Virginia to Lift All Capacity Restrictions on June 15 — If COVID-19 cases continue to decline, Gov. Ralph Northam will lift all remaining capacity limits on businesses on June 15, as suggested last week. He has not decided whether to extend the state of emergency set to expire on June 30, a move that would be necessary to keep mask requirements in place. [WTOP]
Anti-War Activist Disrupts General Dynamics Meeting — The co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink disrupted General Dynamics’ annual shareholder meeting in Reston earlier this week, accusing the company of contributing to war, particularly in Yemen, by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries. General Dynamics’ CEO called the comments “potentially libelous and incorrect.” [Common Dreams]
Town Center Parkway Study Comments Due Today — Friday (May 7) is the deadline for the public to provide feedback on the Virginia Department of Transportation’s study of the feasibility of extending Town Center Parkway under the Dulles Toll Road. Comments can be shared via mail, email, or online survey. [VDOT NOVA/Twitter]
Herndon Company to Launch Satellites — Black Sky announced yesterday (Thursday) that it will deploy two more satellites on May 15 as part of an ongoing mission to launch nine “high-resolution multi-spectral” satellites by the end of 2021. The move will allow the company to expand its satellite network as it prepares to go public. [Business Wire]
Cicadas Spotted in Reston — “Based on some pretty sophisticated data analytics (on the four reported sightings), we can conclude that like Realtors, Brood X apparently prefers fashionable North Reston by a (checks supercomputer) three-to-one margin.” [Restonian]
Worldgate Fitness Facility Affiliate Owner Declares Bankruptcy — Sport and Health Virginia Properties filed for bankruptcy in Alexandria on April 22, about two months after the company had its lease for the Worldgate Sport & Health fitness facility in Herndon terminated. The Worldgate facility is now under new management and has been renamed the Worldgate Athletic Club & Spa. [Washington Business Journal]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
The cicadas are about to take over the world, or at least much of the East Coast, including Fairfax County.
After biding their time for the past 17 years, Brood X could start emerging in full force as soon as today (Monday), according to the first-ever cicada forecast by The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.
From animals digging for a snack to holes in the earth made by cicada nymphs burrowing up from their underground lairs, signs of the insects’ impending arrival have become more plentiful in recent weeks. In fact, a few bugs have already been spotted, summoned out of their exoskeletons early by the rapidly warming weather.
— Doug Errett (@MrErrett) April 28, 2021
The prospect of millions of winged insects crawling out of the ground might convince some people to stay inside until July, but as Fairfax County Park Authority naturalist and education and outreach manager Tammy Schwab told Reston Now in March, cicadas are harmless — even edible.
In addition, while some annual cicadas pop up every year, the once-every-other-decade appearances of the periodical variety are natural phenomena unique to the U.S., a product of the creatures’ unusually long life cycles.
Fairfax County has been doing its part to turn anxiety over Brood X into excitement, inviting community members to a game of Cicada Stroll Bingo and highlighting the environmental benefits of cicadas.
How are you planning to greet Brood X? Are you ready to embrace the swarm, or does the idea of stepping outside in the next two months fill you with dread?
Monday, April 12
- Rock the Park (10-11:30 a.m.) — Find a new pet rock! Join NoVa Parks staff for a hike down to the stream at Potomac Overlook Regional Park to introduce yourself to a new rock friend. Then, paint it in whatever colors and designs you like. Afterward, search the nature center for more pet rocks hidden by staff.
Tuesday April 13
- Cicadas in Your Garden (7-8 p.m.) — Prepare your garden for Brood X. Adria Bordas, a horticulturalist with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, will help local gardeners prepare — and protect — their gardens from the millions of cicadas that are set to emerge in our area come May. This is a virtual event.
- RA Annual Meeting & Election Results (7 p.m.) — Join about 60,000 other Reston Association members for the organization’s annual meeting, which will be followed by the announcement of 2021 Board of Directors election results.
Wednesday, April 14
- Fundamentals of Falling (6-7 p.m.) — Learn how to take a fall safely while exercising. This course from Fairfax County Public Library and the Virginia Spine Institute will help you learn movement patterns and techniques to reduce the risk of injury when you inevitably fall while exercising.
Thursday, April 15
- Yoga with the Magnolias (5:30-6:30 p.m.) — Take a small, socially distant, in-person yoga class at Carlyle House Historic Park’s Magnolia Terrace in Alexandria. The class is limited to six students to ensure proper spacing. Find a gentle flow while peering into the beautiful scenery.
Friday, April 16
- World of BBQ (6 p.m.) — Hear James Beard Award-winning chef Rodney Scott talk about the secrets of barbeque in this virtual event hosted by Barnes and Noble and accessible via the store in the Mosaic District.
Saturday, April 17
- Pollinator Garden Dedication (10 a.m.) — Join in-person or virtually for the dedication ceremony of the new Margaret Kinder Education and Pollinator Garden at Lake Accotink Park. The pollinator garden has 800 plants of 14 varieties with a number of interpretive signs. Kinder, its namesake, is a county educator, naturalist, and a longtime volunteer at the park.
- Nature Kayaking (2-4 p.m.) — Paddle Lake Fairfax in a kayak with a Fairfax County Parks Authority naturalist. Learn about all the flora and fauna in the lake and what might be swimming underneath your kayak. A single kayak rental is included in the cost.
Sunday, April 18
- Bird Walk (7:30-10:30 a.m.) — Join fellow birders for an early morning walk around Bright Pond in Reston. A limited number of participants are allowed, and masks must be worn at all times.
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
The blooming, pink-tinged flowers have long served as a symbolic announcement of spring’s arrival in the D.C. area, but the sight might be especially welcome this year after a winter that proved challenging for reasons only partly related to the weather.
“It [always] gets quite busy here this time of the year,” Meadowlark park specialist Jeff Hill said. “But this year, there’s a slight edge of frenziness to it.”
Run by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks), Meadowlark is home to at least 60 to 80 cherry trees, a number of which are the same species as the ones at the Tidal Basin (Yoshino). The oldest ones were planted back in the late 1980s, while other cherry trees were planted more recently over the past several years.
Hill says that, particularly in the last four or five years, the trees have grown “exponentially in popularity.”
They are scattered throughout the 95-acre property, but mostly concentrated near the Visitor’s Center and down by the lakes.
According to Hill, the ones closer to the Visitor’s Center are already in bloom and are nearing their peak. The trees by the lakes just started to open earlier this week, so those blossoms should be nearing peak bloom as well by this weekend.
However, the recent cold weather could majorly impact them.
“Anything that’s in full bloom right now, will probably be affected the hardest,” Hill said. “Not only is it cold, they’ve been calling for pretty significant winds.”
However, he says that, since they haven’t fully opened up yet, the trees by the lakes “maybe able to skirt by” and remain on schedule to bloom come this weekend.
In terms of care, the staff at Meadowlark rarely interfere with the cherry trees aside from periodic pruning, monitoring for insects and fungi, and mulching.
“We try to leave things to be as natural as possible,” Hill says.
With the gardens expected to be very busy this weekend, Hill recommends visiting during the week if possible. Capacity limits are in effect, but since the grounds are so large, crowds should be minimized if people spread out.
“With the Tidal Basin so busy and popular, people are just looking for an alternative site,” Hill said. “[Meadowlark] is a great place because you have the water, you have the cherry trees…everything you need for a cherry blossom-style festival.”
Those trees date back to at least the early 1980s, according to the Reston Association, which does not own the trees, but occasionally prunes them to keep pathways clear.
The Van Gogh bridge was built in 1965 to link the Waterview and Washington Plaza clusters. It was designed by William Roehl, who also designed the nearby Swing.
Monday, March 29
- Draw Nature (4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m) — Get out your pencils and get ready to draw the trees, sky, and birds around you. Join naturalist and artist Margaret Wohler on the trails of Fairfax County’s Huntley Meadows Park. Learn basic skills, color theory, perspective, shading, gesture, contour and realistic rendering. This is a four-week class.
Tuesday March 30
- Storytelling, Roots of Resistance (6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — Explore the role of folktales in resistance with local storyteller Diane Macklin. She’ll talk about the history of storytelling as a means of liberation and introduce the audience to American folk hero High John. This virtual event is presented by the Fairfax County Public Library.
Wednesday, March 31
- Scrawl Books Trivia (8:00 p.m.) — Experience another version of virtual literary trivia, hosted by Scrawl Books in Reston and emcee Kate Clark. This time, though, there will be new competitors looking to take the prize from Twice-Told Tales New and Used Books in Kansas.
Thursday, April 1
- Egg-stravaganza (10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.) — Join the Reston Association for a woodland walk to find all the Easter Bunny’s eggs. Start the journey at Walker Nature Center and search high and low for those eggs. At the end, grab a selfie with the Easter Bunny or the nature center’s mascot, Walker the Woodpecker. Face masks and social distancing are required.
Friday, April 2
- Movie Under the Stars (7:00 p.m.) — Grab a blanket and chair to take in a Hollywood blockbuster under the stars. “Lego: Batman” is the first in a series of movies presented by the Reston Association at Hunter Woods Park. Concessions will be available to purchase, but a threat of rain will cancel the event.
Saturday, April 3
- Dino Safari (9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.) — Take a trip back in time and see dinosaurs. Head to National Harbor for a drive-thru adventure across a Jurassic safari populated by robot T-Rexes and lost Spinosauruses.
- Anime Movie Days at the Wharf (3 p.m. & 7 p.m.) — Cherry blossoms aren’t the only symbol of the U.S.’s and Japan’s friendship. Come to downtown D.C. to watch one of Japan’s most loved exports — anime movies! Over the next 10 days, a series of popular anime movies will be played outside on the 20-foot LED screen at the Wharf.
Photo by Annie Spratt
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
- Simon B. Rhymin’ (2 p.m.) – Dwayne Reed, America’s favorite rapping teacher, introduces Simon B. Rhymin’ who is a fourth grader with a heart full of lyrics. Join Reed as he reads from his debut book.
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
Washington Parent magazine readers voted three Fairfax County parks as their regional favorites in the magazine’s 2020 Parent Picks 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
Outdoors walks are still considered an acceptable activity, so long as social distancing is kept in check. County officials are encouraging Reston residents to take this time to give them information about the Spotted Lanternfly, a leafhopper from East Asia.
The Fairfax County Urban Foresty Management Division is asking Reston residents to take pictures of the insect and any eggs that it leaves behind. Although it’s unclear how the lanternfly impacts our forests, the insect is invasive and uses 70 plant species as its host.
This month, the insect is busy laying eggs. The bug is known to feed on grapes and stone fruit trees and it loves to hang out on landscaping stones, rusty metal surfaces, outdoor vehicles, tree bark and pallets.
Residents who spoke the insect should report sightings to the county by calling 703-324-1170 (ext. 711) or by emailing [email protected].
Photo via Wikimedia Commons