Most years, January is a time for planning, not planting. However, warm January temperatures last week allowed many Mason District residents to catch up on late season yard work, including digging to put in liriope, nandina, and other shrubs. It’s also time to consider attending the all-day EcoSavvy Gardening Symposium at Green Spring Gardens on Saturday, February 24. The symposium, scheduled from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., will feature Craig Tufts of the National Wildlife Federation; Dr. Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware; the Green Spring Master Gardeners; and Jenny Reed and Lauren Wheeler of Natural Resources Design. Fee for the symposium is $45, and lunch (vegetarian available upon request) is $10 extra. Call Susan McDonald at 703/642-0128 or 642-5173 for more information and to register. Reservations close on February 17.
As long as we’re thinking about EcoSavvy gardening, what about eco-savvy recycling? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that, 20 years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in this country. By 1998, 9,000 curbside programs and 12,000 recyclable drop-off programs had sprouted up across the nation, and 480 materials recovery facilities had been established to process the collected materials.
What happens when you recycle glass, newspaper, plastics, and aluminum cans?
- Glass is cleaned, crushed, mixed with sand, soda ash and limestone, then melted, molded, and blown into a new shape.
- Newspaper is sorted, screened, cleaned, de-inked, heated, dried and squeezed, and then it is remade into newspaper. Using recycled paper means that fewer trees will have to be cut down.
- Plastic is washed and cut into small pieces, then made into new items such as carpeting, flower pots, toys or mats.
- Aluminum cans are melted, cleaned and reinforced with new aluminum, then made into new cans or used in planes, cars, ships or signs.
(Thanks to the Fairfax County Park Authority PARK NEWS for this information.)
Recycled materials can be used over and over again, which saves resources. Fairfax County has a vigorous recycling program for residential and commercial property. For more information, log on to www.fairfaxcounty.gov and click on “recycling and trash” on the Subject Areas column.
If it’s January, it’s also time to think about income taxes. Tax forms and W-2s, and 1099s are making their way into our mailboxes this month for the annual headache! AARP Tax-Aide volunteers will be offering free tax help at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, beginning on February 1. No appointments are necessary. Walk-in service hours are: Mondays and Thursdays: 1 to 8 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.; Saturdays: 9 until noon. All returns are filed electronically. In addition to your current tax documents and receipts, you should bring a copy of your tax return from last year, a photo ID, and your Social Security card. This is a very popular service. Last year, more than 1000 taxpayers were assisted by the Mason District Tax-Aide program.