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 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 challenge of keeping Northern Virginia’s Reservoirs 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 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, state and local governments to promote Northern Virginia's watershed preservation.
FOTO continues to expand contacts with other groups to enlarge watershed stakeholders. Installation of international signs along the watershed is one of our projects.
FOTO is proceeding to engage the Spanish speaking community of Northern Virginia 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 Fairfax and PrinceWilliamCounties. Also we are preparing videos, literature and some TV programs.
Spring 2015 Clean-Up A Great Success! Thank You Volunteers and Sponsors!
Saturday, April 18, 2015
One ant is no ant and so it is with Friends of the Occoquan. We have been able to accomplish our goal of conserving our watershed with the many wonderful volunteers who come out year after year to help us with this effort.
A perfect spring day brought 255 volunteers to the four marinas and the Town of Occoquan to pick up trash. Participants of all background joined us, families with their children, organizations such as the Rotary Club of Manassas, the Lyons and Optimist Clubs, SEV1 Tech employees, Boy Scout Troops 1369, 74, 993, Pack 1365, 295, Girl Scout Troop 539, 1024 and the Woodbridge High School JROTC including their leaders. Teachers and students from Benton Middle School’s Science Club, and the National Science Club of Woodbridge High School, the Woodbridge Green Clovers 4H Club, the Go-Green Club and church groups.
A total of 154 large bags of trash and 16 bags of recyclables were collected, including 8 tires, several pieces of lumber boards, 4x4 and 2x4’s, a wooden cross and other building materials, Styrofoam pieces, a pickup-truck tool box, the floor covering of a car, a snow sled, 3 lawn chairs, 4 plastic buckets, large metal pieces, an entertainment center and a big butcher knife.
Thanks to all the volunteers, the Park staff and FOTO supporters FCWA, American Water, DCR, CB Restoration Fund, ICC and Penguin Paddling LLC.
Please note that the next Fall Cleanup will be Saturday, October 17, 2015.
Enthusiastic students from Horticultural Technician Margaret Smith's class at Brentsville District High School in Nokesville, VA, learned how to assemble and install rain barrels. This is the only agricultural program for the Prince William County Schools.
The workshop was conducted by Friends of the Occoquan (FOTO) who donated two rain barrels as part of their water conservation program. FOTO's Renate Vanegas introduced team instructors Helga Perrin and Sonia Monson who gave a hands-on demonstration engaging all 22 students.
The class will need the rain barrels to maintain their raised bed gardens and their enormous greenhouse filled with a variety of homegrown flowers, vegetables and herbs.
The students will have a plant sale in May to raise funds for their projects. Details for the sale coming soon.
Rain Barrel Workshop at Independent Hill School in Manassas
FOTO held a rain barrel hands-on workshop at Independent Hill School in Manassas. This environmentally progressive school has a very impressive recycling program and an on-site commercial greenhouse.
Sonia Monson talked about the 9,000-mile trip that the barrels traveled from India to North Carolina, where they were used by the Mount Olive Pickling Company. These same food-grade barrels are safe to use in collecting rainwater.
Afterwards, enthusiastic students under the guidance of FOTO’s instructors Helga Perrin and Sonia Monson assembled the faucet and overflow, crawling into the barrels to fasten the plumbing.
Several educators, including Coordinator Lorri Jones, Principal Jodi Pankowski, and Vocational teacher Eastern Gault were present during the demonstration.
The event was video-taped by Prince William County Public Schools.
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