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.
FOTO Spring Cleanup of the Occoquan River
Saturday, April 13 2019
April 13, 2019 Friends of the Occoquan River Cleanup Early morning rain did not deter 229 devoted volunteers to help with FOTO’s spring cleanup of the Occoquan River & Reservoir at the Bull Run, Fountainhead, Occoquan Regional, Lake Ridge Parks/Marinas and the Town of Occoquan. Families with their children, Students from Lake Ridge Middle, Marsteller Middle, Woodbridge Senior High and Osborn High schools, Boy Scout Troops 1352 and Pack 295, Girl Scout Troop 2016 and Woodbridge High’s JR ROTC cadets, NOVA GO with kayaks, Bull Run Rotary, Optimist and Ambassador Clubs, SEV1Tech company with 31 employees, Young Professionals and Sea Scout Ship 7916, Mike Nardolilli, Executive Director of ICPRB and Chairman of NOVA Parks combed the shores and went out by boat to retrieve trash that had accumulated over the winter months. Harry Wiggins and Glenn Richman of Lake Ridge helped out by bringing truckloads of filled plastic bags from the shorelines to the Marina. FOTO continued transition from plastic bags to biodegradables. A big “thank you” goes to all the park managers and their staff, Mike Tiller, Lake Ridge Park Manager and Lance Elzie, Manager of Bull Run & Fountainhead Park, and Mark Mermelstein of the Occoquan Regional Park for their help and disposing of the trash. Also much appreciated are FOTO members who manned the signup stations, Linda Murray, Kimm Barry, Sonia Monson, Alex & Jacqueline Vanegas, Renate Vanegas, Alex Smith and the Town of Occoquan’s Julie Little. Among the 132 bags of trash & recyclables, were also 2 large oil barrels, trash cans, paint cans, a steel locker, a mattress, Styrofoam pieces, a fence and animal trap. Since the Occoquan Reservoir is the source of Northern Virginia’s drinking water, FOTO is grateful for all the volunteers who spent their weekend relieving the Occoquan of 2 tons of trash.
Rain Barrel Workshop at Lakeridge Middle School
October 4, 2018
Water conservation/rain barrel workshop at Lake Ridge Middle School.
With the help of enthusiastic science students from Elizabeth Good and Matthew Bandi's science class at Lake Ridge Middle School in Woodbridge, VA, FOTO members Sonia Monson and Renate Vanegas conducted a rain barrel workshop and assembled a functional 55 gallon rain barrel for their school garden.
Yesterday on my evening walk I ran into this trash warrior picking up trash alongside a residential road with her mom. Her name is Senna and she is a Daisy member working on one of her environmental badges. What a great eco friendly activity for parents and their children. Thanks for your hard work Senna and Mom!
Seniors in Action at Westminster Lake Ridge Retirement Community
Upon an invitation by Dr. Larry Heath, landscaping committee chair of the Westminster Lake Ridge Retirement Community, the Friends of the Occoquan gifted them with two rain barrels to complete their planned Rain and Pollinator garden project. FOTO members conducted a workshop which was well received by all who were present at their fantastic community workshop, where the barrels will be assembled and painted/decorated by residence artists.
October 2, 2018
Creativity at work at the Westminster Lake Ridge Retirement Community. FOTO donated two black rain barrels to their on-site wood shop and resident artists turned them into colorful, yet functional pieces of art.
Boy Scout Occoquan District Event
Upon invitation, the Friends of the Occoquan introduced their multiple programs to help clean up local waterways and encourage community gardens at the Boy Scouts of America Occoquan District Program launch that was well attended.
Coles Elementary School Garden Club
Coles Elementary Garden Club
Coles Elementary School in Prince William County has transformed a schoolyard into an outdoor “green” classroom that reconnects students with the natural world that surrounds them. The environmental education efforts of Coles Elementary School have gained statewide attention, carving its place as one of 50 schools recognized in the Virginia Naturally program. The leader for this garden is kindergarten teacher Ms. Ramona Richardson and with the help of staff, students and parents the garden thrives each year with new themes and learning experiences. This year Coles Elementary received plants from the Virginia Cooperative Extension and Master Gardener (VCE) Jamie Nick and FOTO member Sonia Monson were invited to come help the Coles Garden Club get the flowers and herbs into the raised beds. Following this activity student s planted watermelon and zinnia seeds (provided by FOTO) for their home gardens. Coles Elementary is looking for volunteers to help water their school gardens during the summer. Visit their website for more details at https://coleses.pwcs.edu/
INSIDENOVA Article on FOTO's Spring 2018 Cleanup click here
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
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