June Environmental Updates: Invasive Plant Removal, Stream Monitoring, Sustinability Workshops and More

Thanks for Making the Environmental Leadership Institute a Major Success!

On Saturday, May 7, environmental experts and 30 local leaders attended the first ever Braddock District Environmental Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute was another extension of Supervisor Cook’s ongoing Community Engagement Initiative. The overarching goal of this Institute is to have participants take the information they learned back into Braddock communities to help transform them into “Livable Neighborhoods.” Special thanks to all the citizens who came out to participate, the great County staff who were able to teach, and our corporate sponsor Verizon.

Invasive Plant Removal

Invasive species are, generally, non-native species that cause ecological or economic harm. Because of the ease in which invasives establish in new territory, these plants make terrible neighbors.
They out-compete native species for the same resources, eventually reducing or eliminating the populations of native species. Some invasive species have more complicated effects which have ramifications higher up the food chain, resulting in fewer native birds and wildlife. The third main effect of invasive species is that they have the ability to alter natural functions of communities and ecosystems.

There are well over 300 invasive plant species that have been reported in our area. To learn more or to report seeing invasives on public land go to the following website:http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/resources/IMA/whatareinvasives.htm

In June, you can sign up on Wednesdays to assist with removal of invasives from Lake Accotink and Americana Park and on Saturday, June 25 from the Pohick Stream Valley Park.

Calendar of Environmental Events in the Month of June

Saturday, June 11, Artistic Rain Barrel Benefit Auction: 5 to 7 p.m.
Location: Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria, VA
25 beautiful rain barrels decorated by local artists will be auctioned off at a reception to benefit the Northern Virginia Rain Barrel Program. They will be displayed at Green Spring the week before the auction.

Saturday, June 11, 2011, Stream Monitoring Workshop at Accotink Creek: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Location: Lake Accotink Park
Help the Friends of the Accotink monitor their favorite stream at the popular Lake Accotink Park. To RSVP, please contact their volunteer coordinator.

Sunday, June 12, Butterfly Gardening Workshop: 2 p.m.
Location: Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annadale
Enjoy a presentation by Dr. Dexter Hinckley where you will learn techniques for attracting these garden jewels and area butterfly gardens you can visit.

Workshops Available from George Mason’s Sustainability Institute

The George Mason University Sustainability Institute (MSI) provides sustainability-oriented education and skills development for Mason and its surrounding communities. June and July’s Schedule include the following classes:

1) Energy Efficiency at Home: Learn how to save 20 percent or more on energy bills with a very modest investment! The class will cover energy audits; plan reviews, and energy modeling to help homeowners reduce energy use in their homes. The workshop attendees will leave this course with a list of companies offering energy-auditing services and an energy reduction resource list for future reference.
Workshop 1: Wednesday, July 13, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Workshop 2: Saturday, August 6, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

2) Water Conservation Workshop: The water conservation workshop will cover topics on water conservation options for both inside and outside of your home or business. Indoor water conservation will focus on options to help save water in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room, while the outdoor component will cover landscaping and watering options to do the same.
Workshop 1: Saturday, June 25, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Workshop 2: Wednesday, June 29, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

3) Waste Minimization Workshop: Packaging accounts for 64 million tons by weight, or 33 percent of all our garbage. Recycling helps, but reducing and reusing is even better! So come and learn how waste reduction techniques like smart purchasing decisions, reducing, reusing, and recycling waste can help save natural resources, energy, disposal space and cost and minimize pollution risks.
Workshop 1: Wednesday, July 6, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Workshop 2: Saturday, July 16, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Location: Green Acres, 4401 Sideburn Road, Room 113 - Fee: $15

E-mail Danielle Wyman (dwyman@gmu.edu) for registration inquiries.

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