Expo Emphasizes Environmental Stewardship in Mount Vernon

Expo Emphasizes Environmental Stewardship in Mount Vernon

Supervisor’s annual event at Fort Hunt Park grows every year.

Sophie Larson holding a rubber snake in the herpetology tent.

Sophie Larson holding a rubber snake in the herpetology tent.

The sun was out and the rain held off long enough for residents and environmental groups to share ideas on environmental stewardship at Supervisor Dan Storck’s (D-Mount Vernon) 5th Annual Environment Expo last weekend in Fort Hunt Park. There were over 45 vendors, a robot, firetrucks and enthusiasm at this annual gathering.
Mount Vernon School Board Member Karen Corbett Sanders, Student School Board Member and South County HS Senior Michelle Togbe, Supervisor Dan Storck and GW Memorial Parkway Superintendent Charles Cuvelier.


One thing Supervisor Storck has emphasized during his tenure is bicycling as an environmental and recreation element, and the Mount Vernon Bike Trail stretches through his district and sees thousands of riders every year. Coming next month, the new bicycle bridge over Dogue Creek is opening, and this is a much-needed amenity on the stretch of trail from Richmond Highway to the Mount Vernon Trail. Hopefully the bridge will be open for Bike to Work Day on May 19. Staffers in the district tent guaranteed that Storck will be biking to work that day.

In the Mount Vernon District, it’s hard to highlight environment and wildlife without talking about Huntley Meadows Park and one event highlighted was Wetlands Awareness Day, which is May 7 this year. There will be birds, reptiles, amphibians and interactive displays. “We emphasize meaningful encounters with wildlife,” said Mikala Day, volunteer in the Huntley Meadows tent.

Huntley Meadows is home to many snakes as part of the ecosystem, and there was a tent for “Herpetology,” the study of snakes. The garter snake may seem like the most common in this area but according to Sophie Larson, a herpetologist, the Eastern Worm Snake is more common, if less visible, around here. “They spend the time underground,” she said, eating worms and slugs.

The Fort Hunt History tent was away from the others, but closer to the “Eight Inch Battery,” ruins. At one time, Fort Hunt was a fort and there were cannons that could shoot to the Potomac River. It was never used in an actual battle, but in around 1900, they regularly fired practice rounds towards the river, said Owen Hammett, a volunteer with the park service for the past 18 years.

Other stations included the Department of Public Works and Environmental services where “every day is earth day for stormwater management,” said Catie Tortersen. The Friends of Accotink Creek are looking into urbanization, stormwater and invasive plants. The Friends has an upcoming project called the “Accotink Gorge Project,” to remove Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) vines, an invasive species.