Friends of the Occoquan offers free rain barrel workshops to groups, organizations and schools. Workshops include instructions on how to turn a food grade barrel into a rain barrel, setting up the rain barrel, environmental benefits of harvesting rain water and helpful tips and reminders. Contact FOTO to see if your group, school or organization qualifies for a free barrel.
Panther Fresh Garden- Using Their Power for Good
On, Wednesday, June 5, 2019 FOTO had an opportunity to spend some time at the Panther Fresh Garden located at Lindenwood Elementary School in Norfolk, VA. In early May 2019 FOTO was able to supply the school’s green club with garden gloves, seed packets, organic soil mix, garden plants, cedar fencing, a rain barrel and paint primer. With the help of enthusiastic green club students and adult garden leaders Sharon Barnes and Steven Dolly, FOTO member Sonia Monson conducted a rain barrel workshop and together they assembled a functional 55 gallon rain barrel for the school garden. After the barrel was completed the students gave FOTO a garden tour and then worked hard mulching the area. Lindenwood’s Green Club takes great pride in the Panther Fresh Garden which is not just a garden, but an outdoor laboratory for learning about plants, decomposition (composting), recycling/reusing and community involvement. One of the great rewards of gardening is harvesting and blueberry sampling was part of the event as well- yummy!
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.
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.
All Things Water
“All Things Water,” was the theme at Penn Elementary School’s Family STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) night, in Woodbridge, VA. Science teacher Loriann Pawlick and Principal Elliott Bolles, together with 250 excited students and their parents lined up to take part in activities related to water conservation, public water supply, keeping watersheds clean and other progressive systems. American Water Company, Friends of the Occoquan, Merrimac Farm Master Naturalists of Virginia, Service Authority of Prince William County and Public School’s Aquatics Center displayed and demonstrated their work related to water, from rain harvesters to how water is treated, the importance of recycling and other water conservation techniques.
FOTO Donates Rain Barrels to the Benedictine Sisters in Bristow, VA.
On Saturday, September 23, 2017 FOTO visited the St. Benedict Monastery, located in Bristow, Virginia. Two rain barrels and other supplies were donated to their gardens.
The property is a haven of gardens with winding pathways to meditative silos, a grotto, and a labyrinth. It offers a respite from the busy pace of everyday life. Visitors and staff are welcome to take self-guided walking tours of the grounds, with maps and brochures available at the Portress’ desk.
The Place of Peace Columbarium, on the grounds of Saint Benedict Monastery, provides an environment of natural beauty and spiritual living.
Renate Vanegas, Sister Pat, German Vanegas
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 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
Rain Barrel Workshop Woodbridge Senior High
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Sonia Monson from the FOTO team, instructed students from the Ecological Science Club at Woodbridge Senior High School under the guidance of their student leader Audrey Scott and APES teachers Amy Cook and Margaret Evans on the importance of water conservation and how to assemble/use a rain barrel for their newly established school garden. FOTO donated herbs and flowers to help get their garden going. Congratulations go out to both the students and their teachers for their efforts.
Wonders of Water and Rain Barrels
Enthusiastic Girl Scout Brownie Troop 295 of Lake Ridge with their leaders Nicole McGee and Elizabeth Salice did a great job assembling a rain barrel under the guidance of FOTO team leaders Sonia Monson and Helga Perrin. The barrel will be donated to Springwood Elementary School's future community garden. The young girl scouts theme "Wonders of Water," went along well with FOTO's Water Conservation program.
Boy Scout Troop 180 Constructs Rain Barrels for Community Gardens in Norfolk, Virginia
On Thursday, November 12, 2015 FOTO volunteers Donald Monson and Boy Scout Adrian Monson conducted a Rain Barrel Workshop at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Norfolk, VA. During the workshop, Troop 180 joined by Scout Master John Matroni assembled two 55 gallon pickling barrels into rain harvesters. Donald Monson lead the discussion with open ended questioning regarding the benefits of rain barrels, the hardware that accompanies the barrels, and the assembly. By using these critical thinking skills, the troop guided by Adrian Monson, assembled the two barrels into functioning rain harvesters. The two rain barrels will be donated to two community gardens in the city of Norfolk.
Drops of Peace Rain Barrel Finds a Home with Little Friends for Peace
August 13, 2015
FOTO joined the Little Friends for Peace summer campers in Mt. Rainier, MD to donate the Drops of Peace rain barrel painted at the World Children's Festival in Washington DC for their community garden project. The children enthusiastically helped FOTO team members Linda Murray and Helga Perrin assemble the barrel under the watchful eyes of MJ Park, the Director and Sarah Magno, Camp Coordinator.
Little Friends For Peace is an international organization that empowers children & adults to solve their problems nonviolently. It's a noble cause dedicated to our future generation. www.lffp.org.
Rain Barrels for Peace at the World Children's Festival in Washington DC 7/1/2015
Children from around the globe had fun creating their own designs on rain barrels donated by the Friend's of the Occoquan at the World Children's Art Festival at the Ellipse in Washington, DC. They came to display and partake in art work, dance, music and drumming.
Rain Barrel Workshop Boys and Girls Club of Manassas
May 19, 2015
Lisa Starr, the Education director of the Manassas Boys and Girls Club was happy to see the FOTO team donate the much needed rain barrel to make it easier to water their three already lush raised vegetable/herb garden beds.
Several students and a few garden club members learned how to assemble the rain barrel to make it functional under the guidance of FOTO instructors and master gardeners Sonia Monson, Linda Murray and Helga Perrin.
Now the students are going to use their creative talent and paint designs on their barrel.
Rain Barrel Workshops at Boys and Girls Clubs
Rain Barrel Workshop at the General Heiser Boys and Girls Club of Dumfries
May 13, 2015
The General Heiser Boys and Girls Club of Dumfries together with their activity director Loni Payton and branch director Judy Moore, learned how to assemble a rain barrel to use in their future vegetable garden.
FOTO's team members, Sonia Monson and Helga Perrin spearheaded the activity which began with a discussion on the benefits of using a rain barrel, water conservation and how to actually assemble the barrel.
Enthusiastic students drilled the holes for the faucet and overflow and then completed the installation of their donated barrel.
Rain Barrel Workshop at Coles Elementary
May 11, 2015
FOTO team members Sonia Monson and Linda Murray conducted a Rain Barrel Workshop at Coles Elementary School in Manassas. During the hands-on demonstration, a few students from the environmental club had lots of fun assembling a 55 gallon rain barrel to use in their Diversity Garden. Principal Kathryn Forgas and Kindergarten teacher Ramona Richardson spearheaded the environmental program with a beautifully laid out vegetable, fruit and butterfly garden. After the young gardeners use their artistic skills and paint the barrel, it will be put to use in their garden.
Rain Barrel Workshop at Brentsville District High
April 20, 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
October 24, 2014
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.
FOTO's Rain Barrel Workshop
July 12, 2014 at Lake Jackson Volunteer Fire Department Station, Manassas, VA
FOTO's Rain Barrel Workshop was an educational and hands-on event. German Vanegas introduced FOTO's team consisting of Linda Murray, Helga Perrin, Sonia Monson and Renate Vanegas. Linda began the workshop by giving attendees background information on the benefits of rain barrels and shared her first hand experience what works and doesn't work. She also explained how to install one at home. Then, Ms. Perrin, assisted by Sonia Monson demonstrated on her own hand painted barrel how to install the faucet and overflow.
FOTO looks forward to the next workshop at a local Elementary School, where two rain barrels will be donated. Date and details to be announced in the near future.
Thanks to Clean Virginia Waterways and American Water Company, for their support.
Helga Perrin and Linda Murray
Helga Perrin demonstrates how to install the downspout.