Stream Cleanup Volunteers Awarded $1,000 for Finding Stolen Panda
Fairfax County Office of Public
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010
Dec. 20, 2004
Stream Cleanup Volunteers Awarded $1,000
for Finding Stolen Panda
Three Fairfax County stream-cleanup volunteers will be awarded $1,000 by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for the unusual discovery of the panda sculpture stolen from Washington, D.C., four months ago. The panda had been missing from its Washington, D.C., location since July 2004.
Stream cleanup volunteers Joe Chudzik, Mickie Sullivan and Tom Nally were picking up tires, bottles, cans and other trash along Fairfax County’s Pohick Creek streambanks when they discovered the missing “Climbing Bears” panda sculpture.
“We’ve got a bear of a problem here,” said Chudzik, environmental committee chairman of the Mason Neck Citizens Association who coordinated the stream cleanup. “The bear was very heavy and large – more than we could bag.” The D. C. Commission retrieved the panda sculpture that stands more than four-feet tall, from the small tributary of Pohick Creek.
“Fairfax County is proud to have volunteers like Joe who work to protect our streams,” said Carl Bouchard, director of the Fairfax County Stormwater Planning Division. “Our streams support aquatic life and are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which is a natural treasure.” Chudzik and volunteers conduct cleanups of Pohick Creek four times a year under the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Adopt-A-Stream program.
The panda is part of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities PandaMania collection of 150 creatively designed panda sculptures displayed in Washington, D.C., May through September 2004. The $1000 award for the recovery of the panda will be split between the Mason Neck Citizens Association and Mason Neck Lions Club. The money will be used for environmental enhancement projects.
The Mason Neck Citizens Association actively conducts stream water quality monitoring under the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District program. Chudzik is a certified stream monitor who volunteers downstream from the Noman M. Cole Jr. Pollution Control Plant in Lorton.
Fairfax County supports volunteers like Chudzik and is dedicated to improving water quality and quantity in the county through stormwater management. The county is working on the Stormwater Needs Assessment Project with a committee of residents appointed by the Board of Supervisors to improve the current stormwater management program. The committee is reviewing the current level and extent of service of stormwater management in Fairfax County and will propose a dedicated funding source for an improved program to members of the Board of Supervisors in March 2005.
For more information about stream cleanups, watershed stewardship or Fairfax County stormwater management, please contact Krystal Kearns, communication specialist, Stormwater Management Branch, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, at 703-324-5500, TTY 711, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/stormwater.
Fairfax County police investigate the stolen panda bear discovered by stream cleanup volunteers on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2004. Volunteers found the bear while picking up trash along the streambanks of Pohick Creek. (Photo/Joe Chudzik)
Stream cleanup volunteers Mickie Sullivan and Tom Nally of the Mason Neck Civic Association were picking up trash when fellow volunteer Joe Chudzik discovered the stolen panda bear on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2004. Stream cleanups help reduce the amount of trash in stream valleys and prevent it from continuing downstream. (Photo/Joe Chudzik)