Grant for Blake Lane Park

Grant for Blake Lane Park

The Fairfax County Park Foundation has received a $20,000 grant to support the removal of invasive plants and replace them with new seedlings at Blake Lane Park in Oakton, Virginia. The funding is provided by the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation’s Environmental Education and Stewardship program. The small suburban park – with its forested trail, dog park and fields – was chosen for this program due to the high density of Ailanthus altissima, and strong community volunteer support for the Fairfax County Park Authority’s (FCPA) Invasive Management Area program (IMA).

Ailanthus, also known as the "Tree-of-Heaven," is a host tree for the spotted lanternfly, a rapidly spreading forest pest, a threat to both forests and agriculture in Virginia. To bolster the efforts to eliminate it from Blake Lane Park, FCPA will expand Ailanthus removal to encompass another 1.2 acres in the coming year. Grant funds will go toward purchasing seedlings and replanting this area with shrubs and native trees at a ratio of 100 stems per acre. Community volunteers, through the IMA program, have committed to remove invasive plants, replant native seedlings and work to support the long-term health of the forest restoration. Additionally, a FCPA funding match will provide long-term maintenance and community engagement at the site.

"At Dominion Energy, we're proud to support the Fairfax County Park Foundation with an education and stewardship grant to enhance our local parks,” said Peggy Fox, Dominion Energy, media and community relations manager.

The IMA program has been conducting invasive removal and replanting in park land primarily through the work of organized volunteer community members for nearly 17 years. Since the program began, some 16,441 volunteers have donated 111,236 hours to remove invasive plants from 65 park sites.

"The conservation and restoration of our parks and woodlands requires a community wide effort and our Invasive Management Area program is a shining example of a community-forward approach to achieving those aims," said Laura Grape, director of Resource Management with the FCPA.