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 Homestation Garden Winter 2017
FOTO Homestation Garden Winter 2017
In late Fall the FOTO team began to prepare for the winterization of the hoop house. The first step was increasing the height of the structure. Next, the heavy duty plastic was attached and the outdoor plants and composting worms were moved inside. One of our goals for the winter of 2017 was to provide some heat in the hoop house. Due to the generous donation of a 6ft x 6ft solar panel by one of FOTO’s board members we were able to do just that.
The solar panel was set up by the hoop house in the direction of the sun. The panel connects to a regulator that controls the charge to a deep charge battery which in turn powers a small heater. We placed the small heater inside two terracotta planters that hold the heat for several hours. For overnight heat we installed two 100 watt hanging lamps that run on a timer. Last year we had frost inside the hoop house, but this year so far we are frost free. Cabbage and Red Beets were started by seed and are growing nicely. Oregano, rosemary, Italian parsley, and other herbs continue to thrive. We will be investing in a larger heater to provide more heat to help out the growing vegetables, banana trees and some other baby fruit trees that sprouted in our compost bin in late summer. We will also use the hoop house in the fall to start seeds so by spring we have plants to share with our garden friends.
FOTO Fall River Clean Up 2016
“Make a Difference,” that’s what the 138 dedicated volunteers did at the FOTO River cleanup on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at five sites along the Occoquan Watershed.
Together with Boy Scout Troop 1369, Girl Scout Troops 718 and 1054, Southside Little League, students from Woodbridge HS’s JROTC, South County and Colgan High schools and members of the Rotary & Optimist Clubs, American Water Company and Sev1Tec and many families with their children, they removed 120 large bags of debris and 28 bags of recycled material. Foam and plastic pieces, garden hoses, lumbar, a baby carriage, shoes, balls, fishing gear, cigarette lighters, and lots of glass and plastic bottles and beverage cans were removed and properly disposed of.
At the Lake Ridge Park and Marina, Helga Perrin gave a demonstration of FOTO’s water conservation program.
FOTO’s commitment to a trash-free Occoquan river and reservoir is an ongoing effort which we could not achieve without the support of our sponsors and volunteers. Please see our webpage www.friendsoftheOccoquan.org, or our Friends of the Occoquan FB page.
Environmental Excellence and Exceptional Design Awards
The Fairfax Board of Supervisors presented FOTO nominiee John Houser, Occoquan Regional Park Manager with the distinguished Environmental Excellence Award for his environmental stewardship and his leadership efforts in support of cleanup events held by the Friends of the Occoquan (FOTO) of the River and his ability to mobilize volunteers to enhance the Occoquan River.
The Giving Garden at Wesley Memorial UMC
Congratulations to Boy Scout Adrian Monson from Troop 180 on the completion of his Eagle Scout Project. Adrian helped a group of Master Gardeners from the Wesley Memorial UMC turn a topic of conversation into a reality- a beautiful community garden. FOTO provided Adrian with the wood, soil, compost and barrels/accessories to assist with his project. With the help of family and friends Adrian built three 4’x8’ raised beds and filled them with soil and mushroom compost. To provide water for the garden Adrian created a rain harvesting system by constructing, connecting and installing four rain barrels.
The Giving Garden is maintained by the Master Gardeners and the children from the Club Sandwich After-School Program.
Workdays for the garden are 1:30-2:30 pm on Fridays. The garden is located behind the church at 288 E. Little Creek Road in Norfolk, VA.
FOTO Rain Barrel Workshops Head to Norfolk
On Monday, June 27th 2016 FOTO presented a rain barrel workshop in Norfolk, VA. The gracious host, Kelly Kreig, gathered friends and homeschoolers to her beautiful garden so everyone could learn about the benefits of harvesting rain and turning a food grade barrel into a rain barrel. Under the guidance of FOTO team members Sonia and Donnie Monson, the young folks constructed the rain barrel that will be used to support this beautiful garden. Job Well Done! Photo Credits- Kelly Owen Krieg
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.
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