Friends of the Occoquan is a non-profit organization of local citizens who preserve and maintain the natural integrity of the Occoquan River and other Virginia and nation wide watersheds by promoting community awareness through public and private partnerships.
Vision of the Friends
To energize individuals, community and business groups to take on the challenges of keeping Virginia’s and the nations reservoirs and rivers clean, by controlling excessive sedimentation and pollution. This message will be brought to schools, civic groups and community organizations, as well as local and federal government agencies.
Coordinate watershed management efforts and programs.
Open communications and develop cooperation among intergovernmental jurisdictions regarding the rivers and watersheds.
Provide decision makers, policy makers, and citizens with accurate information.
Develop public and private partnerships focused on maintaining the natural integrity of drinking water sources.
Engage the community, including the Spanish speaking population, to become stakeholders of our rivers and streams.
Education and Coordination FOTO is working with community groups, schools, federal, state and local governments to promote watershed preservation.
FOTO continues to expand contacts with other groups to enlarge watershed stakeholders. Installation of international signs along the watersheds is one of our projects.
FOTO is proceeding to engage the Spanish speaking community to become stakeholders of our watersheds and become active in maintaining clean and safe our rivers. In addition to the bilingual signs described below, we will be installing other bilingual signs in DC, Fairfax and PrinceWilliamCounties. Also we are preparing videos, literature and some TV programs.
Washington Post article on FOTO's cleanup efforts.click here
FOTO Donates Raised Bed, Soil/Compost and Flowers to Penn Elementary School
Under the guidance and the help of FOTO providing the garden box, soil, and plants, eager students from Ms. Loriann Pawlik's Penn Elementary class are planting their flowers to attract butterflies.
Wonders of Water and Rain Barrels
Enthusiastic Girl Scout Brownie Troop 295 of Lake Ridge with their leaders Nicole McGee and Elizabeth Salice did a great job assembling a rain barrel under the guidance of FOTO team leaders Sonia Monson and Helga Perrin. The barrel will be donated to Springwood Elementary School's future community garden. The young girl scouts theme "Wonders of Water," went along well with FOTO's Water Conservation program.
Go Gaga for Green 2016
April 30, 2016
FOTO was one of Arlington Green Patriot Awards nominees at George Mason University’s “Go Gaga for Green,” a community Earth Day celebration, where we enjoyed live entertainment, great food and wonderful door prizes and a spectacular display of painted rain barrels by junior artists of various schools within Arlington. Master of Ceremony, Meteorologist Brian Van de Graaff did a fine job keeping the program on schedule. Click Here to learn more about Operation Rain Barrel and the wonderful artwork.
Pole Bean Planting at Coles Elementary
On Monday, April 26th FOTO had the opportunity to do some pole bean planting with the Science/Garden Club at Coles Elementary in Prince William County. FOTO was joined by the Magnificent Three you see pictured below and one of their club leaders, Ramona Richardson. First, FOTO member Sonia Monson gave a brief discussion on what a pole bean is and the best way to plant them. Next, students prepped the soil while the adults stapled netting to the wooden posts to support the pole beans as they grow. Students used a ruler to measure and dig 1 inch holes around the posts. The young ladies got creative and alternated green and purple pole beans around each post. Pole beans and netting were provided by FOTO. Seeds were purchased through Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in order to promote the planting of organic and heirloom seeds. As in the thumbs-up picture below- JOB WELL DONE COLES ELEMENTARY!
Keep Prince William County Beautiful Festival
On Saturday, April 23, 2016 FOTO participated in a new community event- The Keep Prince William Beautiful Festival. The event is designed to showcase businesses, nonprofits, food vendors, and other organizations that advance KPWB mission and community life in the county. What started out as a rainy windy day blossomed into a sunny one with many activities for all ages. At the FOTO tent many children stopped by to paint river rocks and learn about rain barrels. A big thank you to Keep Prince William Beautiful for allowing us to be part of this event.
Rain Barrel Workshop Woodbridge Senior High
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Sonia Monson from the FOTO team, instructed students from the Ecological Science Club at Woodbridge Senior High School under the guidance of their student leader Audrey Scott and APES teachers Amy Cook and Margaret Evans on the importance of water conservation and how to assemble/use a rain barrel for their newly established school garden. FOTO donated herbs and flowers to help get their garden going. Congratulations go out to both the students and their teachers for their efforts.
FOTO Volunteers "Spring" into Action for April 16th Occoquan River Cleanup
Friends of the Occoquan Spring River Cleanup, April 16, 2016
A gorgeous, sunny day brought out 225 volunteers to go out on boats and along the shore of the Occoquan River in Virginia to pick up trash at the four designated parks/marinas and the Town of Occoquan. Because of their efforts, the Occoquan was relieved of 1.6 tons of trash, including 20 bags of recyclables, 6 tires, snowboards, baby carriage, trashcans, oil barrel, gasoline cans, carpet foam pieces, blinds, rusted iron pieces and other miscellaneous items.
Without the help of the many wonderful volunteers and FOTO's dedicated station workers, this cleanup would not have been possible. A big thank you goes out to all involved, including many parents who came out with their children, groups, such as SEV1 Tech, American Water Company, the Bull Run Rotary and the Optimist Club, the Quantico Yacht Club, Boy Scout Troop 1369, Environmental students from George Mason University, Hylton & Osborn Park High Schools, Benton Middle and Trash Trek from Penn Elementary School, including the Osbourn Eagles from the Manassas City Schools, and the JROTC cadets from Forest Park High and Woodbridge Senior High Schools and their leaders.
Special thanks go out to Duane DeBruyne and the Lake Braddock Crew with their boat, Jim Martin, Cal Lud and Priit Vesilind for a pontoon boat, and Penguin Paddle for providing kajaks.
Thanks to FOTO's Helga Perrin who demonstrated an environmental display on conservation & stewardship of the environment and the importance of wetlands at the Lake Ridge Marina. Kimm Barry, Kirstyn Barr Jovanovich, Sonia Monson, Linda Murray and Alex & Renate Vanegas, including Cathy Tarr and Beverly Proctor for manning the sign-in stations at the four marinas and the Town of Occoquan and the various park managers who provided boats, their time and the disposal of the collected trash.
How to get your Friend of the Occoquan License Plate
Good afternoon friend of the Occoquan River:
The Occoquan River Communities (ORC) is undertaking an effort to create a Friend of the Occoquan State of VA License Plate.
ORC is required to sell 450 plates prior to the end of 2014. If they can achieve this number then VA DMV will sell the plate at every DMV office in the state of VA. In addition $10 from every plate sold will go to Friends of the Occoquan (FOTO) to support their efforts to protect and conserve the Occoquan River.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
We need you to help promote this effort with you organization(s), friends and family. We can provide informational brochures and even try to have an ORC member speak at your meeting. We are under the gun, so time is of the essence.
If you feel you can help please contact me by email and we will go from there.
Thanks in advance for your support!
John J. Houser
Occoquan Regional Park
9751 Ox Road
Lorton, VA 22079
Office: 703-690-2121 Cell: 571-329-1542
Make a Contribution or Donation:
Please send a check or money order payable to FOTO to the address below:
or pay with credit card using paypal by clicking the link below:
Friends of the Occoquan P.O. Box 1452 Woodbridge, VA 22195-1452 Tel. (703)624-7124