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The Eagle Festival Has a Reduced Schedule

Due to the Rain.  

10 AM to 6 PM, Saturday May 7, 2022




The Eagle Festival will be live and in-person this year, but the Park has had to change a number of things because of the rain.  Here is a schedule of the programs for the day:


Visitor Center Activities

10 am - 6 pm Wildlife Photography Exhibit throughout the center

10:30 am Pollinator Program by Secret Garden Birds and Bees in Explorer Hall

11:30 am Eagle Cam Viewing in Explorer Hall

3:30 pm Pollinator Presentation by Secret Garden Birds and Bees in Explorer Hall


Wildlife Tent

11:30 am Wildlife Show by Echoes of Nature in Wildlife Tent

12:30 pm Wildlife Show by Wildlife Center of Virginia in Wildlife Tent

1pm - 6 pm  Wildlife Wonders Programs/ Eagle Watch Program by Park Rangers


Hartwell Children's Tent

11 am Kids Nature Puppet Show

1 pm Kids Nature Puppet Show

2pm - 6 pm Art & Crafts and Nature Games by Park Rangers

    

               

Costumed characters will travel around the festival site to entertain you and your children. 


        

 

Unfortunately, there will be no food vendors, live bands, boating bonanza, or hay rides to see the eagle nest in the park.  Paring will be limited to the paved lot by the picnic area, so cars don't get stuck when parking on the grassy field.


The festival is free and open to everyone.  Bring an umbrella and come out to enjoy the day at Mason Neck State Park!



Mason Neck State Park Manager

Reinhardt Gray Retires;

Receives Commendation from the State




Reinhardt Gray, Manager of Mason Neck State Park, has retired after a 10-year career with Virginia State Parks. Mr. Gray came to Mason Neck State Park as Park Manager in 2015.

He began his career with Virginia State Parks as a Park Ranger at Belle Isle State Park in 2011. He was promoted to Assistant Manager at Leesylvania State Park, where he established a strong relationship with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, giving underserved children in the community the opportunity to participate in the Great American Campout. Mr. Gray continued that tradition at Mason Neck State Park.

As his career with State Parks progressed, Mr. Gray was promoted to Manager at High Bridge State Park, a 26-mile long rails-to-trails park. Much of his work was focused on working with the various communities surrounding the park.


As Manager at Mason Neck State Park, Mr. Gray was instrumental in forming a coalition of the leaders of the 6,000+ acres of public lands found on Mason Neck. Working together with a united mission, the coalition became a support structure for sharing resources and ideas, leading to better experiences for the many thousands of people who visit Mason Neck each year.


Mr. Gray also built an exceptional partnership with the Friends of Mason Neck State Park, Inc.  Working with the Friends, he was able to get much-needed State funding for additional park staff as well as access to Fairfax County public water. Partnering with the Friends and local garden clubs, he opened the Junior Rangers program to children of low-income families who otherwise would not have access to these activities. Similarly, he worked with the Lorton Community Action Center to welcome underserved families to the park at no charge for picnics and activities.


Reinhardt Gray grew up in Newport News, Virginia and received a degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Pfeiffer College. Prior to joining Virginia State Parks, he served as a Virginia State Trooper, an agent at the Bureau of Criminal Investigations, a U.S. Postal Inspector, and a Supervisor of Federal Air Marshalls. Reinhardt has provided law enforcement training for State Parks and has worked with groups around the country and the world to help them with issues involving evidence control. 

With four children, two grandchildren and being recently married, Reinhardt looks forward to spending time with his family. An avid runner, he plans to continue his regular workouts and participation in races. From an early age, he was taught that he had to be the best he could be every day, no matter what.

In recognition of Reinhardt’s service to Virginia State Parks, the Virginia House of Delegates Passed House Resolution 218 commending him on his retirement.  You can read the House Resolution here.

Interviews are underway to select a new Park Manager, with the expectation that the position will be filled this month. 


Elizabeth Hartwell – Champion of Nature at Mason Neck


        Photo courtesy of Rob Hartwell


Sixty years ago, developers had ambitious plans to create a satellite city on Mason Neck. Thanks to the efforts of Elizabeth Hartwell and others like her, Mason Neck is instead home to a state park, a regional park, a national wildlife refuge, a Federal Special Recreation Management Area and other natural spaces. In March, WTOP published an article on Elizabeth Hartwell and her efforts to preserve nesting areas for Bald Eagles on Mason Neck. You can read the inspiring story here.



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Join the Fight Against Disposable Plastic


The Friends of Mason Neck State Park are doing their part to slow the production and disposal of plastics.  Plastic bottles take as long as 450 years to decompose in the environment.  Before they do, they break down into "micro-plastic" bits that are eaten by animals and can end up in our own bodies.  On land, plastic adversely affects soil fertility, and can choke our streams and rivers.




The Friends of Mason Neck State Park have stopped offering disposable water bottles to Park volunteers and at Friends events.  Instead, they are offering free multi-use bottles that recipients can take home with them.  Hopefully, people will use these bottles instead of buying more disposable ones.  


Mason Neck State Park also is committed to reducing the use of disposable plastic bottles and has installed water bottle filling stations at the Visitor Center and the picnic area.           


Do your part too:  find ways to limit your use of disposable plastics, including those grocery store bags that have a typical useful life of 15 minutes -- the time to get from store to home -- and take 1000 years to decompose in a landfill.  


The Friends of Mason Neck State Park



The Friends of Mason Neck State Park is a Section 501(c)(3) organization that works to conserve, enhance, and interpret the Park's natural, educational, recreational, cultural and historic resources. We assist the Park Staff in implementing its programs and activities such as the annual Eagle Festival, shoreline cleanups, and outreach events.  We also sponsor special events such as our annual Owl Moon and Swanfall, our Holiday Party, help guide canoe and kayaking trips and lead hikes.               

           


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Mason Neck State Park 

Mason Neck State Park is located on the Mason Neck peninsula in southeastern Fairfax County, Virginia. The Park's wetlands, forest, water, ponds, and fields are home to a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, osprey, geese, ducks, swans, and other birds living on or near the Potomac River, Kane's Creek, and Belmont Bay. 


The Park has hiking trails, three miles of paved multi-use trails, a large picnic area, a playground, a car-top canoe and kayak launch, and a visitor center. Canoe, kayak, and bicycle rentals are available.

© 2017 Friends of Mason Neck State Park, Inc.
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