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Welcome to the Resource Management Division (RMD) of the Park Authority and ResOURces Newsletter! Here you can learn more about protecting, preserving and interpreting Fairfax County’s natural and cultural heritage.

Go to Who Do You Call? for concerns about encroachment, wildlife, county artifacts and more.

Natural Resource Management and Protection

Natural Resource Protection

Over more than 50 years of land acquisition and development by the Park Authority has resulted in significant land acquired to protect streams, wetlands, forests and other resources. This land plays a critical role not only in harboring wildlife, but also in protecting the regions' water resources, controlling flooding and providing recreational resources.
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Cultural Resource Management and Protection

Cultural Resource Protection

Virginia is one of the richest historical areas in all of America. Events that shaped our country's history happened right here in Fairfax County. Traces of that history are all around us, if you know where to look. Documenting and preserving these clues to our past is essential- if we take action now can we preserve these clues for the future generations of people who will live, work, and play in Fairfax County.
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Stewardship

Stewardship

Due to the county's tremendous growth, sound stewardship of parklands, green space, public gardens and historical and archaeological sites has become more important than ever.

Stewardship is about working together to care for the environmental and cultural resources of Fairfax County. People become stewards for different reasons. They may wish to help ensure clean water and air or share something with their children. Stewardship action can be a small and simple thing, or it can be much bigger. Either way, it all adds up to a Fairfax County that looks to its past with pride and to its future with confidence.

View current and past issues of the ResOURces Newsletter, along with dozens of articles about county nature, history and horticulture in the Articles Index.

Stewardship Education   The Fairfax County Park Authority has published a series of brochures which explains stewardship and its benefits to the public. This brochure series is funded in large measure by a grant from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in support of the county's environmental agenda.

Stewardship Brochures  Click the links below to download copies of the various brochures.  Stewardship brochures are also available at Fairfax County Park Authority facilities and sites, and at libraries, community centers and district offices of the Board of Supervisors, or by contacting the Resource Management Division at 703-324-8674.

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What is Stewardship?  The Park Authority defines stewardship as the careful, responsible and sustainable management of the natural and cultural resources entrusted to the Park Authority by the citizens of Fairfax County for present and future generations.

Why is stewardship important? Our resources, such as water, trees, plants, animals, archaeological sites and historic structures, are not only directly threatened by development, but also require active and thoughtful management. By preserving and protecting our resources, we ensure they can be enjoyed by future generations.

What are we doing? The Park Authority has always emphasized stewardship - it's a key part of our mission. However, we are now taking a more deliberate and active approach to resource management. The Natural Resource Management and Cultural Resource Management  plans focus on building and expanding partnerships with other agencies, groups and volunteers. Both plans highlight the important role that education and public involvement play in stewardship.

Invasive Management Area

English Ivy

What is IMA? The Invasive Management Area (IMA) Volunteer Program is a community-based project designed to reduce invasive plants on our parklands. This unique, volunteer-led program gives residents an opportunity to connect with people while taking care of the natural resources around us. IMA enables community members to help protect the plants and wildlife of Fairfax County's forests while spending time outdoors, meeting new people and restoring natural habitats.

IMA is more than just pulling weeds. Key components of this program are habitat restoration and a long-term commitment to the park. Invasive plant species are difficult to remove and control, but with the help of IMA volunteers, undesirable non-native, invasive plants are removed manually and native plants returned to the habitat.
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Heritage Interpretation

Heritage Interpretation

"I walked up to the field and that's all I saw. But by the time the interpreter finished the tour, I didn't see just a field anymore. I could hear the battle cry of Civil War soldiers, smell the gunpowder, and feel the stampede of men and horses. I felt a chill go up my spine...."

And that's what interpreters do. They weave a thread between visitors and the sites they serve, engaging and connecting us to nature and history in a very real and vital way. As we follow along, our world is expanded and enlivened.
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More than gifted storytellers and teachers, heritage interpreters are professionals that go through extensive training in order to hone their skills. The result is in-depth knowledge spiced with passion and creativity.

Interpreters have their own professional association, the National Association for Interpretation (NAI). NAI describes interpretation this way:

"Interpretation of natural and cultural heritage must be as old as humans. The shaman, storytellers, and elders of tribal groups carried the oral history of their people forward from generation to generation. Before books and modern methods of recording stories, these oral traditions were key to the survival and evolution of cultures. In the modern context, interpretation is the term used to describe communication activities designed to improve understanding at parks, zoos, museums, nature centers, historic sites, cruise companies, tour companies and aquariums."

Historic Sites, Nature Centers, Gardens, and Farm

Historic Sites

There are five fully staffed nature centers and five historic sites within the Park Authority's 23,000 acres of managed open space. They are spread throughout the county and each one has its own identity with its own programs. There is also a A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens and a working farm of the 1930s era at Frying Pan Farm Park.

Historic Properties Rental Services

Wakefield Chapel

From the rustic life at Dranesville Tavern to the life of the privileged class at Stone Mansion, the historic properties under the stewardship of the Fairfax County Park Authority, Resource Management Division offer a unique representation of early life in Fairfax County.

The facilities operated by Historic Properties Rental Services are suitable for all types of functions - weddings, receptions, parties and other social gatherings, as well as a variety of corporate meetings and events.
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Museum Collections

Museum Collections

In support of its mission to protect and maintain the county’s heritage, the Fairfax County Park Authority collects and preserves the material culture that represents our heritage from prehistory to present day. In addition to the original structures and archaeological materials at its historic parks, the Park Authority collects objects, documents and other materials:

  • Associated with the history of Fairfax County
  • Associated with the early history of county park sites
  • Associated with the families who lived and worked at these sites
  • Associated with individual communities
  • Representing the general history, growth and development of Fairfax County
    Read More  >>
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