In the future, Fairfax County residents won’t need to trek to a park to experience nature.
Instead, the park will find them with the Wonder Wagon Mobile Nature Center, a Fairfax County Park Authority initiative that will bring educational programs on nature and the environment to underserved communities and Title I schools with limited access to green spaces.
“Mobile nature centers will allow greater opportunity for communities to come to know the Park Authority and the cultural and natural resources around them,” FCPA public information officer Benjamin Boxer said. “…The concept is to activate the nature that is all around us for those who may not have the means for easy access to one of the Park Authority’s facilities.”
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an initial $114,640 for the mobile nature center with its adoption of the fiscal year 2024 budget on May 9. However, that funding falls short of the $229,279 that the park authority requested to cover two merit staff positions and operating costs for a full year.
In addition, the FCPA estimates that it needs approximately $200,000 to acquire electric or hybrid vans to transport the center.
The county hopes to fill those gaps with the help of the Fairfax County Park Foundation, the nonprofit that obtains private donations, grants and partnerships to supplement the park authority’s public funding.
Earlier this month, the foundation was awarded a $34,000 grant for the mobile nature center from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Environment Fund, which launched in 2018 with its first grant going to the Fairfax County Public Schools Get2Green initiative.
Boxer called the grant “a significant step” in the foundation’s fundraising effort.
“The Fairfax County Park Foundation is grateful for the generous…grant from CFNOVA,” Bobbi Longworth, the foundation’s executive director, said. “The grant will help fund the Wonder Wagon Mobile Nature Center that will teach children in Title 1 elementary schools and underserved areas about the environment and the importance of stewardship of nature and parks. By bringing environmental education to them, it will increase the children’s connectedness to nature where they live.”
According to the FCPA, the mobile centers will be filled with supplies for “a variety of interactive field trip experiences,” from science experiments to live insects and other creatures.
The exact programming remains to be determined, as the park authority plans to host some community engagement events starting this summer to gather ideas from the public.
“Test programs may begin in the fall,” Boxer said.
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The Georgetown Visitation Masqueraders proudly present
Descendants The Musical
Art House 7 warmly welcomes you to our upcoming Fall 2 session of classes starting on October 30th. We’re thrilled to offer a diverse range of mediums and flexible class lengths, catering to a wide age range, starting from as young as 2, and, of course, providing a multitude of engaging options for adults!
Our classes cover an exciting spectrum of creative mediums, including fiber arts such as knitting, modern embroidery, crochet, and sewing. We also offer classes in ceramics on the wheel, drawing, watercolor, gouache, oil, acrylic, still-life painting, and captivating Japanese Suminagashi and printmaking. One of the highlights of this session is the highly anticipated 5-week “Painting the Portrait and Figure” workshop, led by the renowned local artist, Danni Dawson.
For our younger artists, we have specially designed classes like “Art Exploration through Impressionism” for students in kindergarten through 5th grade, an engaging “Art Together” parent-child class designed for 2–4-year-olds, and a “Teen Taught Art Club” tailored for kindergarteners through 4th graders.
Proceeds benefit Fellowship Square, improving the lives of 800+ older adults with very limited income and resources by providing affordable housing and supportive services.
Experience a festive holiday fundraiser complete with savory wines & craft beers, scrumptious hors d’oeuvres, exciting