Reston, VA

Monday, April 19

  • Game Design Workshop (5:30 p.m.) — Local nonprofit Game Genius, an organization focused on creating games for social good, is holding their Play Week. Join staff member Peter Williamson for an interactive virtual workshop on designing your own game using accessible tools.
  • Owl Prowl (8 p.m.) — Bask in the night and listen for the call of the barred owl, the region’s most frequently observed (and heard) owl. Meet at Potomac Regional Park in Arlington as the sun sets for a hike to find these nocturnal birds.

Tuesday, April 20 

  • Become a Community Scientist (6-7 p.m.) — The City Nature Challenge is now ongoing, asking citizens across the world to track biodiversity in their home cities. Join Jackie Raiford, Montgomery Parks naturalist, as she teaches how to participate and helps make you a community scientist in your own backyard.

Wednesday, April 21

  • Theater Sports (4 p.m.) — Have a little fun over Zoom with theater sports, which are short improv games. Intended to be quick and funny, theater sports allows all to let their inner actor come out.

Thursday, April 22

  • Earth Day Project (1-4 p.m.) — Celebrate Earth Day by beautifying the Walker Nature Center. Help by adding new planting or laying down fresh woodchipped trails at the nature center.
  • Meteor Shower (4:07 a.m.) — For the next two weeks, the Lyrid meteor shower is streaking across area skies. The perfect time to see it is at its peak, which happens to be at 4:07 in the morning. So, get up early, look to the sky, and be amazed by meteors.

Friday, April 23

  • Fighting Injustice (7 p.m.) — Join this virtual conversation with three young adult authors — Angeline Boulley, Tiffany D. Jackson, Sara Faring — talking about their books, solving mysteries, and fighting injustice with writing. The event is sponsored by Reston’s Scrawl Books.

Saturday, April 24

  • Trick the Stick (11:30 a.m.) — Head off to Lake Fairfax to find the perfect walking stick for those spring hikes. Once you find the perfect one, decorate it, take it home, and use it next time hitting any of the county’s 300 hiking trails.
  • Rosslyn Flower Market (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) — For the next three weekends, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District is hosting a flower market. Stock up on flowers, seeds, and plants in a socially distanced manner.

Sunday, April 25

  • Paw-Paw Prowl (5:30 p.m.) — Take a walk around Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly to learn about the importance of the paw-paw fruit in Virginia’s history. While the paw-paw isn’t in season yet (typically, late summer/early fall), get a head start on knowing where to find these unique fruits.

Photo via Peter K Burian/Wikimedia

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Monday, March 8

  • Living in Reston A Long Time Ago (6 p.m.) – Join the Reston Historic Trust and Museum for a trivia night put on by a South Lakes High School student who wanted to learn more about the town she grew up in. It will focus on Reston’s history and what it was like living in Reston in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Tuesday March 9

Wednesday, March 10

  • Paint like Van Gogh (6:30 p.m to 8:30 p.m.) – Create your own Vincent Van Gogh-inspired masterpieces. Join the Fairfax County Public Library staff in using the technique called “impasto,” meaning to lay paint on thickly to make it stand out from the canvas. All art materials will be provided and available for pick-up.

Thursday, March 11

  • Cains Branch (11 a.m.) – Hike the trails in Chantilly and learn the hidden history of this Fairfax County park. Follow the waterway to discover more about the life of early inhabitants who made this area their home.

Friday, March 12

  • Eye of an Eagle (7 p.m.) – Be it date night or family night, see if you can spot the animal by its anatomy at this virtual trivia night hosted by the Reston Association.

Saturday, March 13

  • Drive-Up Movie Night (6 p.m.) – Take a trip to Tysons for a baseball-themed drive-up movie night. Entry cost supports the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and DC Take Steps Program. It’s a double family-friendly feature of “Field of Dreams” & “42: The Jackie Robinson Story.”

Sunday, March 14

  • Birding for Beginners (9 a.m.) – 2021’s hottest new hobby… is birding? As the spring migration season takes flight, join fellow birders at Lake Fairfax to learn how to spot feathered flyers.
  • Founder’s Day (2 p.m.) – A new exhibit at Lake Anne’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery imagines the beginnings of Reston. The art focuses on the seven principles outlined by Reston founder Robert E. Simon. On Sunday, there’s also a reception celebrating the exhibit which will be on display until April 30.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Challah Bread (Photo via Pixabay/dinar_aulia)

Monday, March 1

  • Reston Association Board Election (5 p.m.) – Month-long voting begins at 5 p.m., with residents able to vote online or via their mailed ballot (which is being sent out on March 1). Five candidates are certified for three open seats on the 2021 Board of Directors. Results will be announced in April at the Annual Members’ Meeting.

Tuesday March 2

  • Suburban Space to Natural Oasis (7–8 p.m.) – Kim Young, a naturalist at Annandale’s Hidden Oaks Nature Center, is teaching how to turn a “typical suburban yard into a native plant wildlife habitat.” She’ll go over processes and what plants are right for your suburban space. This is a two part virtual program.

Wednesday, March 3

  • Home Fermenting (1–2 p.m.) – Fermenting vegetables at home have become somewhat of a fad during the pandemic. Join Kathryn Strong from the Virginia Cooperative Extension to learn how to properly do it and the equipment needed.

Thursday, March 4

  • Tom Stoppard (5 p.m.) – Join Smithsonian Associates as they talk with author Hermione Lee about her new biography about one of the greatest living playwrights, Tom Stoppard. He’s the author of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and co-writer of the 1998 Oscar winner Shakespeare in Love.

Friday, March 5

  • Drawing Comics (4–5:30 p.m.) – Let the creative juices follow as cartoonist Bud Little guides students through a four-week comic strip class. Students will learn how to create and illustrate basic cartoons using their own characters and settings. The class is intended for kids. It’s being put on by the Arts of Great Falls, it is in-person, and there’s a 7-student maximum.

Saturday, March 6

  • American Girl (11 a.m.) – Authors Erin Teagan and Terry Catasus Jenning are talking girl power with the introduction of their new books. Jennings is introducing her new series Definitely Dominguita and Teagan is talking about her new series about the American Girl Doll of the Year Kira’s adventures. During this Zoom event, four American Girl dolls are being raffled off, including 2018’s American Girl of the year Luciana.
  • Cider Tasting (5 p.m.) – Drink up with a virtual apple cider tasting. Join authors Dan Pucci & Craig Cavallo of the book American Cider: A Modern Guide To A Historic Beverage as they talk and walk through a virtual cider tasting featuring ciders from D.C.’s ANXO.

Sunday, March 7

  • Challah Challah (11 a.m.) – Hannah Wolfman-Arent, baker for popular Sonny’s Pizza in D.C., leads a challah workshop. She’ll teach how to make the classic egg loaf as well as variations like one with garlic jam. A full recipe, an ingredient list, and a step-by-step guide will also be provided prior to the online class.

Photo via Pixabay/dinar_aulia

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(Update 3/1/21) The public hearing  regarding leasing Frying Pan Farm Park’s Ellmore Farmhouse to ServiceSource will take now place on May 4 as opposed to March.

Earlier: Earlier this week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a hearing in March to discuss allowing Fairfax County Park Authority to sublease the 130-year-old, two-story, 3,300 square foot house at 2739 West Ox Road to ServiceSource as part of the county’s “Resident Curator Program.”

The terms of the lease allows the organization to transform the house into a “Community Integration Center” that would provide employment to its clients through an onsite café and handicrafts specialty store.

ServiceSource has programs across the country including theirs in Northern Virginia for more than 40 years, according to its website.

It was back in July 2019 when ServiceSource was first identified as a candidate to take over Ellmore Farmhouse.

The sublease would be for 29 years.

The ServiceSource – the “resident curator” – has proposed rehabilitating “by making ADA-compliant improvements and incorporating green-building designs in a manner that respects the heritage, historic features and appearance of the property,” reads the board agenda.

Under the lease, the resident curator also agrees to provide ongoing maintenance and property upkeep for the next nearly three decades in exchange for rent-free use.

The Resident Curator Program is managed by the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA). There are four properties in the program: Lahey Lost Valley in Vienna, Ash Grove also in Vienna, Hannah P. Clark House in Lorton, and Ellmore Farmhouse in Herndon.

In 2001, FCPA acquired Ellmore Farmhouse for inclusion in Frying Pan Park.

The house was first constructed in 1891 as a family home. William Ellmore, a prominent local politician who served on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor, operated a dairy farm on the property as well until it was sold in 1945. It continued as a dairy farm for another decade before shutting down operations.

It went through several different owners, including a church, prior to being sold to FCPA.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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Washington Parent magazine readers voted three Fairfax County parks as their regional favorites in the magazine’s 2020 Parent Picks contest.

With more than 11,000 votes, Clemyjontri Park in McLean, Riverbend Park in Great Falls and Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station were all finalists in the contest.

Clemyjontri Park, located at 6317 Georgetown Pike, won in the category of Fun & Activities/Playground.  The park is known as a park for all children.

“It is a playground where every child is welcome,” according to the Fairfax County website. “This park is a place where children who use wheelchairs, walkers or braces, or who have sensory or developmental disabilities, can have a parallel playground experience of fun and exploration.”

Riverbend Park (8700 Potomac Hills St.) and Burke Lake Park (7315 Ox Road) both won in the category of Fun & Activities/Nature Centers.

Riverbend Park is known for its geology, plant life, wildlife, isolation, and beauty, the Fairfax County website said.

With 888 acres of land, Burke Lake Park is most loved for its campgrounds, mini-gold and disc golf courses, and more.

Photo via Friends of Riverbend Park/Facebook 

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To slow the spread of COVID-19, the National Park Service closed the parking lots around Great Falls Park.

As of yesterday (April 6), people cannot to use the lots, the public bathrooms or water fountains at the park (9200 Old Dominion Drive), according to a press release. It is unclear if street parking will still be allowed.

The lot closure comes after parking filled up during weekends in March, Patch reported.

Instead, people are expected to find other parking arrangements where they can obey the 6-foot social distancing guidelines if they choose to go hiking.

According to a state mandate, people can only leave their homes for essential purposes such as shopping for necessities, seeking medical attention or socially-distanced outdoor exercise.

For people who want to stay home, Reston Now complied a list of other ways they can still stay active and fit.

Photo via NPS/Facebook

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As the longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues, Fairfax County Public Schools is offering resources to furloughed government workers after most missed their first paycheck of the shutdown last Friday (Jan. 11).

FCPS plans to hold a second hiring event for furloughed federal employees interested in substitute teaching positions.

The hiring event last week hit capacity. The event is set for tomorrow (Jan. 15) from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the FCPS Administration Center at 8115 Gatehouse Road in Falls Church, Va. Participants are encouraged beforehand to register, complete an application for employment and bring original documents required for the I-9 form I-9.

FCPS’s “No Student Will Go Hungry” program is supporting families affected by the federal government shutdown by providing breakfast and lunch to all students regardless of their ability to pay or temporary financial circumstances. FCPS will also allow unpaid balances to accrue during the shutdown.

Furloughed workers can also look at Fairfax County’s resources online, including a Human Services Guide to seek assistance from nonprofits and a list of free or low-cost events at county libraries and parks.

The county also plans to have a “Stuff the Bus” event on Saturday (Jan. 19) where locals can bring food and cash donations to support local nonprofit food pantries. One of the collection spots will be the Fox Mill Giant (2551 John Milton Drive) in Herndon from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Food, utility and rent assistance is available from the county’s Health and Human Services agencies.

File photo

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Having trouble with deer? Each year, Fairfax County officials hold a meeting on deer management in collaboration with the Fairfax County Authority and NOVA Parks.

This year’s meeting in Reston is planned for August 9 at 7 p.m. in the North County Government Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). The deer management program is conducted will by the Fairfax County Police Department.

The program attempts to use safe and sustainable deer management techniques as permitted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, including archery, managed hunts and sharpshooting.

Other meetings will be held on August 7 at 7 p.m. in the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax) and on August 16 at the Mount Vernon District Police Station (2511 Parkers Lane in Alexandria).

Photo by Twitter user @MrErrett

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Changes could come to Lake Fairfax Park as the Fairfax County Park Authority, jumpstarts the planning process to update the master plan for 482-acre park.

The authority will hold a public information meeting on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lake Drive) to discuss possible revisions to the park’s master plan. The process establishes the longterm vision for how the park will be used in the future and current unmet needs.

Updates come as demand for more recreation and park options grows, according to county officials. The current plan, which was launched in 2001, is outdated as additional parcels and structures have also been added to the park since its creation. Roughly five acres along Hunter Mill Road were also added to the park within the last decade.

“The plan will focus on the features of the added property, potential new facilities, and reevaluating existing facilities to see if they are still meeting the community needs and preferences,” said Judy Pedersen, the authority’s spokeswoman.

The meeting in November will introduce the project to the community and include time for community input as the authority assembles a draft concept plan. At a second meeting, staff will present the draft plan to the community and hear feedback, after which the Park Authority Board will make a decision about the final master plan.

The plan will also recommendations for land uses of recently acquired parcels and potential new facilities, Pedersen said.

“Ultimately, the purpose of the master plan revision is to determine how to best incorporate the newly acquired acreage and determined needs within the existing framework of the park,” she said.

While the master plans lays out a refined vision for the park, it requires capital funding for complete implementation.

The park, which was originally a dairy farm in the early 1900s, currently includes a 20-acre lake with fishing, boat rentals, a carousel, athletic fields, picnic shelters, a skate park and campgrounds. The authority acquired a 292-acre parcel in 1966 and a 129-acre parcel in 1972.

As of mid-October, the authority owns or cares for more than 23,000 acres or roughly nine percent of all open space in the county.

The authority is accepting public comments and questions through Dec. 1 via email at [email protected].  For more information on the planning process and for project updates, visit the county’s website.

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The Fairfax County Park Authority has released the draft version of its latest Parks & Recreation System Master Plan and is inviting the public to give its feedback.

The park system master planning process was first initiated with the 1993 Recreation Demand Study. The plan has been revised several times over the years, most recently in 2011.

According to the Park Authority website, the revisions to the 2011 plan were deemed necessary because a “revision is undertaken when the park system or its surrounding community have notably changed. This is the case with the Fairfax County park system.”

The Park Authority says “[m]any of the strategies detailed in the 2011 plan have been completed despite funding challenges” and “[a]dditional improvements or system changes have also been made where possible in order to address emerging community needs.”

Principles in the “Great Parks, Great Communities” plan include to inspire a passion for parks, meet changing recreation needs, advance park system excellence, strengthen and foster partnerships; be equitable and inclusive; be great stewards; and promote healthy lifestyles.

The goals include to improve and promote natural resource protection and management; ensure protection, conservation, preservation and interpretation of cultural resources; improve access and opportunities for healthy and active lifestyles; enhance and maintain park system quality and condition; advance as an innovative, responsive and adaptable organization; and provide sustainable financial management to advance the Park Authority mission.

Residents are encouraged to read over the plan and submit comments by email to [email protected], the comment box on the Park Authority website during a public input meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 7-9 p.m. at Green Springs Gardens (4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria).

Comments can be submitted through Sept. 22.

Graphic via Fairfax County Park Authority

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Pirate Fest is returning to Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Dr.) this Saturday, May 6, offering the area’s youngest pirates the chance to ride in pirate ships, sing pirate ditties, and hear tales of excitement on the high seas.

Kids — and parents — are encouraged to dress up in their favorite pirate costumes and practice their best “arrrrgh, matey” and head to Lake Fairfax Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission is $10 through Fairfax County Parks and Recreation. For an additional $4 per person, you can book a pirate boat tour with a real pirate captain at the wheel.

Other planned activities include the raingutter regatta, a treasure hunt for real pirate booty, the “Pirate Skills Challenge” with jousting and cannons, fun science and craft projects and more.

There were also be a marketplace full of “exotic treasures” to shop for.

Advance registration for the event is recommended, and required for the pirate boat tour. Visit the Pirate Fest page on the Parks and Recreation website to register and see more details about the event.

Images of Pirate Fest by Fairfax County Parks & Recreation

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