Environment Expo Examines Local Challenges

Event gets participants involved.

In Fairfax County, there are three main types of ticks, but only one type — the deer tick — is linked to lyme disease. The others could carry an

assortment of germs, so preventing a bite in the first place is an important step with ticks, said Andy Lima with the Fairfax County Health Department. Ticks were just one of many environmental concerns at Mount Vernon’s first Environment Expo held at Walt Whitman Middle School on Saturday, Nov. 10. “We’re trying to get people to help themselves,” said Lima.

The tick table was one of 20 informational booths spread around the room at Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck’s expo that focused on everything from rainfall runoff to stream health, litter, plastic drinking bottles and global warming.

“It’s all of the above, efforts to improve our environment,” Storck said, “it’s absolutely one of my passions, one of my commitments.”

The Mount Vernon District edges up against the Potomac River, and has eight major streams that empty into it so pollution from all points upstream potentially end up in Storck’s district. He holds annual clean ups, and has volunteer groups helping out, but it continues.

“Our challenge is Little Hunting Creek, lot of stuff flows down hill,” Storck said. “We’re here to help people understand all that,” he said.

Will Friedman, a teenager on Storck’s environmental committee, was at the expo with Patrick Martinez, a Boy Scout from Troop 996, to

demonstrate how things flow downstream. They had a model, and used water, trash bits, dye and gravity to demonstrate this. “We show people how pollution gets in the waterways,” Friedman said. Martinez is working on an environmental merit badge.

Alexandria resident Sue Allen found little things will help, so she was thinking about using her own coffee cup when she hits the coffee shop, using her own bags and other “small things that make a difference,” she said.

Accotink Creek is an “impaired stream,” that flows into Mount Vernon, and Dave Lincoln was there to highlight the problems and had a plastic animal made of water bottles to help. “One of our biggest problems is high chlorides from salt run-off in the winter,” he said. Lincoln is a member of Friends of Accotink Creek and is part of the “Salt Management Strategy,” working group.

George Ledec, a part of “Friends of Huntley Meadows,” had a picture to show the struggle Huntley Meadows has with external threats. “It’s basically an island of green surrounded by urban development,” he said. Ledec and his wife Kathy are also involved with the latest effort with the bike trail through Huntley Meadows.

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