Walker Nature Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Nature House

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

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Reston, Herndon and Fairfax County MLK Holiday Closures

Several government facilities around Fairfax County are closed today (Jan. 18) for Lee-Jackson Day and on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this coming Monday (Jan. 21).

Fairfax County 

Fairfax County’s courts are closed today and Monday.

Fairfax County’s government offices and libraries will be closed on MLK Day.

The county’s public schools will get off three hours early today and be closed on MLK Day.

The Fairfax Connector will run on a holiday weekday schedule MLK Day. A full list of routes running in the Reston area is available online.

Frying Pan Farm Park will remain open on MLK Day, while Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will be closed.

County trash and recycling collection will not have any changes to its schedule on MLK Day.

Reston

The Reston Association offices, including Central Facilities and the Nature House, will be closed on MLK Day.

Herndon

Town of Herndon government offices will be closed on MLK Day.

The Community Center will have altered hours from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. on MLK Day.

Metro, DMV and more

All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service centers will are closed today and Monday.

Metro will operate on a Saturday schedule, opening at 5 a.m. and close at 11:30 p.m. on MLK Day. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day, and parking will be free at all Metro-operated facilities. Meanwhile, Metrobus will run on a Saturday supplemental schedule with some late-night trips canceled on selected routes.

Speaking of closed offices, Reston Now will be on a break on MLK Day.

File photo

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Costumed Volunteers Needed for Reston Halloween House & Trick-or-Treat Trail

Calling all Halloween fanatics.

“If you have a theatrical spirit and are 16 or older, we have an opportunity for you,” Ha Brock, Volunteer Reston manager for the Reston Association, said in a new YouTube video.

The Halloween House & Trick-or-Treat Trail will be at the Walker Nature Center on Friday, Oct. 27, and Saturday, Oct. 28. Hours are 6-7:15 p.m. and 7:30-8:45 p.m., rain or shine. The gate opens 15 minutes prior to the start times along Glade Drive or at the Glade Pool. Children ages 3 and up are welcome.

All times are sold out, but the RA is registering those who wish to be added to a wait list. Tickets are $10 per RA member and $12 per non-RA member. Get on the wait list by registering online at www.restonwebtrac.org.

In the meantime, RA is looking for volunteers to help make the event fun for the kids.

“Right now, my only need is characters for Friday and Saturday,” Brock told Reston Now. “They will be dressed up.”

Costumes, makeup and props will be provided to volunteers, so Brock says they don’t need to bring anything.

“A script is also provided,” she said.

No memorization is needed. Each station inside of the house and outside on the trail will be based on a theme and volunteers will be given talking points and suggested dialogue.

“They can ad lib to set the mood with the kids and families,” Brock said. “It’s all about having fun.”

Volunteers must participate in an orientation on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the nature center from 6-7 p.m. Those interested must also pre-register by contacting Brock by email at [email protected] or by calling her at 703-435-7986.

The event is not a horror show or a haunted house, but the RA suggests families bring flashlights.

Halloween is on a school night this year, Tuesday, Oct. 31. However, neighborhoods are not limited to setting their official trick-or-treat hours, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. But the police department does have tips for trick-or-treaters. Brendan Murphy, Crime Prevention Officer with the FCPD, answered some questions during a Q-and-A about Halloween safety that are archived online.

The RA event at the nature center isn’t the only fun activity scheduled:

  • Lake Anne Plaza will host its annual Halloween event on Saturday, Oct. 28, beginning at 12:30 p.m. That event will include live music, a pet costume contest and more.
  • For $10 per person, county residents can also enjoy a Halloween Campfire for children 3 and up at Lake Fairfax Park on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. “Enjoy a ghoulish ghost haunt and enjoy ghost stories and s’mores by the campfire,” the event registration page says. “S’mores ingredients will be provided. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.”
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Nature House 5K Benefitting Friends of Reston Set for This Weekend

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.

The course is very similar to that of the Reston Sprint Triathlon, according to RA Parks & Recreation Director Larry Butler, making this a “great warmup race.”

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

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Tickets Go on Sale Thursday for RA’s Trick or Treat Trail

Trick or Treat Trail 2014/Courtesy Reston Association

Reston Association’s family friendly Halloween House and Trick-or-Treat Trail returns Oct. 23 and 24 — but get ready to purchase tickets tomorrow.

Tickets go on sale for this popular event at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. They almost always sell out the first day.

At the annual event, Nature House is turned into Halloween House, and a cast of (non-scary) costumed characters lines the nearby Trick or Treat Trail. There are also live animals, jack-o-lanterns and carnival style games.

Trick-or-treat bags are included in the price of admission. Cider, popcorn, cotton candy and light bands will be on sale. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

For more information, call 703-476-9689 and press 5.

There will be three sessions. Click on your preferred date to purchase tickets ($10 per person for attendees over age 18 months).

Friday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 24 at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m.

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