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Take 12 Steps for Health

Take 12 Calendar


February 2015

STEP 2: BEE Aware of your Natural Resources

From soil and plants to insects and animals, we are all part of a bigger picture. You can help conserve the natural resources in your community by becoming actively involved in keeping your ecosystem healthy and functioning.

Making Healthy Strides

  • Give Back: Consider giving some time to the Invasive Management Area (IMA) Volunteer Program. IMA is more than just pulling weeds. Key components of this program are habitat restoration and a long-term commitment to parks.
  • Go Green: Commit to a chemical-free yard. Weeding is great exercise and won’t harm insects, amphibians, kids or pets. The benefits are so great that it is worth asking neighbors to commit to chemical-free yards, too.
  • Get Active: Visit a nature center, such as Hidden Oaks or Hidden Pond, to learn about our environment during colder days. The Fairfax County Park Authority maintains a number of parks that are suitable for sledding. Sledders must furnish all of their own equipment and engage in this activity at their own risk. Parks with the best sledding hills include: Mason District Park, Jefferson Manor Park, Cardinal Forest Park, Greenway Heights Park, and Westgate Park.

Preserving Fairfax County’s Natural Heritage

Imagine an area one and a half times the size of Manhattan. That’s how much land the Fairfax County Park Authority preserves and protects. Managing 23,000 acres of natural resources in more than 420 parks requires careful planning and collaboration.

The Park Authority has a new plan to manage and preserve natural resources. The plan’s goals fall under four simple themes: to know what we have, to do no harm, to help our land heal and to spread the word about natural resource stewardship. Read the Natural Resource Management Plan.

Significant changes have occurred in Fairfax County over the past 50 years. Natural areas face many stresses that were simply not much of an issue before. These stresses include land development, tree canopy loss, increased stormwater runoff, an abundant white-tailed deer population and climate change to name a few. Parks conserve native populations of plants, wildlife and their habitats. Parks also help to clean our water and air, and they provide open spaces where we can enjoy the outdoors and appreciate nature.

You can support the plan’s goals in a number of ways. Visit our five nature centers and learn from enlightening programs for children and adults. Visit your parks. Learn about them. Become a volunteer and be a good neighbor to the parks. By getting involved and helping to preserve Fairfax County’s natural resources, you will help ensure our rich natural heritage thrives well into the future.

Source: Remarks by John M. Stokely, Natural Resources Branch Manager

The Buzz about Bees

Honey bees have to contend with many threats: pests and, bacterial, fungal and viral diseases, and pesticides. Now honey bees are facing an even greater risk: Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD), a little understood phenomenon in which worker bees from a colony abruptly disappear. The disappearance of honey bees has transformed into a global epidemic, negatively affecting ecosystems in a multitude of environments. Since 2006, North American migratory beekeepers have seen an annual 30 percent to 90 percent loss in their colonies; non-migratory beekeepers noted an annual loss of over 50 percent. Similar losses were reported worldwide.

The impact honeybees have on the human population and the environment is far more crucial than we may think. Agricultural crops rely on honeybees worldwide to provide them with life and guarantee their reproduction. Bees facilitate pollination for most plant life, including well over 100 different vegetable and fruit crops. Without bees, there would be significantly less pollination, which would result in limited plant growth and lower food supplies.

One of the easiest ways to help rejuvenate the honeybee population is to respect honeybees. Learning to preserve beehives and embrace bees’ roles in our ecosystem can be challenging, but the bees have a job to do and threatening their quality of life will consequentially threaten everyone’s. There are also proactive ways to encourage the regrowth of honeybee colonies. Plant bee-attracting flowers, sponsor honeybee research, or even become a beekeeper. Join a local beekeepers' association to become better informed about the care and keeping of honeybees and other steps you can take to stimulate colony growth and combat CCD.

Source: BeesFree Inc.

Are you ready for Allergy Season?

To minimize discomforts during allergy season, start thinking about these suggestions:

  • Find out which pollens you are allergic to by scheduling a simple blood test. Talk to your doctor about starting your allergy medications before the pollens and molds get underway. Non-drowsy antihistamines are preferred. Prescription nasal sprays have become key players in managing nasal allergies. They should also be started 1-2 weeks before your pollen season begins.
  • Keep your HVAC system well-maintained to prevent unnecessary indoor air quality issues.
  • Clean vents to avoid compounding seasonal allergens with indoor dust and other contaminants.
  • Keep airborne pollens and mold spores out by closing windows and doors.
  • Clean and vacuum drapes, upholstery, carpets and mattresses using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter.
  • Use an air purifier to clean and filter indoor air, which will greatly improve indoor air quality.
  • Clean or change your HVAC air filter monthly to trap any pollens and indoor allergens that pass through the system before they can be redistributed throughout your home.
  • Stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when pollen activity is greatest.
  • Monitor pollen levels and schedule outdoor activities on lower-pollen days.
  • During allergy season, shower and/or change clothes when coming in from outside.

Sources: All Seasons Service Network and Health Central




Take 12 Steps for Community Health

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Take 12 Steps for Community Health in 2015 Calendar

Download 2015 Calendar

Download 2014 Calendar

12 Months, 12 healthy goals. Don't miss out on this year's great community wellness opportunities in the Fairfax County community! The calendar contains fitness and wellness tips, ways to improve your nutritional habits, and better health ideas for kids, teens and adults. Also, the calendar contains coupons to use throughout the year. STEP UP to better health!

The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:

  • Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
  • Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
  • Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
  • Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
  • Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!
2015 Healthy Strides Community 5k/10K, Burke Lake Park, April 25, 2015

2015 Healthy Strides Community 5K/10K
Burke Lake Park, April 25, 2015, 7:30 a.m.

2015 Healthy Strides Community Expo, Burke Lake Park, April 25, 2015

2015 Healthy Strides Expo
South Run RECenter, April 24, 2015, 4-7:30 p.m.

We are seeking support from local businesses and organizations for Take 12! Steps for Community Health in 2015. Our participants are the same people your business is looking to attract. Take advantage of this opportunity.



Healthy Workshops and Events are always being added!
Check our events calendar often for great opportunities in the community.

All events are free (unless indicated with a "$") and require advanced registration.
To register, please email Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov.


We are looking for people who have used the Take 12 program and found better health as a result of their participation. We are also looking for any kind of feedback about the program - the calendar, events, workshops, tips, articles - anything that you want to tell us, we're listening! Email us at Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov.


Take 12 Newsletter
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Email: Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov
Phone: 703-324-8423

Mailing Address:
Fairfax County Park Authority
Attn: Take 12 Program
12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 425
Fairfax, VA 22035-1118

All content within www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/rec/take12/ is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health. Always consult your physician or health care provider before taking any new medication, beginning any program of exercise, or following any health or wellness advice contained herein.

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