It was a great way to spend a day – collaborating behind the Nature Forward Table at the Hybla Valley Community Center.
Hybla Valley is designated as an Opportunity Neighborhood in Fairfax County. United Community, a non-profit organization, hosted the holiday season outreach event handing out 100s of toys, a nutritional lunch, and a tremendous amount of information on community area services (police, health, assistance) to 700+ visitors.
The Nature Forward tables focused on the Little Hunting Creek watershed area that runs through Huntley Meadows Park and the Hybla Valley area out to the Potomac River. The tables included a Macro-invertebrates game and display to emphasize the importance of clean water in the neighborhood. A native leaf rubbing station for the kids, resource information for the adults and, boxes of free kid nature and seasonal story books. We counted 306 visitors to our table; I think the ‘bugs’ drew in a lot kids and their families.
The coordinator for Nature Forward was the gracious Renee Grebe and it was great to work with ARMN volunteers Eileen Miller and Eric Weyer. The team was rounded out by FMN reps Jo Doumbia and Jerry Nissley.
The team set up Nature Forward’s macro-invertebrates spin-wheel game, along with resin macro cubes (encasing real macros!), talked up their Water Keepers of Little Hunting Creek programming, and handed out flyers as the visitors streamed by.
Renee was very appreciative to have FOUR master naturalists at the table that could talk specifically about macro-invertebrates and how they are an indicator species of water quality. Macro-invertebrates are literally one of Eric’s specialties and he could tell a good story. Eileen and Jo had both helped with Nature Forward in the past and were very familiar with their objectives and messaging. They are all wonderful communicators and Jo provided additional benefit by being able to translate materials for the predominantly Spanish speaking guests.
Toys, Santa, buena comida, joy, and bug science! A lot of smiles left the building that day.