Delegate Kathy Tran (front left) presents a copy of the House of Delegates Joint Resolution to the Laurel Hill Park Volunteer Team, with Susan Laume, accepting for the group. From left, Volunteers attending: founding members John Wittman and Tim Beron; and members Ava Belmont, Craig & Lisa Schapira & family, Arystan Aitkaziyev, Dana Bukenova, Shane Storer, Karin Lehnigk.
Photo by Don Sweeney/Fairfax County Park Authority
The Virginia House of Delegates commended the Laurel Hill Park Volunteer Team (PVT) by Joint Resolution 257, delivered by Del. Kathy Tran (D-42), in a brief presentation ceremony on Dec. 12 in the Lorton Park.
The Resolution recognized the Laurel Hill PVT for its “mission to make Laurel Hill Park as beautiful and inviting as possible and to protect the park’s pristine nature, wildlife, birds, and plants…” The group had been recognized by Fairfax County in 2019, with the Elly Doyle Special Recognition Award, as one of the first groups to collaborate with the County Park Authority through the newly established Park Volunteer Team Program. The group stepped forward early to help refine the program model for coordinating park maintenance efforts between county employees and volunteers.
Though formally established as a PVT under the program’s new model in 2019, the volunteers began their efforts in 2018. A half dozen volunteers collected 27 bags of trash from the park in the group’s first public event in recognition of Earth Day on April 22, 2018. The group has since grown to about three dozen active members.
The team conducts several service activities throughout the year, including trash clean-ups, invasive plant removal, trail maintenance, and recently, the establishment and maintenance of two pollinator gardens featuring native plants. Events are held the second Saturday of each month for a portion of the year, and service hours are currently offered on Monday mornings, 9-10 a.m. under the direction of a trained team leader.
Readers can read the Joint Resolution full text at: https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?201+ful+HJ257+pdf.
The author is the organizer and leader of the Laurel Hill Park Volunteer Team.