You may hear us call it “our ASB group” (we take pride in our future leaders of America!)Although, this isn’t the traditional college spring break, these kids mean business!
The students take on projects, building, cutting, chopping, digging, mainly learning new skills- then they go home and enjoy bragging rights. Well, there’s actually a little more to it than working and bragging…but they did admit they look forward to that part.
One of Mason Neck's three osprey platforms, ready to launch!
“It’s nice to work outdoors, I want a career working outside either in the parks or working with animals at the zoo,” said one student.
“…the bonfire at night and staying in the house was pretty cool, especially being waterfront and having warm weather!” laughed another student.
ASB is an organized group opportunity that most colleges offer to students. When arrangements are coordinated several months in advance, the students drive vans from school to park, and stay in park housing.
This group in particular, visited State Park from Rutgers University, in New Jersey. Their projects included trail work, cutting back brush, removing invasive species, and constructing large landing platforms for osprey nests. The diverse group consisted of both young men and women, with different academic majors, but all just looking for an opportunity to have fun while giving back to the community.
You can tell thiswas afun group, look at those smiles!
Speaking of community
Virginia State Parks for several years. Not only does the company support our parks by generous grant donations and volunteers, but they never hesitate to help when we come knocking. In this case, Mason Neck ranger, Mark Ingramm, made contact with the company seeking their help with the osprey platforms.
Three words: material, manpower and machines
Digging several feet into the ground is no easy task. Nor is hoisting three 45-foot long poles into the air along a hillside and putting them into the ground. Needless to say, the Dominion crew was there and worked hand-in-hand with the ASB students to build and finish construction of the osprey platforms.
The first osprey platform is by Beach Trail, a handicap accessible trail near the Visitor Center
On the hillside, working as a team to finish the first platform stand
Two otherosprey platforms were placed in Phase 2, a remote wildlife area of the park
Overall, the experience was a rewarding one
The students enjoyed their spring break, and it’s always a good feeling when everyone walks away with a positive experience.
Our thanks goes out to Dominion Power, once again, it’s clear thattheir commitmentour parks and the community is as important to them as it is to us. The project was a fantastic collaborative effort brought together by community, youth and of nature. We think the osprey would agree too.
For more information on the exact location of the newosprey platforms, call the park (703) 339-2384 or stop by the visitor center. A trail map of the park is also availablehere.
Location: Mason Neck State Park is in southern Fairfax County, about 20 miles from Washington, D.C. Access to the park is via U.S. 1, then five miles east on Route 242 (Gunston Road) to the park entrance.
Drive Time: Northern Virginia, half an hour (park is in Northern Virginia); Washington, D.C., 45 minutes; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, three hours; Richmond, one and a half hours; Roanoke, four hours.