Top Schools Ranking Released — Some elementary and middle schools from Northern Virginia have made it to U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of the best schools in the country. Arlington Traditional School has the highest ranking in Virginia among elementary schools while Prince William County’s Mary G. Porter Traditional was ranked the best middle school in the state. [Reston Patch]
County Faces Invasion from Plant — You read that right. The county is facing an invasion from an aggressive plant with an otherwise unthreatening name. The plant wavyleaf basketgrass is spreading through natural areas across the county. The plant even sprouts a sticky substance that can bind itself to cloths, boots and animals, allowing the plant to continue to grow by spreading its seeds. [Fairfax County Government]
First Friends of Reston Fall 5K Set for This Weekend — The inaugural event takes place on Sunday at 8 a.m. at Brown’s Chapel Park. Online registration is open until tomorrow. [Reston Patch]
The Friends of Reston Fall 5K will take place at Brown’s Chapel Park, which is located at 1686 Browns Chapel Road. Beginning at 8 a.m., attendees can will travel across paved trails in north Reston. Spectators are welcome to cheer on participants.
A spokesperson for Friends of Reston told Reston Now that the organization wanted to debut a new all-outdoor event that would be fun for the community while raising awareness about the organization and scholarship funds.
“Friends of Reston holds a few fundraisers each year for various projects. We’ve presented the Nature Center 5K every April for many years – pandemic precautions did have bearing on putting that on hold in 2021,” the spokesperson said.
Registration is open online through Oct. 15. Participants will receive a T-shirt and a goodie bag. The fee is $40 if registered by Friday and rises by $5 after that or during in-person registration at the event.
Proceeds from the event will go toward funding youth scholarships and the enrichment of RA’s programs.
Friends of Reston was established in 1999. In the past, it has used funds for camp scholarships, swimming, and tennis. It’s most notable project was courting $1.5 million for the design and construction of the Nature House.
Ida to Bring More Rainy Weather — “The remnants of what is now tropical storm Ida could dump up to 6 inches of rain to parts of northern Virginia and the District of Columbia early Wednesday into Thursday morning…In addition to heavy rain, the storm could bring tornadoes and flash flooding.” [Patch]
Fairfax County Police Gets New Leadership Team Member — “Brian J. Reilly, formerly of the Prince George’s County Police Department, started a new chapter today as the Fairfax County Police Department’s executive deputy police chief. In this new role, Reilly is responsible for the coordination of FCPD’s crime control strategies, policy and legislative initiatives and the implementation of a new data and evidence-based policing strategy that prioritizes community interaction with police officers throughout Fairfax County.” [FCPD]
Local Afghan Restaurant Donates Meals to Refugees — Kabobi by The Helmand, an Afghan fusion restaurant that opened in Dulles Station in 2019, is working with the nonprofit World Central Kitchen to provide home-cooked meals to refugees who have come to the U.S. after the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s government earlier this month. Anyone interested in volunteering can send a direct message to the restaurant to assist with packaging. [Kabobi/Instagram]
Friends of Reston to Hold 5K This Fall — “The inaugural Friends of Reston Fall 5K is coming soon! This video highlights the many ways you, your friends, family, co-workers, and business can get involved, and help support the Reston Youth and Enrichment Fund.” [Reston Association/Twitter]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Reston Association pitched several major capital projects to Friends of Reston (FOR) last week in hopes of enlisting the nonprofit as a fundraiser, but the proposal didn’t go over as planned.
RA staff made the case at the joint board meeting on Thursday (Aug. 19) that it could use FOR’s help to cover the costs of three projects: a Brown’s Chapel event barn, a Walker Nature Center treehouse, and an inclusive playground similar to the one at Clemyjontri Park in McLean — each with an estimated cost of more than a million dollars.
However, the RA and FOR boards both expressed hesitation and even frustration at the appeal, citing a lack of membership feedback, COVID-related sensitivities, and an ongoing budget crunch.
“For any kind of capital campaign, we’d have to see that 80% of the community wants this,” FOR President Carol Nahorniak said. “I’m concerned about the cost…Looking at that price tag, we always know it will cost more. There are certain things I’m just not comfortable with.”
RA Director Sarah Selvaraj-D’Souza said she had heard only about the event barn prior to the meeting with FOR, calling it “embarrassing” that the board of directors wasn’t made aware of the other projects sooner.
RA interim CEO Larry Butler downplayed the pitch, saying all of this was simply “brainstorming” based on examples of potential major capital projects from staff.
This isn’t the first time that RA has solicited FOR’s assistance with funding a major capital project. The completion of the Nature House at the Walker Nature Center in 2019 was the result of a capital campaign that raised $1.5 million for the design and construction.
However, FOR has not been involved with a major capital project since then.
Instead, FOR typically helps Reston Association with a multitude of smaller projects, causes, and programs every year.
The nonprofit made some funding requests of its own at the meeting, submitting a list with items like camp and tennis scholarships for kids, habitat restoration enhancements, and an environmental film series.
The largest ask in terms of dollars was nearly $11,000 to assist members who are struggling to pay their RA annual assessments, which could increase again.
Granting all the requests would cost RA just over $84,000. Both boards will discuss their top priorities on the list at a later date.
However, there might not be much of an appetite right now for RA and FOR to collaborate on any bigger projects.
Board members indicated during the meeting that pandemic-related concerns remain on many minds. Other factors behind the lack of commitment include the potential assessment increase due to rising operational expenses, higher priority capital projects, and the need to hire a new CEO.
Of the three projects proposed by RA staff as potential ideas for collaboration, the events barn drew particular consternation.
According to FOR’s governing documents, the organization is not allowed to help fund a project that would generate revenue — which is exactly the intention of the event barn.
Nahorniak noted that all capital projects take longer, cost more, and garner more intense reaction than often anticipated.
“Friends of Reston just stays away from controversy,” Nahorniak said. “I don’t want to be involved in a project that could embarrass anyone.”
The Friends of Reston is raising $15,000 to help send kids to camp.
The goal is to raise $15,000. That covers the cost for about 27 children to experience a full two-week session of camp, including transportation and a camp t-shirt, a Friends of Reston spokesperson tells Reston Now.
For a two-week session, it can cost upwards of $510 per camper.
“This year, more than ever, children need the opportunity to meet new friends, explore their community, and have fun while learning new skills — Reston Camps provides this, and more,” Friends of Reston Executive Director Kia Cole-Hines writes in a press release. “FOR is grateful for all the donors who make this possible for children whose families are unable to afford this experience.”
Parents who wish to potentially take advantage of the scholarships for their kids can do so by applying through Reston Association’s camp registration process. Eligibility is determined during the application process.
Those that qualify for school lunch assistance are potentially eligible for the camp scholarship program, FOR spokesperson confirmed.
The Friends of Reston Camp Scholarship Fund was first established in 2001. Each year, individuals and businesses from across Reston provide contributions between $10 to $2,000 to the fund.
This year, Red’s Table in South Lakes Village Center is helping by asking diners to round up their payments for meals to the nearest dollar, with the extra change going to the camp scholarship fund.
“We are proud to support this campaign and hope Red’s Table can provide a significant contribution with the help of our customers,” Red’s Table owner Ryan Tracy stated in the press release. “As native Restonians, we’re very aware of the benefits of RA’s Reston Camps and want to help with making it possible for children in need through the Friends of Reston Scholarship Fund.”
While this fundraiser will be taking place through July, donations for the scholarship can be accepted all year round.
Kia Coles-Hines, a business engagement and sales manager for RA, will take over for Katie Shaw, RA’s Walker Nature Center manager who is leaving her position after 16 years.
Although Shaw will continue her position at the center, she said she is working with Shaw to ensure a smooth transition. Carol Nahorniak, president of FOR, said the organization is understandably disappointed about Shaw’s departure.
“At the same time, we are excited to be working with Kia, and very pleased that our new Executive Director has an equivalent perspective of Reston and the good works of FOR. With her strong ties to the community, she is a great match for this organization,” Nahorniak wrote in a statement.
Here’s what FOR said about Shaw and her work
Donors, partners, FOR’s founders, past and present board members are familiar with Shaw’s outstanding representation and administration of Friends of Reston over 16 years, which includes her instrumental work in the successful capital campaign to build Nature House, completed in 2009. In the past 2 years alone, Shaw has overseen approximately $200,000 in funding for projects such as camp and tennis scholarships for children, park improvements, habitat restoration, and tree planting. T
Cole-Hines previously worked with connecting businesses with sponsorship opportunities for RA events and special projects.
“I am extremely excited and honored to become Executive Director of Friends of Reston,” stated Cole-Hines. “As a native Restonian, this position will further allow me to have a hand in preserving and enhancing the community where I live, work, and play.”
Photo via Friends of Reston
The 17th annual Friends of Reston run/walk fundraiser for the Walker Nature Center, the Virtual Nature Center Walk-or-Run, is officially set to begin Friday, Oct. 9, and end Sunday, Oct. 18.
The fundraiser has run every year since April 2004, and it benefits the Walker Nature Center and its Nature House. After initially being postponed in April due to the coronavirus, the event is now a virtual run/walk event and is aiming to attract participation from more ages and abilities, according to a statement from the non-profit.
Participants can select a 5K, 10K, or one-mile route to complete over a 10-day time span. The distance can be completed from anywhere, from one of Reston’s trails to a treadmill at home.
“Reston’s 55 miles of trails have received all the more use and appreciation since pandemic-distancing began in March,” said Carol Nahorniak, the president of Friends of Reston. “This event is an excellent opportunity to put all those extra walks and runs toward a good cause.”
Participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt if registered by Friday, Sept. 25. Registration is open now through Oct. 2. T-shirts will be available for contactless pick-up at the Walker Nature Center’s Nature House (1140 Glade Drive) on Mondays through Fridays beginning Oct. 5 until Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Additionally, those who post photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #WalkerRun2020 will be eligible for prize drawings.
Friends of Reston is a non-profit organization aiming to support the Reston Association with charitable, educational and scientific activities. They offer various programs, projects and scholarships to engage the Reston community.
Photo via the Friends of Reston website
Friends of the Reston Regional Library kicks off a special book sale tomorrow (Thursday) at Reston Regional Library (11925. Bowman Towne Drive).
The sale features mystery, thriller, and adventure books. The timing of the sale is as follows:
- Tomorrow (Thursday), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Friday, Feb. 7 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
- Saturday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
- Sunday (1-5 p.m.)
The next book sale, which features books for children, young adults and educators, takes place at the end of March.
According to information provided by the Friends, the nonprofit organization has raised more than $700,000 for the library through its book sales over the past 15 years.
In addition, it has been able to donate $200,000 to direct library support programs — including $100,000 in eBooks, $25,000 in children’s series books, a Braille printing station for the Access Services branch, librarian scholarships and more.
Friends of the Reston Regional Library is made up of nearly 100 active volunteers who donate over 10,000 hours a year to process donations, run sales and reach out to the community.
More information about the Friends’ other six annual sales is available online.
This Sunday (Dec. 8), the Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive) will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its indoor facilities.
The center invites the community to come by its Nature House for an afternoon of nostalgia and celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. The event features live music, guest appearances from Santa and the center’s mascots, ornament crafting, sing-alongs and a cake-cutting ceremony.
The event organizers also ask that attendees bring along photos that they’ve previously taken and hang them to a wall along with written notes about memories surrounding the center, which will be on display through January.
A cake-cutting ceremony will take place at 1:15 p.m. and Santa is expected to arrive around 3 p.m.
Before the Nature House opened in 2009, the center was forced to turn people away due to a variety of reasons, Katie Shaw, the center’s manager said. Inclusion of the nature house was a gamechanger, she said.
The implementation of the facility allowed the center to host guests and student groups regardless of inclement weather, which Shaw said often left dozens of kids disappointed when their field trip was canceled.
“The fun goes on, the learning goes on. It has been wonderful,” she said.
Though the Walker Nature Center is nearly as old as Reston, Robert Simon included a suggestion for an indoor nature facility in his original plans, which was finally built thanks to financial assistance from the Friends of Reston.
Now, the center includes on-site naturalists to answer community questions, running water and plumbing, seasonal programs for all ages, event space and even an environmental film series for adults.
“Our environment, especially here in Reston, is under a lot of pressure now,” Shaw said. “Having this center here in the middle of this community engages people in something bigger than themselves.”
Photo via Friends of Reston
Restonians have banded together to launch “Light Up Reston,” a community-wide initiative that aims to encourage residents to support charities and decorate homes for the holidays.
The initiative aims to show residents’ community spirit and raise funds for Public Art Reston, Friends of Reston, and Cornerstones. It draws inspiration from Lake Thoreau Entertainment Associations’ “Festival of Lights,” which raises money for local charities and brings lights to the lake.
This year, residents — some friends and others strangers — decided to spread the initiative throughout the.
“With expanding this effort across Reston, we are hoping to raise holiday spirit as well as awareness of these wonderful Reston based charities by raising $25,000,” said Mary Prochnow, one of the organizers.
So far, $400 has been raised as the initiative kicks off. Last year’s “Festival of Lights” raised more than $8,500 for local charities.
Residents can donate funds to charities by contributing the dollar amount used to put up holiday decorations, the number of homes decorated in your neighborhood, or the number of times residents’ have thought about falling off a ladder while putting up lights.
Melissa Romano, who is also helping organize the initiative, said Restonians involved in lighting up Reston were drawn by their common desire to promote “great events in Reston.”
Photo via Charlotte Geary Photography
On Wednesday, June 26, 10 percent of all food and drink purchases made between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Glory Days Grill will go toward scholarships.
The nonprofit organization, which supports Reston Association, raises funds to send students with demonstrated financial need to RA camps this summer.
Glory Days Grill is located at 1400 North Point Village Center.
Over the past 18 years, the organization has launched similar campaigns to raise funds for children seeking to attend summer camps.
Photo via North Point Village Center
Friends of Reston has launched an annual fundraising campaign for camp scholarships. The nonprofit organization that supports Reston Association is seeking to raise $12,000 to send at least 22 students with a demonstrated financial need to RA camps this summer.
On July 18 (Wednesday), 20 percent of all frozen yogurt purchases at SweetFrog in North Point Village Center will go toward the camp scholarship fund.
Over the past 17 years, the organization has launched similar campaigns to raise funds for children seeking to attend summer camps.
“Summer is such an important time for children to stay engaged, make new friends, explore their community, learn new skills – camp is the perfect place to do all of that,” said FOR Executive Director, Katie Shaw. “We are thankful for all of the donors who make this possible for children whose families could not afford this experience.”
Thus far, the scholarship fund has received $5,731 from the Realtors of Long and Foster, $750 from Reston Historic Trust’s board of directors and $2,270 from residents of the Paramount Condominiums.
Photo via RA
The 14th annual Nature House 5K run/walk is slated for Saturday at the Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive).
The event, open to all ages, benefits the Friends of Reston. The course mostly consists of paved walkways in neighborhoods as well as pathways at the Nature Center and through Glade Stream Valley Park.
T-shirts will be given to all pre-registered participants, and to walk-in registrants as supplies last. Post-race festivities will include an awards ceremony and a prize drawing, in addition to the presentation of overall and age group medals and prizes.
Registration is $30 for ages 13 and up, $20 for those 12 and under. Walk-in registration will begin Saturday at 7 a.m., with the race to start at 8.
The Friends of Reston is a nonprofit organization that works to support Reston Association in performing charitable, educational and scientific purposes. The Nature House, gifted to RA in 2009, is its flagship project.
Photos via Active.com registration page
More than a dozen new recycling bins are being installed around Reston in the attempt to reduce trash in the community.
Reston Association says it has purchased 13 custom-made recycling bins, designed to fit the “Restonesque” style approved by the Design Review Board.
According to information provided by Reston Association:
RA staff will install the bins in high-use areas throughout the community, including sports fields and recreational facilities. RA is working on additional strategies to reduce trash and increase recycling.
Mike Leone, RA’s communications director, said local businesses sponsor the cost of the bins.
“We are always seeking individual and business donors to fund the purchase of new recycle bins,” Leone said. “The Friends of Reston, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit volunteer organization of Reston Association, works with our staff doing the fundraising for the purchase of more bins.”
The “Adopt a Bin” program is an attempt to drum up support for the recycling effort in the community. Donations can be made in any amount. For a $1,000 donation, an individual or company can have their name or company logo placed on a plaque on the bin.
RA crews service the bins and deliver their contents to the Fairfax County collection site.
Friends of Reston, the nonprofit that supports Reston Association, is trying to determine which bird best represents Reston. The organization is asking citizens for vote for a bird.
The finalists were chosen by Friends of Reston based on their year-round presence here and ease of recognition, says Katie Shaw, executive director of Friends of Reston.
“In recognition of Reston’s 50th anniversary this year, it seems like a good time to honor one of the wonderful wild neighbors in our diverse community,” says Shaw.
The five nominees: Read More