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.
Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or Laura@GuidingYourMove.com. If…
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Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
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We have 7 tables exclusively dedicated to TTRPG and Miniature wargaming, including 3 custom gaming tables in their own private, themed gaming rooms. This isn’t the normal game store and while we do have a selection of harder to find retail in the back, our focus is on providing play space and gaming services such as an active roster of storytellers with regular scheduled games you can book through our website or Meetup (www.meetup.com/dragons-concord-gaming).
If you’ve been wanting to get into tabletop or miniature gaming, but haven’t because you couldn’t find a group or a comfortable place to play, come down and check us out!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road