Volunteer Opp: Adopt Part of Gulf Branch Nature Center

by ARLnow.com October 13, 2010 at 9:22 am 2,608 9 Comments

You’ve heard of adopting a highway. Now you can adopt something much less noisy and dangerous: a patch of forest at Gulf Branch Nature Center.

Naturalist Jennifer Soles is looking for volunteers who want to call part of the nature center their own. Volunteers would be responsible for keeping the area free of invasive plants and litter. In recognition of their work, a small marker will be placed in the ground bearing the name of the volunteer or the volunteer group.

Soles said that adopting an area is a great way to get to know the forest in greater detail.

“It’s your area,” she said. “You see the long-term health and recovery of that area, and that’s very gratifying.”

“Eventually I’d like to see the whole park adopted,” Soles added, while acknowledging that would require a lot of volunteers.

Children as young as middle school may be able to effectively manage an adopted area on their own, Soles said. Adoption is also an ideal volunteer opportunity for groups.

For more information, call 703-228-3404 or email jsoles[at]arlingtonva.us.

Photo c0urtesy Community Volunteer Network

  • PikeHoo

    This sounds like a great program, although there should be some focus on non-native (to VA) species as well. I cringe when I see the yards of local doofs who have planted bamboo in their yards because they want “more privacy.”

  • Lou

    Not much more than a year ago the County was proposing shutting down Gulf Branch. Enough people got together and rallied and got the board to reconsider. I wish the county could find it within their almost one-billion dollar operating budget to maintain resources like the various nature centers and planetarium. Gulf Branch and the Planetarium are holding on only with the help of volunteers and donors, when they are resources that the County should be providing within the budget.

    • el fat kid

      yeah. this is your county board acting immature and hoping you fall for a cheap budget gimmick.

      they pick a popular item in a wealthy neighborhood to highlight as a budget cut in an effort to distract attention from their incompetencies… it gets people riled and the board gains leverage to raise taxes, push through another bond sale, or cut something else that’s mildly popular.

      It’s kind of like when the park service faces budget cuts they claim they’ll have to shut down the Washington Monument.

      Gulf Branch, Cherrydale library, the planetarium, water parks etc. etc. are all irrelevant in terms of a billion dollar budget. Just more cheap gimmicks by cheap politicians who have no sense of responsible budgeting.

      • CHouse

        I have to disagree. While it is possible that the County Board knowingly picks facilities in wealthy neighborhoods to distract residents, I do question what the “imcompetencies” are. Is it that they relied too much on commercial real estate taxes? Is it that they didn’t figure out that there would be a housing bubble? Is it that they caved to residents who wanted new facilities instead of taking a “tough love” approach and saying “no”? Perhaps it’s that 50% if the nearly $1 billion budget goes to schools?

        There has been a lot of complaining about the rapid increase in the County budget over the past decade (the past few years notwithstanding). The problem is that residents who love their planetariums and nature centers balk at the idea that, in times of budget pressure, these places should be scaled back or closed.

        • el fat kid

          they are incompetent.

          13 million dollars for an affordable housing facility at a cost of $660,000/unit. Spending more than $200,000 above the median home price (average for the last 3 months) on ‘affordable’ housing is insane!!! Putting in granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances in county office buildings is also ridic. This county is riddled with inefficiencies since no one has ever pushed them to be responsible. The board tries (and is apparently successful) to dupe residents into believing cutting the popular community items that can be considered ‘luxuries’ is a part of being efficient. It’s not.

          With this tax base you can have nice things even in economic downturns if you’re efficient in other areas. This board is not responsible or effective – if you keep falling for their stupid gimmicks, they’re going to keep pulling them.

        • NorthAdams

          or over $1million for a dumb stupid and embarrasingly labeled lawsuit against the HOT Lanes. That money could have been used to the Planetarium AND GUlf Branch

        • Greg

          I see the problem exactly the other way. Revenues are way up over the past decade. The County Board has no problem wasting that money or spending it on stupid pet projects (adult tricycles anyone?). But at the same time it eliminates services that the community actually has used for a long, long time.

          The services mentioned above, spray parks, nature centers, library hours, the planetarium, and others like the Lubber Run Amphitheater are 10s of thousands of dollars. The County could easily afford these if it was willing to make tough decisions.

          The County Board has a dream of creating a yuppie paradise in Arlington. That’s fine. We all should benefit from the revenue that brings in and I do generally support the initiates (and the new restaurant choices). But the Board shouldn’t forget that this is first and foremost a community. Don’t make Arlington a great place to get pizza and a beer, but a dreary place for real families to live.


    Maybe Arlington citizens could adopt a County manager. Clean them up. Do some weeding? Maybe some pruning???

  • MariaC

    LOL. I see the County Board haters are out in force. If the story was that the county was increasing the funding for the nature centers, the haters would be wailing about how the money should be spent elsewhere. Haters: Get a life!


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