(Extensions of Remarks - November 26, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1511]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                        HON. GERALD E. CONNOLLY

                              of virginia

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, November 26, 2019

  Mr. CONNOLLY. Madam Speaker, I rise to recognize the Fairfax County 
Park Authority and the staff and volunteers of Hidden Oaks Nature 
Center on the occasion of the Center's 50th anniversary.
  Founded in 1969, Hidden Oaks Nature Center has become an invaluable 
part of the Annandale Community Park and serves as an example of 
Fairfax County's ongoing commitment to the preservation of our natural 
environment. The Center offers a variety of programs and activities 
designed to promote the engagement of the public with their surrounding 
environment including live animal displays and a trail network 
featuring ponds, creeks, woodland and a rain garden. Hidden Oaks Nature 
Center also offers programs throughout the year to teach children and 
families about nature, including summer camps, tea parties, campfires, 
and animal feedings.
  This rich bounty of natural resources has led to Hidden Oaks Nature 
Center becoming a staging location for community groups looking to 
assist with connecting the community with the natural world. One of the 
key partners has been the Boy Scouts, who use the Center for hundreds 
of hours of merit badge classes each year, as well as for support for 
Eagle Scout projects. Fairfax County's Environmental Quality Advisory 
Council, the citizen volunteer group charged with advising the Board of 
Supervisors on environmental matters, holds their monthly meetings at 
Hidden Oaks. These meeting are open to the public, providing another 
avenue for Hidden Oaks to continue its important mission.
  The efforts of the staff and volunteers at Hidden Oaks have produced 
significant results. Chief among these is the designation of the 
greater Mason District as the fourth-largest certified Community 
Wildlife Habitat in the United States by the National Wildlife 
Federation. As Fairfax County continues to grow, with a population now 
exceeding 1 million, the continued preservation of our natural capital 
will only become more important. Even in the midst of the concrete 
jungles of New York City, the architects of that metropolis knew that 
it was critical for the wellbeing of the city's residents to have 
access to green space. The same is true for Fairfax County and the work 
done by the staff and volunteers at Hidden Oaks Nature Center helps to 
ensure that the environment remains a priority for our community. This 
prioritization of nature and of access to green space is one of the 
many reasons why Fairfax County residents continues to enjoy such a 
high quality of life.
  Madam Speaker, I ask that my colleagues join me in once again 
congratulating the Fairfax County Park Authority and the staff and 
volunteers of Hidden Oaks Nature Center for their continued stewardship 
of our natural environment. The fact that this stewardship has 
continued unabated for half a century is a testament to the impact that 
Hidden Oaks Nature Center has had on our local community and how deeply 
it is valued as a resource. I thank them for their service to our 
community and wish them continued success in all their future