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.
Soil is Everything
On Thursday August, 2, 2017 Park Place Peace Garden and FOTO members prepared soil samples to be sent to the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Laboratory which is a part of Virginia’s Cooperative Extension .
A routine soil test package includes analysis for soil pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Mn, Cu, Fe, and B, along with fertilizer and lime recommendations for the specified crop. Soluble salts and organic matter tests are also available. Local Cooperative Extension offices in counties and cities throughout the state can provide soil sample boxes and information sheets.
Soil samples are analyzed and computer recommendations generated usually within three working days of receipt. The completed soil test reports, along with one or more soil test notes containing additional information on fertilization and liming, are either mailed or emailed directly to the client. A copy of the report is also made available to the local Cooperative Extension office.
Washington Post article on FOTO's cleanup efforts.click here
FOTO Helps Sponsor "Food For Others" Community Garden
On July 7, 2017 FOTO met with “Food for Others”, a Fairfax non-profit organization serving a growing number of families. They provide food for 700 families and will be delivering fresh vegetables with the establishment of their new community garden which FOTO helped sponsor. FOTO will cooperate with these types of community gardens as part of our program. To date we support community gardens in Prince William County, Fairfax and the city of Norfolk.
Luncheon with Dominion Energy Representatives and Grant Presentation
FOTO gave a luncheon at the McCoart Building for Dominion Energy representatives Deborah Johnson and Haley Snowdon and FOTO helpers to discuss details of expanding community gardens in Springfield, Norfolk and Herndon as well as in Prince William County, and supporting Eagle Scout projects related to gardening and water conservation.
Friends of the Occoquan would like to thank the Krieg Family from Norfolk, Virginia for opening their home and garden to us. A big thank you to Isabelle Krieg for teaching FOTO all about raising Swallowtail butterflies. So much to learn from our Eco Kids! Note from Isabelle's Mom: Isabelle was interviewed by Friends of the Occoquan for her work with Butterflies 🦋 This was such an amazing experience for Isabelle.....she has worked very hard and gained so much knowledge about Black swallowtail butterflies.How to raise and care for them🦋🦋..it's so cool for her to be able to share what she does to help Mother Earth🦋
Photo credits- Kelly Krieg
Spring Clean Up 2017
Saturday, April 29, 2017 Occoquan River Cleanup
Thank you Volunteers!!!
It was a hot and humid day, but that did not stop volunteers from coming out to join The Friends of the Occoquan (FOTO), PW Trails & Streams Coalition and PW Soil & Water Conservation District from cleaning up the Occoquan Watershed. Despite being a rescheduled event, 110 faithful FOTO volunteers combed the shores on foot and by boat to relieve the beautiful Occoquan of unsightly debris. SEV1Tech Company, US Marine Staff Academy, Optimist Club, Ms. Pawlik’s Penn Elementary School Class, Manassas Osborn High School students, Boy Scout Troop 1369 and many families with their children collected 88 trash bags and 33 bags of biodegradables and miscellaneous items, such as tires, wooden flower boxes, a Food Lion buggy, sheet metal, lawn mower tires, syringes, cigarette lighters, Styrofoam pieces, coolers, wooden planks, etc.
Rain Barrel Workshop at Granby Elementary in Norfolk, Virginia
Saturday, April 29, 2017
While northern FOTO friends were cleaning up the Occoquan River, rain barrels were being built down south. Ashley Barnett with the Norfolk School Garden Collective organized a garden building day at Granby Elementary and FOTO member Sonia Monson was there to show youngsters how to turn two pickling barrels into rain harvesters. The Norfolk School Garden Collective is an organization that connects schools to local communities around the city to build gardens and outdoor classrooms for pre k-12. These little ones were eager builders, and by the time we got to the second barrel they already knew what to do before being told. Great Job Granby Elementary!
FOTO Seed and Plant Exchange - Norfolk, Virginia
On Sunday, April 30, 2017 FOTO hosted its first seed and plant exchange in Norfolk, Virginia. Participants were primarily dancers from the Lakewood Dance and Music Center. Plants included strawberries, a variety of vegetables, herbs, wildflowers and trees/bushes (Red Maple, Rose of Sharon, Nandina, Lilac and Glory Bower). Seeds varieties were in abundance. All participants went home with plenty to plant! Left over plants will go to local community gardens here in the Norfolk, Virginia area.
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