Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation
Farm to Table Dinner, August 19, Windy Knoll Farm, Nokesville
Thanks to all the folks (205 guests to be exact) who took the opportunity to support Prince William County agricultural producers, and environmental sciences and natural resources conservation education. We were served a delicious dinner prepared by Chef Mike Procratsky of Blue Dog BBQ in Nokesville. The meal was all Prince William County-sourced, donated by our farmers. Spirits were provided by the Winery at LaGrange and Old Bust Head Brewery.
This fundraising FARM TO TABLE dinner was sponsored by Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation (Foundation), a 501(C)(3) non profit organization whose mission is to educate the citizens, youth and adult, and teachers in environmental science and natural resources conservation. We promote local food, community with the local farmers, and support for agricultural production in Prince William County.
A fun filled day for all included: a sit down dinner prepared by local Chef Mike Procratsky, Blue Dog BBQ, hay rides out into the fields where the water protection practices, ponds, cattle, sheep, wildlife, and wide open spaces are enjoyed. A silent auction, a 50/50 cash raffle, and antique farming equipment were displayed at Windy Knoll Farm, a 98 acre working farm.
Partners sponsored and supported our county farmers: Prince William-Fairfax Farm Bureau, Nokesville-Bristow Ruritans, Tractor Supply, Evergreen Acres Farm, Yankey Farms, Rainbow Acres Farm, Moose Acres Farm, The Cedars Farm, Out on a Limb Orchard, True Farms, Greeneville Farm, Bloom Flower Farm, Windy Knoll Farm, Kettle Wind Farm, Dutchland Farm, Ducks Unlimited, Courson Designs, My Glass Garden NOVA, and others.
Our thanks to hosts Don and Helen Taylor at Windy Knoll Farm, where they raise cattle and sheep on their 98 acre farm on Kettle Run Road. The Taylor's have dedicated their farm as an Environmental/Agricultural Center for Learning, as well as an event venue, and are partners with the Foundation and Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District for youth and adult education. The Taylor's have been clients of the District for many years. We assisted in implementing natural resources conservation practices for water quality through the Virginia Cost Share program through the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Support the Foundation all donations are fully tax deductible
Volunteer Opportunities: *Environmental Science and Natural Resources Conservation Education
*Farm Field Days
*Water Quality Monitoring
*Adopt A Stream
*Arbor Day Ceremonies at elementary schools
|It's All About the Bay!
The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is:
the largest estuary in North America and the third largest in the world
*supports more than 17 million people who live, work, and play within the watershed
*is 64,000 square miles
*has 11,684 miles of shoreline, including tidal wetlands and islands
*contains more than 100,000 rivers and streams
*has a 14:1 land-to-water ratio
*helps filter and protect the drinking water of 75% of Bay watershed residents through its forests and trees.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Congress funded scientific and estuarine research of the Chesapeake Bay, which pinpointed three areas that required immediate attention:
* toxic pollution
*dwindling underwater bay grasses
The Chesapeake Bay Watershed includes parts of the following states:
and all of Washington, DC
More than 100,000 streams, creeks and rivers thread through the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The Chesapeake Bay Program is the regional partnership that directs and conducts the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay in the United States. As a partnership, the Chesapeake Bay Program brings together members of various state, federal, academic and local watershed organizations to build and adopt policies that support Chesapeake Bay restoration. By combining the resources and unique strengths of each individual organization, the Chesapeake Bay Program is able to follow a unified plan for restoration.
To view recent Chesapeake Bay report card, click here.
A 501(C)(3) Non-Profit Organization
Federal ID: 20-3859806
Public Charity Status: 170(b) (1) (A)
All donations to the Foundation are fully tax deductible.
To make a general donation to the Foundation
make check payable to PW Environmental Excellence Foundation, 8850 Rixlew Lane, Manassas, VA 20109. You will receive a tax exempt donation certificate from our office.
Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation (Foundation) is an affiliate of Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District (District). The District is funded by the Department of Conservation and Recreation and Prince William County Stormwater Management fee. The District uses these funds to accomplish our mission to: provide leadership in the conservation of soil, water, and related resources to all Prince William County citizens, through technical assistance, information, and education.
Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation uses donations/grants/rewards/funds to:
1) provide technical assistance to agricultural landowners to implement practices to improve water quality in our waterways,
2) provide environmental science and natural resources conservation education to teachers and students,
3) provide outreach programs for PWC citizens, homeowners and farmers.
Youth education has been a large part of the Foundation mission since 1995, and will be more crucial in the future. Prince William County is compelled to comply with the new environmental responsibilities of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup standards. These requirements will be costly, forcing the County to redirect funds for youth and adult education and outreach to the implementation of best management on-the-ground conservation practices for urban and agricultural lands. The Foundation has stepped in to continue to provide the vast knowledge of environmental and natural resources conservation education for all teachers grades K-12 in county and city schools. Teachers find our resources invaluable to comply with the VA Standards of Learning requirements.
District education programs the Foundation supports are:
Farm Field Days
In fiscal year 2016 the District was impacted by the County's redirection of funding from education to conservation activities. Among the District education programs is our signature annual event Farm Field Days
. This extremely popular event annually introduces 1,600 fourth grade students to some of the basic functions of agriculture and natural resources conservation. Over the 26 year history of Farm Field Days the District has educated 28,246 fourth grade students on agriculture, environmental science and natural resources conservation. This event is presented in the barns of Prince William Fairgrounds, over a two day period, presented by 100+ community members, agency partners, high school students, and local farmers. The participating teachers, and hundreds of chaperones, are also educated by our hands-on activities and demonstrations. We invite you to join us in October. No experience necessary; there are many varied tasks and none of them require rocket science!
The District founded the Arbor Day program in Prince William County schools 30 years ago in cooperation with the Arbor Day Foundation. The Board of County Supervisors, City of Manassas Beautification Committee, City of Manassas schools and Prince William County schools participate in Arbor Day cermonies annually. Historically Arbor Day included a poster contest program which we participated in until the Arbor Day Foundation abandoned it in 2010. Our District directors, associate directors and staff attend the ceremonies and present the Arbor Day proclamation to the school principal. The second grade elementary school children participate in an Arbor Day tree ceremony at their schools. All elementary grade students are taught the great importance and value that trees bring to our communities. Tom Neil of American Home Landscape Company donated and planted a tree at eight schools every year for 25 years. Kudos to Mr. Neil for his generous donation of time, materials and trees that enhance the beauty of every school. We thank Merrifield Garden Center for supplying trees and Quentin Hastings, Hastings Landscape, Nokesville, for providing our tree planting for the last two years.
Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE)
This program is Virginia Standards Of Learning based for third grade students to promote stewardship in the context of one's neighborhood and community. Carefully selected experiences, driven by academic learning standards engendering discovery and wonder, and nurturing a sense of community will further connect students with the watershed and help reinforce an ethic of responsible citizenship.
Thirteen hundred students have participated in these programs since 2012. The students are excited to get their hands down into the soil, learn the substance of soil, the uses of soil, NO SOIL - NO FOOD, and about the human impact on soil and water. There is an action component for every MWEE for restoration, stabilization or protection projects. Check out this video on youtube
The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Foundation, License Plate Grant awarded the Foundation with $1,500 for two MWEE programs. Approximately four hundred third grade students participate in MWEEs annually.
The programs will be conducted by District directors, associate directors, staff and volunteers. We invite you to volunteer for this great program. The students love this program. Training provided, no rocket science involved.
This program is held on Windy Knoll Farm, Nokesville, a working farm for cattle and sheep. We provide four learning stations that comply with the VA Standards of Learning for all grades.
Battlefield High School Riparian Buffer Project
United Airlines launched its new Eco-Skies Community Grants program in order to empower United Airlines co-workers to make positive environmental contributions to the communities they serve. In 2013, the Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation was awarded a grant for $5,000 for a riparian buffer planting project in cooperation with both United Airlines and Battlefield High School.
A healthy stream ecosystem depends on how we manage the land around it, particularly the riparian zone which includes the stream channel, banks, and the surrounding floodplain. A riparian buffer consists of established trees, shrubs, and meadow vegetation within the riparian zone. Such a buffer, once established, provides functions to include filtering pollution, decreasing erosion along the stream banks, improving flood control, improving water quality, cooling waters, and increasing wildlfie habitat.
This project took place on Catharpin Creek at Battlefield High School in Haymarket, and brought together partners: the Foundation, United Airlines, Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition, Earth Sangha, Ms. Thumser's Earth Science students at Battlefield High School, and volunteer employees of United Airlines. The finale of the project was completed with an in-service training for the teaching staff to explain the project and suggest ways the stream and riparian buffer can be utilized for teaching future high school students about environmental science and natural resources conservation. An information kiosk that explains the buffer project and how it protects natural resources was erected in cooperation with the school facility management office. The newly planted buffer area is used by the students for natural resources education. We will continue the conservation and education aspects of this project by starting a water monitoring component in coordination with the science classes and ecology clubs. Students could perform benthic organism monitoring on the creek in order to assess the health of the creek and its aquatic life communities over time. This project serves as a template for other county high schools with streams on their school property.
View the youtube
video for details.
Quantico Creek Water Monitoring Project
The Quantico Creek covers nearly 40 square miles and includes Dumfries, Quantico, Marine Corps Base Quantico, and Prince William Forest (National) Park in Prince William County.
Land use within the Quantico Creek watershed is approximately 78% undeveloped land, 18% residential, and 4% commercial/industrial. Highly eroded banks and resulting sediment that chokes aquatic organisms is evidence of the pressures on this creek. Any new delvelopment will put more strain on the creek by creating more impervious surfaces that lead to increased water flow during storm events, causing more erosion. In addition, in 2006 a branch of Quantico Creek was listed as impaired for fecal coliform bacteria. These high counts of coliform can be due to sewer overlows, runoff from agricultural/livestock operations, pet waste, and wildlife.
The Town of Dumfries has taken note of the problems in this creek. The Director of Public Works was approached by the District to begin looking into possible solutions to the bacteria impairment and a pilot project was formed. With the cooperation of the Deparment of Environmental Quality (DEQ), 4 sites were selected along the creek and volunteers began monitoring the creek for E.coli. Since June 2013, volunteers have conducted twice monthly coliscan monitoring and will continue.
Data for the first year showed that in late summer and early fall there were elevated levels of bacteria, with a trend of increasing bacteria counts as the water flowed through the Town of Dumfries. Very high bacteria counts were also noted during storm events when water flow and turbidity were high. Pet waste and/or a leaking sewer/septic system are suspected culprits. The goal of this project is to assist the Town of Dumfries (through Coliscan Easy Gel testing) in finding trends to narrow their efforts in addressing the bacteria impairment of Quantico Creek.
The Foundation is looking into the possiblity of starting a larger, more comprehensive water quality monitoring program to target more of the impaired streams within the county. By engaging citizen scientists (trained volunteers), baseline data can be collected on many of our streams, allowing us to maintain a more consistent assessment of the health of our waterways.
How Can You Help?
The Foundation is recruiting citizens to: financially support the Foundation, be trained to perform water quality monitoring, assist with the conservation education capsules program, volunteer for Farm Field Days in October, and assist with the MWEEs in the spring and fall.
There are lots of fun, rewarding opportunities for you to connect with our natural environment and introduce our youth to the wonders of their natural world. Come join us!
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