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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Interest is so high that two local beekeeping clubs say they are being stretched to keep up with the demand. Introductory beekeeping classes offered in Loudoun and Prince William counties fill up quickly every year, and waiting lists carry over from one year to the next, beekeepers in both counties said.