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VolunteerFest

People volunteer their time at two projects in Reston.

In Reston, several dozen volunteers participated in two projects last Saturday as part of the 11th annual VolunteerFest organized by Volunteer Fairfax.

Volunteer Fairfax helped plan 55 service projects in the region with more than 900 volunteers participating.

The event, done in conjunction with the national Make a Difference Day, attracted individuals, families, corporate teams, and community groups to help nonprofit groups and other organizations throughout the region.

MANY VOLUNTEERS went to Reston’s Sunrise Valley Wetland Park to plant native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers in Reston. The project was coordinated by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.

"Volunteer Fairfax is huge; they have been a huge help," said Kevin Munroe, of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia. "It’s the volunteers that make this happen." He said that because of all the volunteers, with both Volunteer Fairfax and Audubon at Home, more than 100 plants were planted along the edge of the park as a "living boundary."

"This is fun," said Gerardo Fernandez, who along with his daughter Elena participated in the project. "In the springtime, we’re going to come back here and see how it ends up." Earlier in the morning, he had helped remove invasive plant species in another part of the county as part of a National Wildlife Federation volunteer project.

Linda Dyer, who works at Leapfrog Solutions in Fairfax, said she came out because volunteering is so helpful to the community. "I feel we should be giving back to the community," said Dyer.

Carol Hadlock, who often goes bird watching at the park, wanted to help plant species that would also create more wildlife at the park. "So many of our natural places are disappearing with all the development in Northern Virginia," said Hadlock. She added that it’s dependent on volunteers and others to help preserve wildlife habitats.

AT RESTON REGIONAL LIBRARY, about 15 volunteers came out Saturday to help the library move its children's non-fiction section and do some landscaping outside. Elizabeth Rhodes, the children’s manager at the library, said the book reorganization was need to make room for the new children’s Spanish collection given to the library as part of a grant from Exxon Mobil.

"It would take us weeks to do all this as staff, but with all these volunteers, we can knock it out in about six hours," said Rhodes.

Mary Suggs of Chantilly brought along her 13-year-old son, Preston, to help and learn about community service. "It’s important to help out the community whenever you can," said Preston, who has also volunteered to feed the homeless and pick up trash in the community.