Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Impact One Day of Volunteering Can Have

Mt. Eagle Park signA park in Fairfax County’s Huntington neighborhood recently got some TLC from a new neighbor.

More than 70 employees of Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) turned out on November 3, 2017, to clean Mount Eagle Park, a little green oasis behind a townhouse development next to the Huntington Metro station. Washington REIT acquired an apartment complex about a mile away last year and chose to clean up the park for its annual corporate Day of Service.

Mount Eagle Park features a playground, a “beach” volleyball court, DSCN0944 Mt. Eagle Pka shelter with picnic tables and plenty of open space surrounded by trees.

The Fairfax County Park Authority’s (FCPA) Area 3 Maintenance Crew and staff from the agency’s Invasive Management Area Program (IMA) developed a list of projects they thought could be accomplished in a single session, and everyone went to work on a beautiful fall day. Washington REIT and FCPA provided the labor. Tree plantingMuch of the materials and supplies were donated, including 25 trees.

Area 3 Maintenance Director Phil Hager and Cathy Ledec, the Mount Eagle Park IMA Site Leader, tallied results that included:

  • More than 3,000 square feet of invasive plants removed
  • 70 bags of invasive plant material removed
  • 600 feet of railing painted
  • 10 tons of stone dust spread on 360 feet of trail
  • A volleyball court edged
  • 40 tons of sand added to volleyball court
  • 18 yards of fiber added to the playground
  • Playground equipment scrubbed
  • 25 native trees planted
  • One sign installed
  • Four signs painted
  • Several signs straightened
  • Exposed wood on the park pavilion treated with water sealant
  • The pavilion floor power washed
  • One bench dug out and relocated
  • Trash picked up and removed.Mt. Eagle Cleanup

Ledec said the largest item retrieved was a vacuum cleaner.

“A good and safe time was had by all,’’ Hager said.

“I was humbled by the energized, enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer team who completed a long list of trail and park maintenance projects,’’ said Ledec, noting that it all was accomplished in six hours.

Ledec said many neighbors taking walks that day and others in the neighborhood stopped to express their gratitude. It was, she said, “All-in-all a very successful day of community service.”

Author Lori K. Weinraub is a professional journalist and a volunteer writer for the Fairfax County Park Authority.

Look for the Little Free Library at Green Spring Gardens

Lending Library 2It’s little, it’s free, and it’s good for you. It’s a national movement that Green Spring Gardens has joined.

Little Free Libraries started in 2009 when Todd Bol of Wisconsin built a model of a one-room school house as a tribute to his mother, who was a teacher with a love of reading. He put the house in his front yard, filled it with books, and neighbors borrowed them as they wished. It was a huge success, the news media spread the word, and Bol was soon making and giving away houses.

Rick Brooks of the University of Wisconsin learned of the houses and, inspired by a program called, “take a book, leave a book,” teamed with Bol to place houses in public spaces such as coffee shops. Most were funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. By the end of 2013, Brooks and Bol had established 2,508 Little Free Libraries.

Fast forward four years. I overhead Master Gardener and Friends of Green Spring (FROGS) board member Tatiana Lisle talking about a little library for the Children’s Garden at Green Spring. Community Horticulture Supervisor Pam Smith was considering placing one near the Children’s or Wildlife Gardens. By chance, there was a Little Free Library close to my home that was modeled after nearby townhouses, complete with spindles, shutters and wood siding. That led me to its builder, Glen Crumley. The retired Navy pilot and grandfather of five offered to build a house for Green Spring for just the cost of supplies. Green Spring is working with FROGS to keep it stocked with children’s books on gardening, vegetables, worms, butterflies, and other appropriate topics.

Keep an eye out for it on your future visits to Green Spring Gardens, and borrow one of the books. You may find this little, free gesture will bring something nice to your life.

Information about the Little Free Library at Green Spring Gardens is available at the park. Author Gioia Caiola Forman is a Master Gardener and a Friend of Green Spring board member.