Fairfax County Park Authority News Update: June 28, 2018

Sports and Recreation

June 29, 2018

From: Fairfax County Park Authority

New Party Area and Trackless Train Celebrated at Clemyjontri

Giving credit where credit is due is the order of the day at Clemyjontri Park in McLean, Virginia when officials and local philanthropists, civic organizations, supporters and Park Authority staff will gather to celebrate the completion of new amenities at this popular park.  On Saturday, July 28, 2018, at 10 a.m. the public is invited to brief ribbon cutting ceremonies as the new trackless train and picnic shelter/celebration area are dedicated.

Clemyjontri Park features a unique playground where children of all abilities can play side-by-side. It is a playground where every child is welcome. This park is a place where children who use wheelchairs, walkers or braces, or who have sensory or developmental disabilities, can have a parallel playground experience of fun and exploration.

Representatives from the McLean Community Foundation, Rotary Club of McLean and the Friends of Clemyjontri Park will be recognized for contributing to the Fairfax County Park Foundation which helped to bring the birthday party/picnic celebration area to reality.

Friends of Clemyjontri will also be recognized for funding the Trackless Train and a forthcoming “train station.”

Others that will be recognized include Wheat’s for their contributions of landscaping for the park over several years, McLean Project for the Arts for the redesign and painting of the Clemyjontri Book statue as well as friends and family of Sue Rowell, a longtime contributor to the park.

Remarks will be offered by local officials and contributors, a ribbon will be cut, train rides will be provided and light refreshments served.  For more information regarding the ceremony, please contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662.

For more information about the park visit online at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/clemyjontri.  For more information about the Park Foundation visit online at http://fairfaxparkfoundation.org/

Web: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/park-news/2018/z-ir091               

Fish Survey Detects High Catch Rate at Lake Fairfax

The fish community looks good at Lake Fairfax. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) recently conducted a fish survey at the lake. Fisheries Biologist John Odenkirk, Mike Isel and Robert Willis of VGDIF brought a boat with electrofishing equipment to the lake on Monday, June 11, 2018.

During a survey, a boat is driven around the shoreline, and an electrical current is directed into the shallows. The current causes a muscular reaction in fish, and they tend to turn toward the surface where they are netted and then later measured before being safely returned to the waters.

Odenkirk said the 50 largemouth bass netted during the 20-minute survey was “a pretty high catch rate for bass” in a heavily-fished suburban lake. Submerged aquatic vegetation, which is fairly dense in the lake, may have affected the catch rate. The survey revealed “a lot of larger but very skinny” largemouth, Odenkirk said, indicating they are having trouble foraging, possibly because of the thick grass or competition from black crappie. Overall, he gave the bass population a “thumbs up,” saying the population looked good with a large number of fish in the 14-inch range.

The survey also showed good numbers of bluegill, redear sunfish, and a few large brown bullhead, a sign of high fertility water. No snakeheads were found in the survey. Odenkirk says people have illegally stocked snakeheads in many of the waters VDGIF manages.

A video about the survey is on the Lake Fairfax fishing web page at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/lake-fairfax/fishing

Lake Fairfax Park is located at 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive in Reston, Va. Information about the park is available by calling 703-471-5414 or on online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/lake-fairfax.

Web: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/park-news/2018/z-ir090              

Green Spring Gardens Landscape Added to Historic American Landscapes Survey

The story of a landscape at the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Green Spring Gardens has been added to the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) at the Library of Congress, where it will be held in perpetuity.  HALS is a permanent federal program which documents significant historic landscapes throughout the United States and its territories.

The Beatrix Farrand Landscape is one of the few surviving gardens designed by Farrand, who is widely held to be America’s first influential female landscape architect. She designed the landscape surrounding the c. 1784 historic house at Green Spring for its last private owners, Michael and Belinda Straight, in 1942.

In 1899, Farrand was the only woman among the eleven founding members of the American Society of Landscape Architects. According to Green Spring’s HALS report: “From the 1890s to the 1950s, she designed over 200 gardens for private residences, large private estates, public parks, botanic gardens, college campuses, and the Woodrow Wilson White House. Her recognized masterpiece, the gardens of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., is considered the apogee of her career.”

Green Spring’s landscape is modest in comparison, but all of its essential elements are intact. They demonstrate Farrand’s design principles, which the report describes as “clarity of contour, integration of house and garden, and transition from formal to informal landscapes.”

Farrand likely designed and supervised this garden plan as a favor to Michael Straight's mother, a longtime client and close friend. In 2014, the Garden Club of Virginia restored core features of Farrand's Green Spring garden room, which is one of only 14 gardens by the designer still in existence in the U.S. The report notes that Green Spring's small-scale Beatrix Farrand Landscape “showcases the inspiring simplicity of much of her work and helps to increase public recognition of her important legacy in American landscape design.”

The Beatrix Farrand Landscape can be seen at Green Spring Gardens, located at 4601 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA. For more information, call 703-642-5173 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/green-spring.

Web: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/park-news/2018/z-ir089              

Parking Lot Renovation at Idylwood Park to Begin

The Fairfax County Park Authority will begin renovation work on the Idylwood Park parking lot next month. The park is located at 7715 Virginia Lane in Falls Church, VA. The parking lot will be fully renovated by Southern Asphalt Company, Inc. in order to make it ADA accessible and to provide a dustless asphalt surface. The project involves milling, paving and restriping of the existing park area.

To ensure public safety and expedite the work, the parking lot and entrance road to the park will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning on Monday, July 23 until Friday, July 27. Public access will be restored by Saturday, July 28, pending any weather delays.  All park facilities will remain accessible to the public only via foot traffic during the duration of the work.

For more information please contact John Lehman at 703-324-8434.

Web: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/park-news/2018/z-ir088             

Parks Review Natural Resource Management Accomplishments

From ecological restoration to the removal of invasive plants, the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Resource Management Division is making strides on its Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP). Park staff recently briefed the Park Board on long-term accomplishments and future plans stemming from the NRMP passed by the Board in 2014.

In the fourth year of the NRMP, staff continued ecological restorations at Old Colchester Park and Preserve, Poplar Ford Park, John C. and Margaret K. White Horticultural Park, Fitzhugh Park, and Elklick Preserve. Twenty-four parks were assessed for deer browse impacts, and the battle against non-native invasive plants continued with 132 treatment plans created for 95 parks.

More than 2,500 volunteers donated 7,700 hours while removing non-native invasive vegetation at 55 sites. They were part of the Park Authority’s award-winning Invasive Management Area programs which have seen volunteers provide more than 65,000 hours of service since the program’s inception.

Looking ahead, the Park Authority’s Natural Resource Branch plans include creating a geodatabase of parks and flora, continued ecological restoration projects, and a new Natural Resource Management Plan for Huntley Meadows Park. There are also plans for establishment of a Natural Area Preserve at Huntley Meadows, as well as assessments of long-running programs to control invasive plants and the county deer population.

The coming year the Park Authority will review the accomplishments of the past five years and, where necessary, update the NRMP so that it can guide natural resource decisions in the future.

Web: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/park-news/2018/z-ir087              

Park Authority Wins Eight NAGC Communication Awards

It was a big day for the Fairfax County Park Authority when awards were recently handed out at the annual meeting of the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC). Park staff received eight 2018 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards for communications work ranging from the agency’s annual report and social media postings to individual writer portfolios.

At its June meeting in Fort Myers, Florida, the NAGC honored Parktakes Editor Karen Thayer with a second place award for her writer’s portfolio of human interest stories that appeared last year in Parktakes magazine. Resource Management Division Stewardship Communications Manager David Ochs received an Award of Excellence for his writer’s portfolio of articles that appeared on the agency’s blog, Our Stories and Perspectives.

The Park Authority received Award of Excellence honors in six additional categories: Annual Report for the agency’s 2017 Strategic Plan and Annual Report; Calendar for the Healthy Strides 2018 Calendar; Promotional Campaign less than $100,000 for a campaign that introduced the new Burke Lake Golf Center to the Community; E-newsletter for the Golf Fairfax E-Newsletter; Social Media Entry for the #WhereIsLordFairfax campaign to promote the 2017 Discovery Trail Map; Web Article on the reasons for leash laws.

NAGC is a national not-for-profit professional network of federal, state and local government employees who disseminate information within and outside government. Its members are editors, writers, graphic artists, video professionals, broadcasters, photographers, information specialists and agency spokespersons.

For more information, contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662 or at parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Web: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/park-news/2018/z-ir086             

Get Tips for Al Fresco Summer Dining at Historic Green Spring

Get tips on food and décor and sample summertime delicacies during a tea program on “Al Fresco Summer Dining” at Green Spring Gardens.

On Sunday, July 8, 2018, Chef Nora Burgan will be at the park to discuss the history of outdoor dining. She’ll offer a cooking demonstration of favorite recipes and show you how to make sundried tomatoes. Following the program, enjoy a traditional English afternoon tea at the historic house.

This program for adults runs from 1 to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $45 for the program and tea; $22 for the program only. Reservations are required.

Green Spring Gardens is located at 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA. For more information about programs at Historic Green Spring, call 703-941-7987 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/green-spring .

Web: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/park-news/2018/psa184   

Do a Good Deed for Butterflies with a Native Plant Garden

Do a good deed for butterflies while beautifying your yard with a native plant garden.

Come to Green Spring Gardens on Saturday, July 14, 2018, for a program on “Native Plants for Butterflies.” Horticulturalist Brenda Skarphol leads you on a butterfly safari in the gardens at Green Spring. She will highlight native plants that are great for both home gardens and for butterflies. Learn about the benefits butterflies receive from host plants and nectar sources.

This program from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. is for adults. The cost is $18 per person.

Green Spring Gardens is located at 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA. For more information, call 703-642-5173 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/green-spring.

Web: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/park-news/2018/psa183   

Discover River Fishing by Boat at Riverbend Park

Get an introduction to fishing and boating in the “River Fishing by Boat” program at Riverbend Park. It’s being offered on two Fridays in July – July 13 and July 27, 2018.

In this program, participants age five to adult will fish for smallmouth bass and sunfish from a canoe or jon boat. The two-hour lesson starts with an introduction to boating and fishing basics. Previous experience rowing or paddling is not required. Boats, personal flotation devices (PFDs), fishing rods and bait are provided.

The lessons begin at 5:30 p.m., but this program will be canceled in the event of inclement weather or hazardous river conditions. There is a maximum of three participants per boat, one of whom must be 16 or older. The cost is $16 per person, and each participant must register.

Riverbend Park is located at 8700 Potomac Hills Street, Great Falls, VA. For more information, call 703-759-9018 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/riverbend.

Web: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/park-news/2018/psa182   

You’re Invited to a Tea Party for Pooh Bear’s Friends at Hidden Oaks

Bring your favorite stuffed animal to Hidden Oaks Nature Center for the “Pooh Bear’s Friends’ Tea Party” on Sunday, July 15, 2018.

Family members age three to adult can party with honey, tea and snacks at a Winnie-the-Pooh style tea while learning about Virginia’s black bears. Find out whether heffalumps and woozles are native to Fairfax County. Enjoy a story, craft and short hike in search of our “Fifty Acre Wood” animal friends. Play a game of Poohsticks, too.

The program runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m., and the cost is $15 per person. Children must be accompanied by an adult registered in the program.

Hidden Oaks Nature Center is located at 7701 Royce Street, Annandale, VA. For more information, call 703-941-1065 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/hidden-oaks.

Web: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/park-news/2018/psa181   

Get Tips Just in Time for Summer Photo Outings in the Parks

See the park wonders that others have captured with their cameras and get some tips on how to make the most of your DSLR or smartphone camera in the July issue of the Park Authority’s Snapshots newsletter https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/snapshots-e-newsletter-july-2018.

For folks who rely on a smartphone for photography, this edition of Snapshots provides pointers from a professional on how to take the best nature shots with your smartphone. For more serious photographers, learn a technique for capturing better shots of wildlife in action. History buffs will enjoy seeking Sully Historic Site through the lens of a camera that’s been taking panoramic shots since around 1900.

The July Snapshots also features some photos of eagles and owls nesting in the parks this spring, and suggestions for photo shoots with your high school senior who may soon be leaving the nest.

Snapshots is a periodic newsletter emailed to photographers who hold commercial photography permits for Fairfax County parks. It’s available on the web, too, and to anyone who subscribes by clicking on the Photography box at: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/e-news.

Web: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/park-news/2018/psa180   

Community Celebrates New Hidden Pond Playground & Shelter

On Saturday, June 23, 2018, park leaders, staff, volunteers and community members gathered at Hidden Pond Nature Center to celebrate the new playground and picnic shelter. The new nature-themed playground features several structures to accommodate play for ages 2 to 12, including swings for all ages. A pre-fabricated multi-use shelter was erected at the site of the old playground. This shaded area expands picnic facilities at the site. The project also includes site improvements to meet ADA standards and improve accessibility.

Pictured in the photo, from left to right (in front): Cindy Walsh, Director, Park Authority Resource Management Division; Isabel Villarroel, Project Manager, Park Authority; Aimee Vosper, Deputy Director/Chief of Business Development, Park Authority; Mike Thompson, Springfield Rep, Park Authority Board; Senator Dave Marsden, Virginia’s 37th District; Bill McCabe, Office of Supervisor Pat Herrity, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Springfield Rep; Mike McCaffrey, Manager, Hidden Pond Nature Center; Gary Schankmen, community member; Mary Olien, Site Operations Manager, Park Authority; Michelle Alexander, Visitor Services Manager, Hidden Pond Nature Center; pictured along with Hidden Pond volunteers, staff and visitors on hand to celebrate the new playground structure.

Media Note: Download the photo at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/cutlines

See more photos at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ffxparks/albums/72157668491993277