be celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2011. Learn more online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/crm/. 4
Ox Hill Battlefield Park Now Open Thousands died or were injured and two Union generals fell 146 years ago at Ox Hill. It was the site of a bloody Civil War battle, waged in a tortuous thunderstorm, that took place at a critical point between the battles of Second Manassas and Antietam. It’s a Civil War history site that you can visit in Fairfax County. The Park Authority reopened Ox Hill Battlefield Park in September after completing a $700,000 project to construct new trails, erect historic interpretive kiosks, restore landscapes and improve parking. The project is the result of a partnership between the Park Authority and the Chantilly Battlefield Association. The park is at 4134 West Ox Road in Fairfax, at the intersection of West Ox and Monument Road. www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/oxhill/ • www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/resources/downloads/ResOURcesSp08.pdf
A Bit of History Preserved Our Sears House is a very, very, very fine house
DO YOU BURN FIREWOOD? We have an uninvited guest who’s crashing the party and damaging our home. The tree-killing emerald ash borer was confirmed in Fairfax County in July. It’s an Asian insect, accidentally introduced, that has killed millions of trees in the Midwest. The metallic green beetle can spread through the movement of firewood, and the Virginia Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued a quarantine that prohibits anyone from taking hardwood firewood out of the county.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly (holding bow) with other dignitaries at the Spindle Sears House ribbon cutting.
The Spindle Sears House is open. It’s a look at Fairfax County life in the 1930s. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Centreville Day in September, Fairfax County Park Authority Board Chairman Harold Strickland said, “The value of protecting our history cannot be overstated.” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly said he and fellow board members “cherish the preservation of our heritage.” Sully District Supervisor Michael Frey noted that the project was “a labor of love for a lot of people,” and Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity added that “preserving our history is important for our youth.”
Be stewardship conscious. Remember this winter to use local sources of firewood, and don’t transport wood from your home anywhere. Keep in mind that collecting firewood from park land is prohibited. We leave dead wood in the parks to provide habitat for animals and to nourish the forest soil.
There’s more information at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/environmental/ eab_general.htm and www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/ resources/stewardshipbrochures.htm.
Learn more about the house online: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/plandev/mtgilead.htm www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/plandev/searshouse.htm www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/resources/printpub.htm (click on Summer 2008)
Damage caused by an emerald ash borer on the inside of tree bark.
Building Bridges in the Parks It’s not a matter of right and wrong. It’s a matter of understanding.
ne individual may see acorns and mushrooms on parkland as food for animals. Another sees them as food to be gathered for family. One person may think it’s okay to release a non-native fish into a stream to create a new food source. A second sees that as upsetting the balance of nature. One person might think an arrowhead or Civil War button is a fine souvenir. Another sees it as an important piece of the puzzle that is history. There are many ways to enjoy parks and the outdoors. It’s the task of the Park Authority to set the guidelines for how Fairfax County parks are used and protected.
Diverse Viewpoints A person’s view of parkland use sometimes is based in culture or upbringing. Residents may move to Fairfax County from a part of the United States, another country or from a culture where removing plants and animals from public lands is the norm. Lisa Bright of Earth Sangha, a longtime Park Authority partner, describes it as people “eating their memories.” She says they don’t need food from the parks for sustenance, but they are living the culture they knew in their past.
Turtles could be wiped out of the parks by poaching.
Toward that goal, the Park Authority has established Community Connections, an award-winning outreach and education strategy. It’s a philosophy of building bridges between the Park Authority and the county’s residents by breaking through cultural differences.
Maria Demarest of Bailey’s Elementary School says, “The way immigrants see and use parks in this country comes from a different point of view that they bring with them from their own countries.” Demarest, a member of the Superintendent’s Community Advisory Council, adds that this viewpoint “sometimes contrasts with the regulated way parks are managed here.” Park Authority personnel try to educate people about Fairfax County’s philosophy of protecting, rather than consuming, natural and cultural resources. Naturalist Charles Smith says the Park Authority wants to instill the feeling of “a responsibility to protect.” This is a definition of stewardship. 6
Stewardship: Wise Use of Parkland Nature doesn’t completely take care of itself. Humans, who are part of it and impact it, also actively manage it. In Fairfax County, the Park Authority manages over 400 sites with an eye on stewardship. That management is done in a lot of different ways. Wildlife is monitored, and some has to be managed for it to survive. For example, fishing is allowed at most parks, but capturing turtles and other animals is not. There are enough fish, which are sometimes stocked at certain park sites, for some to be harvested within established limits and with proper licenses. That’s not true of turtles, which could be wiped out in our parks by predation.
Artifacts like these teach us about history if they’re not removed from park sites by souvenir hunters.
Taking plants from parks or planting new ones can cause damage. How? In the past, rare plantings have been lost or their numbers reduced because folks just want to harvest or transplant something. Invasive
Setting the Guidelines
plants have appeared in their place. Invasives can change nature’s balances, and that can threaten wildlife survival.
The Park Authority bases its guidelines on the agency’s formal mission and value statements. Part of our mission statement says our job is to set aside public spaces and help citizens protect them so the resources that are there will be available to present and future generations. One of our stated values is “enhancing stewardship,” which means being aware of, appreciating and protecting natural and cultural resources.
Find an arrowhead in a park? Leave it there. Tell a Park Authority employee about it. Each historic object plays a role in piecing together the story of our past. To learn more about the past, we need to know not just what was found but also where it was found. In each of these examples, there is a choice being made. Many times, the choice is made based on culture, personal experience or because we forget someone else uses the parks. If your dog poops and you leave the feces, it’s there for the next people who walk by, and their experience of parkland is diminished. In addition, bacteria from feces, or fecal coliform bacteria, (E. coli is one) in local streams are a significant health concern.
Any guideline we establish honors those ideas. To make sure county residents know the guidelines, we do more than post the signs that are in the parks. We hope to host a diversity forum, recruit more diverse volunteers, make job and volunteer application systems easier for those with limited English and translate more print documents. We want our workforce, volunteers and park users to reflect the residents of Fairfax County.
Find an arrowhead or a spear point? Report it instead of taking it.
The people who work for the Park Authority want county residents to visit park sites. So welcome to your parks. Enjoy them as they are, protect the natural and cultural resources in them, and keep them as they are for the next person to enjoy.
Orchids are among the rare plants the Park Authority guidelines protect.
More information about Fairfax County Park Authority guidelines are online at: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/parkrules/ • www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/parkpolicy www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/parkfaq.htm
Spend a little more time in a park.
VOLUNTEER. Join the hundreds of Fairfax County residents who volunteer, and spend more time in your beautiful parks. For information, call 703-324-8750, or learn about volunteering by going online to www. fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/volunteer.htm.
Reprint Articles Promote stewardship. Reprint ResOURces articles in your association newsletter. Go to ResOURces Online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/ resources/printpub.htm to pull articles. Let us know, and include “Reprinted courtesy of the Fairfax County Park Authority” with the article.
Have a comment for or about ResOURces? Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
C U LT U R A L R E S O U R C E S
A Bridge To The Past By Carol Ochs, Park Authority Volunteer
Retired archaeologist Stephen Israel (right) helps Paul Inashima search for artifacts at the Riverbend site.
bridge over a stream has become a bridge to Fairfax County’s distant past. Archaeological work at a woodland site in Riverbend Park is teaching us about people who lived here thousands of years ago. When the federal government decided to build a bridge on the Potomac Heritage Trail over Clark’s Branch, a routine archaeological investigation was required. On one side of the stream, archaeologists found what they usually find — a mix of artifacts from various time periods jumbled by the natural cycle of flooding and erosion. On the other side of the stream, they hit pay dirt. Nature had compacted the soil to such a degree that it’s possible to trace time through layers of dirt, much like the rings on a tree. Archaeologist Paul Inashima says this makes the site unique in the mid-Atlantic region because workers can carbon-date wood charcoal in a particular layer of earth and use that information to determine the age of pottery, arrowheads or other crude tools found in that layer. Inashima says the discovery is allowing archaeologists to hone in on ancient groups and learn how they lived in one particular season. He explains it this way. If you had a house that was occupied by ten different families over a hundred years and the house was smashed, anyone digging through the rubble would have a hard time figuring out how any one particular 8
Photo by Carol Ochs
family lived. However, if tragedy struck a brand new house that had only one owner, we could get a good picture of how that family lived during that one year in time. At Riverbend, Inashima and his team of volunteers are digging holes nearly six feet deep and sifting through their findings inch by inch. They’ve learned that a large area of what is now parkland once hosted seasonal camps for hunting parties. These sites usually tend to be small. Inashima says, “We know that early occupation is very extensive, which is also unique.” Pottery at the site dates back as far as 3,000 years, some of the very earliest pottery found in the Potomac Valley. Pottery, unlike organic material, can’t be radio carbon dated. According to Inashima, “This is one of the few sites in the entire mid-Atlantic region where we’ve been able to get a radio carbon date to match up with that early pottery. It’s hard to find the two together.” The pottery and other artifacts discovered at the site, such as projectile points and end scrapers used to work hides, are being catalogued and studied. Once research is complete, the artifacts may find a new home in the park at the visitor center. Plans are still under way for construction of the foot bridge as work continues on the archaeological bridge across time.
Cal BP stands for calibrated before present. Think of it as years before the present time period. * The asterisks are years revealed by carbon dating.
Paul Inashima credits volunteers for conducting much of the work at the Riverbend archaeological site. Some have past experience in archaeology while others bring just an interest in learning about the past. Richard Long and Paul Antsen are among them. The two retired federal workers met on the project. Antsen says he finds the act of discovery “exciting,” while Long sounds like a gardener when he says “digging is soothing.”
N AT U R E
A NATURAL COMBINATION continued from page 1 teaches a training session on interpretation. “I think it has worked very well,” Enquist-Johnston says of the cooperative agreement between the Park Authority and the local chapter. Encouraging future stewardship of the county’s resources is important to Enquist-Johnston, and she sees the naturalists as being a natural part of it. For nature lovers such as Hough and Schroeder, the partnership is an opportunity to give back. Some naturalists are drawn to education and thus lead various walks. Others practice what Hough calls “citizen science,” by keeping records of what they see. Still others take part in clearing invasive plants and in watershed management. “It’s an opportunity to help the environment in all the different ways it needs help,” Hough says. “The (paid) staff is delighted to have us as partners. Every pair of hands helps.”
Yoonhee Macke and Emily Whitaker use a weed wrench to remove autumn olive during an Invasive Management Area plant removal workday at Cub Run RECenter. Photo by Katherine Frederick
There’s information online about the Virginia Master Naturalists program at www.virginiamasternaturalist.org/. Many local chapter meetings are open to the public.
Naturalist Karen Sheffield, in blue, gives a lesson during a Photo by Doreen Peters dragonfly survey at Riverbend Park.
Casey Arnold, Christi Kruse, Alison Keck and Pat Boyd monitor a stream at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park during a Fairfax Master Photo by Diana Handy Naturalist training field trip.
Healthy Park Sightings Spring rains brought some surprises to Huntley Meadows Heavy spring rains made for quite a year at Huntley Meadows, where signs of a healthy wetland were apparent. Among the year’s confirmed sightings:
❖ Least bitterns, an uncommon marsh bird that hasn’t spent a summer at Huntley for 15 years
❖ Bladderwort, an uncommon carnivorous wetland plant that hasn’t been seen at Huntley for 18 years
❖ Green milkweed, an uncommon native wildflower not Least bittern
seen in Huntley for at least 20 years
This queen snake was spotted this past summer at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, the first sighting of the species in the park in several years. Their presence is a positive environmental indicator for water quality.
PAPER OR PLASTIC? By Melissa Gaulding
Which do you choose? Neither is good for the planet. There is an alternative.
Did you know? ✔ It takes four times more energy to make paper shopping bags than plastic bags.
✔ 14 million trees are cut annually in North America to make paper shopping bags.
✔ About 2% of plastic bags are recycled; the rest are shipped to China and India for incineration.
✔ It costs $4,000 to reclaim the material in one ton of plastic bags. The material sells for about $35.
ou’re going to the grocery store, so you’ll need bags. Paper may seem easier to recycle, but making paper bags uses four times the energy required to make plastic bags. Paper bags take up more room to ship and store, which uses fossil fuel energy. About 14 million trees are used annually to make paper bags in the United States. Paper bags generally are not recycled into more paper shopping bags because recycled paper fiber is less elastic and shorter than virgin fiber, resulting in weaker bags. So paper’s not a good choice. Making plastic bags uses non-renewable petroleum and natural gas, and only about two percent of plastic bags are recycled because it doesn’t make economic sense. It costs $4,000 to recycle one ton
effective method of the three for preserving our planet. However, we can reuse. The right choice is reusable shopping bags. Many manufacturers use recycled plastic bottles to make the bags. Many stores sell them for under a dollar, or look around your home. You may already have beach bags, a souvenir bag or a fabric bag that will do the job. Reuse any paper or plastic ones you have. As a bonus, some grocery stores give refunds for using your own bags.
When it comes to digging out the planet from under a landslide of paper and plastic bags, the choice is straightforward, inexpensive and it works: BYO. Carry reusable shopping bags with you and use them! of plastic bags. The recycled material sells in the current market for about $35. Many “recycled” plastic bags actually are shipped to China and India, where they are incinerated under much more lax environmental laws than those in the United States. Burning plastic bags produces a poison, dioxin. So plastic’s not a good choice.
So when the grocery cashier asks if you want paper or plastic, respond with a resounding NEITHER! Bring your own.
To make the best choice, remember the three R’s of the environmental movement: reduce, reuse, recycle. Recycling comes last because it’s the least
Author Melissa Gaulding is a Naturalist/Historian Senior Interpreter at Huntley Meadows Park.
Frying Pan’s New Picnic Pavilion There’s room for you and 179 friends at Frying Pan Farm Park’s new picnic shelter. It was built with stewardship in mind. The tables are made from recycled material and designed to be accessible. For rental information, call 703-324-8732.
Park Authority Receives National Accreditation
arks, like school systems and universities, are accredited in order to assure the public that their work and offerings are high quality. The Fairfax County Park Authority is now accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA, www.nrpa.org/), an honor that has been earned by fewer than 90 of the nation’s 3,000 such agencies. The distinction was officially presented October 15. Accreditation is one way to assure Fairfax County residents that their Park Authority is an efficient and effective steward of county resources.
HONORS FOR OUR STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS The Park Authority announced its annual Trailblazer Award winners in September: Employee of the Year – Lee Ann Shenefiel, Lake Accotink Park
Three Resource Management Division volunteers recently were honored with 2008 Volunteer Excellence Awards in a ceremony at Green Spring Gardens. Recognized for their significant contributions were: 夝 Green Spring Gardens’ Lynne Glasser for outstanding customer service and research
Supervisor of the Year – Cindy McNeal, Land Acquisition and Management
夝 Colvin Run Mill’s Kitty O’Hara for her skill in leading tours, handling collections and kindling interest in history
Site of the Year – Clemyjontri Park
夝 Invasive Management Area volunteer leader Greg Sykes for removing invasive species and raising awareness of natural resources
Diversity Award – Sousan Frankeberger, Special Events and Volunteer Coordinator Life Saver awards – Mark Stupalski, Pinecrest Golf Course – Bob Stevenson, Park Specialist Pathfinder Award, for improving patron satisfaction – David Gawalt, Hidden Pond Nature Center Good Neighbor Award – Dan Schwartz, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District – Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts Naturalist Clara Ailes of Hidden Pond Nature Center is a 2008 ERICA Award winner. The county’s Employee Recycling Committee presents the award to county employees who demonstrate exceptional commitment to recycling in the workplace. The Virginia Recreation and Park Society recently awarded its Best Promotional Effort-Circulation/Flyer Award to Tammy Loxton of Sully Historic Site, graphic artist Joanne Kearney and staff photographer Don Sweeney for their attractive brochure “The Forgotten Road” about the Sully Slave Quarter Exhibit.
Cathy Riley-Hall of Ellanor C. Lawrence Park was recently honored for 25 years of volunteer service to the Fairfax County Park Authority. Pictured are Park Board member Frank Vajda, Riley-Hall, RMD Director Cindy Walsh and Park Authority Deputy Director Cindy Messinger.
RMD has New Director The newly-appointed director of the Resource Management Division of the Fairfax County Park Authority is Cindy Walsh, a 24-year veteran of the park and recreation field. Cindy has been the division’s acting director since April 2007. Prior to that she was the division’s site operations branch manager, directing operations at the division’s five nature centers, two historic sites, horticultural center and working farm/equestrian facility. Winter 2009
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MAIL TO: Resources/RMD, Suite 936 12055 Government Center Parkway • Fairfax, VA 22035-1118 or: subscribe through our website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/resources
HISTORIC PROPERTIES RENTAL SERVICES Celebrate your anniversary on our anniversary. Mark an occasion this year by renting a historic property that’s marking its own historic moment in time. • The Forestville Schoolhouse opened 25 years ago. • Wakefield Chapel was dedicated 30 years ago and built 110 years ago. • The Park Authority acquired Stone Mansion 40 years ago.
Get out of the mall and into a park for your holiday shopping. Stone Mansion, marking its 40th year as a Park Authority facility.
• Clark House opened 15 years ago. • The Great Falls Grange was built 80 years ago.
See those and other historic properties on the Web at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/weddings.htm. Or call 703-827-0609 for more information.
12055 Government Center Parkway Fairfax, Virginia 22035-1118
A Fairfax County, Va., publication
EQUAL ACCESS/SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS
The Fairfax County Park Authority is committed to equal access in all programs and services. Special accommodations will be provided upon request. Please call the ADA/Access coordinator at 703-324-8563, at least 10 working days in advance of the date services are needed. ADA/Access Coordinator 703-324-8563 • TTY 703-803-3354 www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/ada.htm
Visit the gift shops at Colvin Run Mill, Frying Pan Farm Park, Green Spring Gardens or at a county park or nature center. See the list online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/resources/ shops/.
SOMETHING SIMPLE YOU CAN DO TO BE A GOOD STEWARD: Skip paper and plastic. Take reusable bags to the grocery store.
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