Herons Take Up Residence at Kincora Birds Mark Annual Return to Unique Rookery

A large group of area residents, wildlife experts and community business leaders convened at Kincora (corner of routes 7 and 28) this past weekend to mark the annual return of the herons to the Kincora rookery—one of only a few of its kind in the region. “The birds arrive like clockwork each year around the first of March,” explained landowner Mike Scott.

Approximately 60 nests are currently being attended to by the birds that arrive, spend a couple of weeks fixing up their nests and then lay their eggs. Both parents continue to watch the nest and care for the hatchlings. The parents then leave around the first of June and the fledglings venture out on their own.

“We already have multi-family residential at Kincora,” Scott told the group, referring to the herons. The rookery is unique to Loudoun County and most herons from the region were born there.

The landowners of Kincora– Mike Scott and Dan Coughlan– have gone to painstaking ends to ensure that the rookery is protected and that development of the property will not disturb the birds in any way. “We want Loudoun County residents and bird/nature lovers to be able to see these amazing birds in residence,” said Scott.

Fortunately for the birds, Mike and Dan are sensitive to them and their environment. The property was initially zoned for by-right industrial uses that were less than sensitive to the heron’s natural habitat. Scott and Coughlan were able to get the zoning changed on the property that will allow for larger set-backs and protection areas around the rookery. “We wanted to preserve and protect the herons, in addition to proferring to give the County approximately 160 acres for a park along the Broad Run and around the rookery, we’ve also designed building setbacks and trail setbacks that will keep the birds protected from any construction disturbances,” Coughlan added. The land owners have also designed reforested buffers between their proposed buildings and the rookery for further protection. Kincora recently planted more than 69,000 trees and shrubs on the site.

Although these property owners have gone to such great lengths, other commercial properties on the other side of the Broad Run have recently been built fairly close and with generators. But the birds don’t seem to mind. They are active and busy right now securing their nests for their soon-to-be offspring.

“The Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank: Native Plants and Natural Channel Design”

Join Loudoun County Master Gardeners at their free monthly lecture series on Thursday, April 4, at 7:00 p.m. at the Rust library, 380 Waterford Road NW, Leesburg.

Mike Rolband, President of Wetland Studies and Solutions in Gainesville, will discuss the creation of the Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank, which to date has restored 45,000 linear feet of degraded streams in Reston. His presentation will focus specifically on native planting and restoration techniques that have contributed to the environmental success of this project. Reston is a unique urban space that is home to many species of bird and other wildlife that might have been threatened by the project, but in fact, the project has earned accolades from various conservation groups such as the Northern Virginia Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy and the Northern Virginia Soil and Water ConservationDistrict. Please join us for another interesting talk.

For more information about the lecture or the Loudoun County Master Gardener program, visit www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org or call the Loudoun Extension Office at 703-777-0373.

Renewal is Here

Be inspired! Bring the family and enjoy the showing of Renewal, a documentary that captures the vitality and diversity of today’s religious – environmental activists. The eight stories presented illustrate that from within their Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim traditions, Americans are becoming caretakers of the Earth.

Free, open to the public. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and the film will begin at 7:00. Film is 90 min long. The film is appropriate for Middle and High School students as well as adults, and younger children can enjoy “The Lorax” downstairs (with adult supervision).

This film showing is the second in a Green Film Series sponsored by the UUCL Green Team. For more information, e-mail Natalie Pien at natcpien@verizon.net.

10th District Academy Day Set for April 6

Area students interested in attending one of the nation’s service academies are encouraged to attend the 10th District Academy Day from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, at the Loudoun County School Board Office in Ashburn, Rep. Wolf (VA-10th) announced.

Representatives from the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy will be in attendance. In addition, representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, Virginia Military Institute and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets have been invited.

Students and parents will have the opportunity to meet with these representatives, as well as participate in panel discussions.

The 2018 Academy nomination season is now “open” for inquiries from students considering attending one of the U.S. service academies. For more information about the congressional nominating process or Academy Day, contact Ann Potocnak in Wolf’s Herndon office at (703) 709-5800, or go to wolf.house.gov and click on “Academy Nominations” to complete an online Candidate Registration form.

The address of the Loudoun County School Board Office is: 21000 Education Court, Ashburn, Virginia 20146.

Mission to Our Home Planet, a Future with No Landfills and Some Fine Music!

Loudoun County Regional Science and Engineering Fair Energy and Environmental Sustainability Awards Results and Ceremony Announcement

Every year REHAU, Inc. of Leesburg Virginia along with Sustainable Loudoun sponsors four awards for the Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The name of the award is the Energy and Environmental Sustainability Award. The presentation ceremony will be on Wednesday April 24 at REHAU’s North America headquarters at 1501 Edwards Ferry Rd. in Leesburg. The students will display their winning projects and be available to discuss them at 6:00 p.m. Between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. entertainment will be provided by the Potomac Falls High School (PFHS) Guitar Quartet sponsored by Sand Energy. The formal program begins at 7:00 p.m. with a talk by NASA astrophysicist Dr. Michelle Thaller. Dr. Edgar B. Hatrick, III, Superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools will present the awards. Refreshments will be provided by REHAU. This event is free and open to the public.

The winning project is titled hopefully “A Future with No Landfills” and wouldn’t that be nice. The young student researchers for first place are a team of seniors: Cara Broshkevitch from the Loudoun Valley High School and Anne Richards from the Stone Bridge High School. Both also attend the Academy of Science. They will share a $500.00 first prize. Cara and Anne combined UV and thermal pretreatment with biodegradation using a combination of fungus and bacteria to develop a cost effective and safe way to dispose of high-density plastics which normally take over 100 years to degrade in our landfills. In addition to this award, these young scientists also won the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s first place and the second place “Keep Loudoun Beautiful” award.

Sanjana Kurup a senior at Broad Run High School and also from the Academy of Science is the second place winner and Jeffrey Zhang a senior at Loudoun Valley High School and the Academy of Science is the third place winner. Sanjana will receive $300.00 and Jeffrey will receive $200.00. Sanjana studied the use of microalgae to prevent estuary eutrophication while simultaneously generating a source of bio-fuels. Jeffery developed a mathematical model to describe an invasive species in the Puget sound so that he could analyze the effectiveness of various treatment methods. Mathematical modeling is used extensively by scientists and engineers because in situ experimentation is often impractical, uneconomical or even dangerous.

Sanjana also won first place in the Energy and Transportation category, and an award from the Virginia Dental Association. Jeffrey added second place in the Mathematics category, a Willowcroft Science Scholarship, and an award from the Northern Virginia Dental Society.

Alyssa Choo is awarded an Honorable Mention with the best project by a freshman. Alyssa is a student at the Stone Bridge High School. Alyssa researched the use of duckweed to leach out fertilizers, pesticides, sewage and nitrite from the burning of fossil fuels from ground water. She has plans to test the use of other plants in the future.
Alyssa also won the Aspiring Scientist Award-Environmental Management, honorable mention from the Federal Water Quality Association, and an award from the Northern Virginia Dental Society.

The monetary prizes are provided by REHAU. Once again there were many high quality research projects and it was very difficult to select winners. This special category was judged this year by Mike Maher of REHAU, Don Sandros of Sand Energy and president of Sustainable Loudoun and me, all of us representing Sustainable Loudoun.

Figure 1: Dr. Michelle Thaller, NASA

Dr. Michelle Thaller is a nationally recognized spokesperson for astronomy and science, and the Assistant Director of Science at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center. Michelle has a Bachelor’s in astrophysics from Harvard, and a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. Michelle’s research specialized in the evolution of binary star systems, and she has used the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, as well as ground-based observatories such as Mount Palomar, Kitt Peak, and Mount Stromlo for her observations. After a post-doctoral research fellowship at Caltech, Michelle became particularly interested in public outreach and science communication.

Moving to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Michelle is now the Assistant Director of Science for Communications. She has produced and starred in several podcasts series available on iTunes and YouTube [1], and she has received the highest honors for on-line programming. Michelle has been one of the regular hosts of “The Universe,” television series on the History Channel, NatGeo’s “the Known Universe” and Discovery Channel’s “How the Universe Works.” Behind the scenes, Michelle has led efforts to develop high-quality apps for smartphones and tablets, as well as involve NASA missions with social media outlets such as FaceBook, Twitter, and Second Life. In her current role, Michelle represents all of NASA’s science themes, from Earth science and climate change, the Sun and space weather, solar system exploration, all the way out to cosmology and the deep universe. Michelle speaks to members of Congress and their staff regularly, as well as international embassy staff and internal NASA policy-makers. She continues to be inspired by the fact that NASA is a world treasure, and the universe belongs to everyone equally.

The Abstract for her talk:

Mention the word “NASA”, and what comes to mind for most people is astronauts on the Moon, or spectacular pictures of distant galaxies from the Hubble Space Telescope. In fact, NASA’s most important mission may be to somewhere much closer –the planet right below your feet. NASA currently operates 13 missions that explore the Earth, from measuring algae growth in the oceans, to finding forest fires in the Amazon, to imaging the ice sheets at our poles. For 42 years now, we have produced a continuous record of what our planet looks like as a whole, seen from space. And even in that time, there have been some very obvious changes. Find out what NASA can see from our high vantage point of space, and what this may mean for the future of our world.

Dr. Hatrick is in his 21st year as Superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools. Over his 46 year career in Loudoun County he has been a high school teacher of English, high school principal, director of special education, director of instruction, supervisor of guidance and foreign languages, and assistant superintendent for pupil services.

Figure 2: The Potomac Falls High School (PFHS) Guitar Quartet

The Potomac Falls High School (PFHS) Guitar Quartet was founded in 2007 by the Director of Guitar at PFHS, Mr. Hart Wells. Since that time the quartet has been featured in performances in and around the Washington DC area, Virginia, New York City, and North Carolina. Recent engagements include concerts at the Croatian Embassy, the American Association of School Administrators, Cathedral of Saint John the Devine (NYC), Shenandoah University, James Madison University, Appalachian State University, as well as invitational performances by the Master Singers of Virginia and the Loudoun Ballet. So well-regarded that this ensemble has been asked to perform on the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center this upcoming May 2nd, 2013. This performance is a part of the Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts initiative and the students are very excited to represent not only PFHS but all of Loudoun County Public Schools at the event. The quartet members are senior, Joey Lehning; juniors, Maya Loncar and Tristan O’Shea; and sophomore, Maryam Hajialigol.

For more information please contact Mike Maher, Mgr. – Renewable Energies, REHAU, Inc., 1501 Edwards Ferry Rd., Leesburg, VA 20176, Website: www.rehau.com, michael.maher@rehau.com

[1] Some of Michelle Thaller YouTube lectures:

David Keran of Round Hill Inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is pleased to announce that David Keran, of Round Hill, was recently initiated into Phi Kappa Phi – the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Keran is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice at Longwood University.

Keran is among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors, having at least 72 semester hours, are eligible for membership. Graduate students in the top 10 percent of the number of candidates for graduate degrees may also qualify, as do faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction.

Stop Hunger Now Meal Packaging Event Seeks Volunteers

On Saturday, April 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Stop Hunger Now will hold its third annual meal-packaging event in Round Hill to be held at Round Hill Elementary School, 17115 Evening Star Drive, Round Hill, VA 20141. The event is hosted by Round Hill United Methodist Church. One thousand volunteers are needed to package 150,000 meals. Stop Hunger Now’s meal packaging events are a fun, hands-on way to make a difference and impact the lives of those suffering from hunger. Each meal costs approximately 25 cents. Monetary donations are also needed.

Stop Hunger Now is an international hunger relief organization that coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world. The organization is driven by a vision of a world without hunger and a mission to end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable and by creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources.

Stop Hunger Nows meal packaging program provides volunteers the opportunity to package dehydrated, high protein, and highly nutritious meals that are used primarily to support development programs and to save lives in developing countries around the world.

To make a donation or register for the event, go to

44th Annual Bluemont Fair Seeks Poster Design

Organizers of the 444thANNUAL BLUEMONT FAIR, to be held September 21 and 22 2013 invite artists of all ages and abilities to submit designs for consideration as the logo for this year’s poster and brochure. The theme this year is “Mountain Streams (e.g. Butcher’s Branch) and Native Plants”. Submitted designs should be rendered simply and with minimal color that can be easily replicated on the Bluemont Fair’s distinctive poster, t-shirt, mug, etc. The artist’s name will be printed on the poster and his/her work acknowledged in Bluemont Fair publicity.

All artwork should be received on or before May 1, 2013, to: Bluemont Fair Poster Art Competition, P.O. Box 217, Bluemont, Virginia, 20135. Individuals requesting return of their submission should also include a self-addressed, stamped mailing receptacle.

Winner will be announced in mid-May. For further information or to arrange for in-person delivery of your entry: 540-554-2367 (voice mail) or www.bluemontfair.org.

Veterans Offered Full Scholarship and Support To Hike the Iconic Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), in partnership with Warrior Hike, Operation Military Embrace, the Military Family Lifestyle Charitable Foundation, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, has launched a new initiative called the “Walk Off the War” program. This program will provide 13 military veterans the opportunity to reconnect with the United States in a uniquely physical and psychological way – a fully funded scholarship to hike the Appalachian Trail (A.T.).

The objective of this program is to provide these veterans a self-directed, self-paced journey along the A.T. Hiking the Trail provides the opportunity to eliminate the negative effects of the war, through walking in nature, engaging with other hikers and experiencing the hospitality of the Trail towns along the A.T. In the end, the goal is to return these soldiers back into civilian society with the greatest opportunity for success in their personal and professional lives.

All participating veterans are not required to hike the entire A.T., but rather experience the physical, psychological and spiritual benefits of the Trail.

“Similar to Earl Shaffer, the first A.T. thru-hiker, these veterans will have the opportunity to journey along the Appalachian Trail and experience first hand the benefits of retreating back into nature,” stated Rich Daileader, former thru-hiker and board member of the ATC. “The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to partner up with Warrior Hike and several other Military and Veteran organizations to offer this incredible experience to our military veterans.”

The A.T. was completed in 1937 and is a unit of the National Park System. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. The Trail goes through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the Trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.

An estimated two to three million people visit the Trail every year and about 2,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the entire Trail. Out of those who attempt to thru-hike, only one out of four complete the journey, taking approximately five to seven months.

The program will provide full scholarships to equip and support 13 military veterans. The first group of veterans will begin their journey on March 17 in Springer Mountain, Georgia. The rest of the veterans will begin their hike by April 15.

The ATC, trail maintaining clubs along the A.T. and veterans groups in various “trail towns” will provide the veterans, who may travel alone or in small groups, with ancillary support services. This may include hosting a hiker or arranging transportation.

Two of the driving forces behind this initiative are Captains Sean Gobin and Mark Silvers, two Marines that upon returning from Afghanistan in 2012, hiked the A.T. to help purchase adapted vehicles for seriously wounded veterans. They are also the co-founders of Warrior Hike, a non-profit organization geared to raise funds for wounded veterans.

This year’s group of veterans includes Adam Bautz, Rob Carmel, Steve Clendenning, Stephanie Cutts, Dick Erwin, Gary Ewin, Chris Galemore, Thomas Gathman, William Guill, Jeff Harper, Kevin Reed, Sharon Smith, and Cody Umphress.

This event is sponsored by 2Toms, Adventure Medical Kits, Ahnu, Antigravity Gear, Backcountry Edge, The Earl Shaffer Foundation, Easton Mountain Products, Good Sports, Granite Gear, Katadyn, Kelty, Leki, L.L. Bean, McKee Foods, Off Grid Expeditions, Railriders, Sawyer, The A.T. Guide, and Wise Company.

For more information about this program visit www.appalachiantrail.org/events or www.walkoffthewar.com.

An Evening with Buddy Holly Featuring Robbie Limon

Robbie Limon brings his stage and music presentation of “An Evening with Buddy Holly” to the Franklin Park Arts Center in Purcellville on Saturday, March 23 , at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and & &17 for students and seniors and can be purchased online at http://www.franklinparkartscenter.org

Spend the evening with Buddy Holly as he rehearses his band for the 1958 Winter Dance Party tour of mid-western States. This show features over 20 songs recorded during 1956-1958 and all are performed live and ‘in-person’. You can ask questions about Buddy’s career, his music, and his future. This unique format for a stage play is certain to give an inside look at a life that has been described as eighteen months of fame and generations of influence.

Robbie Limon’s physical appearance and vocal interpretations are simply uncanny.

The Franklin Park Arts Center opened on February 2, 2008 after more than a decade of fundraising and construction. The 2012/2013 season runs thru June 2013 and features local, national and international performers. Subscription and group discounts are available. For more information visit www.franklinparkartscenter.org

Leesburg Business Awards Seeks Nominations

Nominations for the Town of Leesburg’s 12th Annual Business Appreciation Awards are being accepted for outstanding business practices as the apply to one of the 10 award categories:

  • Ambassador Award
  • Community Steward Award
  • Environmental Award
  • Heritage Award
  • Home-Based Business Award
  • Innovations Award
  • New Business Award
  • Public Art Award
  • Veterans Affairs Award
  • The George C. Marshall Award

Nominations can be submitted online by going to www.leesburgva.gov/business or you can download the form to submit through mail, fax or in person.

The Call for Nomination deadline is Friday, March 29, 2013. Please forward this information on to other members of your organization.

The nominees and award recipients’ will be recognized at a reception on Wednesday, May 15 at ProJet Aviation.

For more information, contact Doug Parsons at 703-771-6530 or dparsons@leesburgva.gov

Purcellville Police Blotter for week of 3/2/13 – 3/8/13

3/2/13 – 11:49 p.m. – 600 block of Kinvarra Pl. – Nonviolent Family Dispute – Complaint worked by police and resolved.
3/2/13 – 10:38 p.m. – 100 block of N. 16th St. – Public Intoxication – Debora C. Shipman-White age 54 of Purcellville was arrested.
3/4/13 – 12:07 p.m. – 700 block of Pipers Ln. – Identity Theft – Victim reports that some stole their information and then used it to access their accounts.
3/4/13 – 8:15 a.m. – 105 Purcellville Gateway Dr. – Disorderly Conduct – Hosni E. Parada-Cruz age 31 was charged.
3/5/13 – 1:30 a.m. – Hirst Rd. / Hatcher Ave. – Liquor Law Violations – Cody N. Cunningham age 18 of Purcellville, Jared M. Martin age 19 and William N. Martin age 19 both of Hamilton were charged.
3/5/13 – 1:30 p.m. – 800 block of Holly Ave. – Burglary / Breaking & Entering – Victim reports that unknown person(s) entered the house and stole property. Loss valued at $1500.00.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy Selects Community Ambassadors

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has selected five Appalachian Trail Community™ Ambassadors for the state of Virginia. J.D. Hibbitts has been selected to serve as the volunteer ambassador of Damascus, Diana Billips will serve as the ambassador to Bland County, Tim Miller will serve as the ambassador to Troutville, Jennifer Keck will serve as the ambassador to Luray and Page County and Alyson Browett will serve as the ambassador to Front Royal and Warren County. Each will serve as a community liaison to the ATC and their respective local volunteer clubs to encourage volunteerism and stewardship of the Trail at the local level. This year there are 17 ambassadors serving 15 different communities along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.).

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited about building its volunteer base by providing A.T. Ambassadors to designated A.T. Communities to help increase local stewardship of public lands and support healthy lifestyles for community citizens,” stated Julie Judkins, Community Program Manager of the ATC.

Hibbitts, originally from southwest Virginia, has traveled the world as an enlisted member of the U.S. Air Force. After completing his enlistment, he enrolled at Emory & Henry College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing. While in school, he completed a thru-hike of the A.T. and received certifications in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. Most recently, he attained a Master of Fine Arts degree at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. His writing also appears in A.T. Journeys magazine.

Billips, a board member of the Piedmont A.T. Hikers, operates the club’s hiking program, including monthly hikes and the “70 Mile Club.” She is responsible for maintaining a section of the A.T., is a lifelong resident of southwest Virginia and an avid hiker. This is Billips’ second year as an A.T. Community™ Ambassador.

Miller attended Virginia Tech and attained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry and Wildlife and a Master of Arts Degree in Education. He is currently a teacher at Central Academy Middle School in Botetourt County where he completed the ATC’s Trail to Every Classroom program in 2011. Miller is an Eagle Scout, lifelong hiker and backpacker.

Keck graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. She is the president of the Shenandoah Valley Tourism Association and the former Director of Tourism for Front Royal. Keck is a trained Master Naturalist and hopes to promote Trail-friendly policies in the local government.

“The Ambassador program will contribute to my knowledge of both the Appalachian Trail and Appalachian Trail Conservancy programs that enhance and protect the Trail and Trail experience,” stated Keck.

A new member of the Front Royal/Warren County A.T. Community™ committee, Browett is an avid hiker and naturalist who has spent time in the woods around northern Virginia her entire life. As a public health professional, personal trainer and chef, she is interested in making people more mindful of how health, exercise and nutrition intersect. She hopes to use her position as an A.T. Ambassador to build a stronger awareness of the Trail, encourage volunteerism, conservation efforts and inspire community members to go outside for some fresh air.

The Appalachian Trail Community™ program is designed to recognize communities that promote and protect the A.T. Towns, counties and communities along the A.T.’s corridor are considered assets by A.T. hikers and many of these towns act as good friends and neighbors to the Trail. The program serves to assist communities with local initiatives such as sustainable economic development through tourism and outdoor recreation, while preserving and protecting the A.T. Since the program’s inception in 2010, 28 communities have been designated with five-10 communities expected to be entered into the program in 2013.

The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. The A.T. is a unit of the National Park System, stretching from Georgia to Maine, at approximately 2,180 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours of their time doing trail-related work each year and about two to three million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.