All photos – Jerry Nissley
Saturday, 23 April, was filled with Earth Day related activities all over Fairfax County. Four FMN, Susan Magnin, Kim Munshower, Benjamin Umansky, and Jerry Nissley assisted Hidden Oaks Park in their display area for Culmore Community Day at Woodrow Wilson library and grounds in Annandale.
It was another wonderful display of natural science and information by Hidden Oaks Nature Center but more importantly it brought a little bit of nature to a community that may not otherwise be exposed to it. The local elementary school, Bailey’s Elementary, brought their five classes of 2nd graders to Huntley Meadows Park last week and I was able to lead a class on an interpretive walk through the wetlands. I witnessed then the excitement on their faces and their enthusiasm to be outside, to learn by experiencing,
to see a snapping turtle, to hear a frog, to watch a snake eat a frog (yes that happened). I even recognized a few of the same children come through the Hidden Oaks display today, so maybe they want more. Could have been the free hotdogs though.
Culmore is from the Irish: Cúil Mhór/an Chúil Mhór, meaning “the great corner”. Culmore nowadays is a ‘great community’ close to Lake Barcroft in Annandale and Culmore Community Day was quite the to-do. Live music, live science, free hotdogs, ice cream, face painting, and just about all Fairfax County services were represented from police and fire (lights flashing) to health agencies and social services. The event, sponsored by the Fairfax County Park Authority, is aimed at connecting
the community with county and local resources that people might not know about, as well as providing fun activities for families. There were about 30 booths set up by county agencies, local nonprofits, and businesses with information about home ownership opportunities, healthcare, after-school programs, nutrition, and much more, while kids got a chance to explore a fire truck and ambulance.
Hidden Oaks Nature Center provided indoor and outdoor nature displays with all the touchy-feely things any child would like, and a few
creepy-crawly things they did not (eeewww). A box turtle, a fox, a cornsnake (not eating a frog), an American toad, wood frog tadpoles (a Hidden Oaks specialty), and bugs, bugs, bugs galore. Caterpillars, mantids, bess bugs, millipedes, meal worms, and many more. The outside display had information on the benefits of ladybugs along with a live native species that the visitors were able to release into the environment. The Hidden Oaks Nature Center is BUGGED!