Science Center finds home in Loudoun

8-year-old Ananya demonstrates her invention, a “rolling aquarium,” which she created in the Children’s Science Center’s Garage.

When visitors enter the Children’s Science Center, they are greeted by two distinct sides of the small museum.

To the left is the Experiment Bar, where children conduct science experiments, assisted by family members, staff members and volunteers. To the right, mounted on the wall, is an enormous periodic table of elements showing the names of the museum’s major benefactors.

The Experiment Bar is one of the most popular features of the center, which offers interactive scientific activities for children and their families. The element wall honors the donors who helped open the center, marketing director Dorothy Ready said.

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The Washington Post, July 9, 2017

Hill School Arboretum gets recognition

The Hill School, as seen from the arboretum

Thousands of trees adorn the property of The Hill School in Middleburg, providing a peaceful, natural landscape for the school campus and an outdoor learning laboratory for the students.

Some of the trees at The Hill School Arboretum look as though they could have been there for a century. But less than three decades ago, the school was surrounded by hayfields and cornfields. A gift of land and the vision of a dedicated volunteer led to the establishment of the arboretum, school officials said.

The arboretum was recently selected by the Smithsonian Institution and the Garden Club of America for inclusion in the Archives of American Gardens. The school announced in February that the arboretum was one of 51 properties across the country that were added to the archives last year.

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The Washington Post, May 7, 2017

Beaverdam Reservoir is open — for now

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Beaverdam Reservoir

Last Sunday morning, dozens of water enthusiasts arrived at a cramped parking lot, traveling solo or in small groups. They unloaded brightly colored kayaks, paddle boards and canoes from their vehicles and pushed off from a small incline into a shimmering, 600-acre body of water.

A fisherman cast his line from the shore nearby, while another dropped his line from a boat a few hundred yards away. A great blue heron flew back and forth, close to the surface, scanning for food and occasionally landing on the shore to take in the scene.

The tranquility at Beaverdam Reservoir was striking, in part because it is such a short distance from the traffic and bustle of Ashburn. Because the reservoir supplies drinking water for thousands of Loudoun residents, the scene was undisturbed by the sounds of gas-powered watercraft, which are prohibited to protect the water quality.

The park is open daily from dawn to dusk — but not for long…

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Washington Post, 7/10/16

 

Fairfax schools join green alliance

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Rory Witter, a first grader at Daniels Run Elementary, places a birdseed cake in a tree.

Fairfax County Public Schools — already recognized nationally for its commitment to environmental education — has united with some of the largest school districts in the country to support environmental sustainability.

Joining the Green Schools Alliance District Collaborative with New York City, Chicago and other large school districts will help Fairfax obtain favorable prices for materials that advance conservation and environmental sustainability, school officials said. The group will also share ideas, attempt to influence policy and promote environmental education.

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Washington Post, February 17, 2016

Fairfax recycling household waste

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Daniel Brooks

Daniel Brooks’s knack for finding avenues to recycle and reuse household waste materials is paying dividends for Fairfax County.

Brooks, who manages the county’s household hazardous waste program, has tracked down businesses that accept materials such as latex paint, used cooking oil and mercury thermostats. This generates revenue for the county and keeps the materials from reentering the environment, he said.

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Washington Post, January 27, 2016

Loudoun student heads to Antarctica

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Andrea Mares at the Loudoun Academy of Science

As a student at the Loudoun Academy of Science, Andrea Mares has mingled with residents of remote Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay. She has traveled to Austria to work with a company that manufactures solar panels, and she has presented the results of a collaborative research project to judges in Singapore.

This month, the high school senior will add Chile to her list of educational travels, en route to her most far-flung destination yet: Antarctica.

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Washington Post, January 10, 2016

Willowsford: community with a farm

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Willowsford farm stand

The developers of Willowsford, a few miles west of Dulles Airport, tout amenities common to new communities: parks, community centers and a future regional library. But the biggest draw might be the farmland woven into the fabric of the community.

Willowsford operates a farm stand that sells food grown on site, conducts classes on cooking local seasonal produce, and offers farm-themed camps and educational experiences for children.

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Washington Post, November 15, 2015

Solarization in Dumfries

Solarize NOVA, a program that offers free on-site energy assessments and bulk purchasing discounts for the conversion to solar power, is available to homeowners and businesses in Dumfries through Nov. 10.

As part of the program, sponsored by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the Local Energy Alliance Program, Dumfries homeowners can use a new online mapping tool to estimate how much energy they could save by converting to solar power. The program bases savings predictions on factors such as the size of the roof and the amount of sunlight the building receives, said Robert W. Lazaro, director of regional energy planning for NVRC.

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Washington Post, September 13, 2015

Going solar in Fairfax

Homeowners in Herndon, Vienna and Falls Church have until Tuesday to take advantage of a program that can make it more affordable to start powering their homes with solar energy.

The Solarize NOVA program helps homeowners save money on converting to solar power through free home assessments and bulk discounts, said officials with the Local Energy Alliance Program, which sponsors the initiative with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.

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Washington Post, June 25, 2015

Goats to the rescue

 

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When officials from the Belmont Country Club homeowners association realized that weeds were threatening trees in the neighborhood’s protected areas, they decided to bring in a herd of goats.

Last week, a truckload of about 30 goats arrived in the gated community to begin a five-day feast that association officials hoped would rid the areas of invasive nonnative vegetation.

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Washington Post, June 18, 2015