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.
VERMICULTURE WORKSHOP On Monday, October 19, 2015 Friends of the Occoquan sponsored a Vermiculture Workshop at Park Place School in Norfolk, VA. The event was organized by FOTO team member Atsuko Biernot and conducted by Merrie Jo, George Ibarra and Nia Amoruso of the Park Place Peace Garden with additional participation of Grey Hues and Ralph Schylar Harrison (Park Place School’s garden project manager.) Vermiculture is the process of using worms to decompose organic food waste, turning the waste into a nutrient-rich material capable of supplying necessary nutrients to help sustain plant growth. The 2nd-4th grade children learned how to turn kitchen scraps into valuable, organic fertilizer for their school and at home gardens with the help of the friendly earthworm. Photograph credit- Nia Amoruso.
Washington Post article on FOTO's cleanup efforts.click here
2015 Fall River Clean Up A Great Success!
Saturday, October 17, 2015 Despite a chilly and windy morning, 128 volunteers came out on foot and by boat to participate in FOTO’s Fall Occoquan River cleanup. A big thank you goes out to all the community groups, the Boy Scouts of America, local schools and families with their children who collected 86 bags of trash, 24 bags of recyclables, 8 tires, a flat screen TV, blinds, car generator, skate boards, a box spring and mattress, 2 oil barrels, carpets, foam pieces, large iron rings, pieces of a fence and a door, 2 crates and assorted pieces of Styrofoam and wooden boards. Because of their efforts the scenic Occoquan River is relieved of 1.3 tons of trash. A special thanks goes to Duane DeBruyne and the Lake Braddock Crew, Bull Run Rotary Club, Osbourn Eagles from the Manassas City Schools, Interact and CCN, Boy Scout Troop 1369, the Sea Shepherds Conservation Society, American Water, Nestle Company, SEV1Tech, Fairfax Yacht Club, Lions Club, Optimist Club, Trash Trek of Penn Elementary School, Environmental Science students from Woodbridge and Osborn Park High Schools and Lake Ridge Elementary School. For the younger generation, FOTO’s Helga Perrin demonstrated an environmental display on conservation & stewardship of the environment and the importance of wetlands at the Lake Ridge Marina. Thank you Helga Perrin and thanks also goes to Kimm Barry, Kirstyn Barr Jovanovich, Linda Murray, Sonia Monson and Alex Vanegas 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.
Congratulations to Kristen Mark - FOTO'S Fall Gardening Kit Winner!
FOTO Launches Community/Home Garden Project
On August 25, 2015, FOTO team members launched their Community Garden project. German Vanegas, Renate Vanegas, Sonia Monson, Linda Murray and Helga Perrin gave presentations. Deborah Johnson and Chuck Penn from Dominion Power, one of our sponsors, presented a grant check. The Community Garden Project will coincide with FOTO's already established Rain Barrel Project.
In attendance at todays presentation were Mike May, Occoquan Supervisor; Earnie Porta, former mayor of the Town Occoquan; and Bobby Klancher representing Chairman Corey Stewart. Joining us also were Thomas Benjamin, Treasurer of NOVA Veterans Association, Bill Olson and Kristy Smedely of Grace Community Garden, Doug O'Brien with Tom Burrell representing LOCCA and Lake RIdge HOA, Nancy Berlin of VA COOP Ext. and Master Gardener Coordinator, Coles Elementary School Teacher Ramona Richardson and William Moss of PRS and Kimm Barry, IT Specialist.
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