Volunteering At Hidden Pond – Not Just For Kids Anymore

Volunteers enjoy the dynamic environment at Hidden Pond Nature Center.

Volunteers enjoy the dynamic environment at Hidden Pond Nature Center.

New Year’s resolutions are usually intended to help us be “better” people in the New Year.  But often they are punishing in some way, and so are abandoned before winter is over. However, you can make a painless resolution that doesn’t involve restricting calories or creating sweat. And you can make it now, just as others are breaking their promises.

Give a little of your time to make a difference in your community and the environment. If you resolve to volunteer, we’ll arrange a schedule to fit your schedule, teach you new, fun things about nature (or maybe you’ll teach us) and help you connect with other volunteers.

Hidden Pond Nature Center has hosted a vibrant and vital volunteer program for youth for years.  A few wonderful adult volunteers have helped along the way with administrative tasks, nature programs and other special projects.  We would like to spread the joy in 2013 to include more adults.  There are opportunities to fit every personality, and training will be provided.

Are you a people person?  Maybe you would like to volunteer at the front desk of the nature center.  You could expand your knowledge of nature without getting dirty or facing the weather.  Handling animals is optional in this position.  You would greet visitors and answer questions about the animals and park programs. 

Another great position for a people and nature lover would be as a nature program assistant, helping staff with programs.  Many of these programs are for children and would involve learning to handle the animals.  Have you dreamed of holding an exquisite Green Tree Frog in the palm of your hand?  This might be for you.

Maybe you consider working with the public a bit like one of those punishing resolutions.  Then you could volunteer for any of numerous other important activities at the park, including animal care, native plant gardening, invasive plant removal, trail maintenance, or naturalist surveys.

If you would like to talk with someone about volunteering at Hidden Pond, please contact Carmen Bishop, or ask for an adult volunteer application form at the nature center.

Make it a Happy New Year beyond January 1!

By Carmen Bishop, Hidden Pond Nature Center

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About Fairfax County Park Authority

HISTORY: • On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. • To date, 11 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2008. Another Park Bond Referendum will be held in November 2012. Today, the Park Authority has 420 parks on approximately 23,168 acres of land. We offer 371 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park System is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: o Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist. o Eight golf courses including Laurel Hill, our newest, upscale course and clubhouse located in Southern Fairfax County o Five nature and visitor centers. Also seven Off-Leash Dog Activity areas o Several lakes including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax o The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter o Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel o An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter o Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel o Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent o A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly o A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale o Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community o Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center o Provides 274 athletic fields, including 30 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 500 school athletic fields PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: • A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. %

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