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Waste & Recycling July 17, 2019 05:30:17 AM

Virginia Landfill Becomes Nature and Education Resource

Waste Advantage
ScrapMonster Contributor
A gas-to-energy plant is up and running, with plans to develop solar and wind.

Virginia Landfill Becomes Nature and Education Resource

SEATTLE (Waste 360): Prince William County, Va., is in the midst of a major undertaking: developing its landfill into a resource where the community can learn not only what happens to their trash once it leaves their curb but explore nature through a unique lens.

Once it’s complete, the project, coordinated by the county’s solid waste division, will be an Eco Park with renewable energy operations and a nature and education component to include a discovery trail, European honeybee hives, native bee hotels, a pollinator garden and a meadow, where the bees and garden are located.

Bringing the scheme to fruition has been a community venture, with involvement from two universities, local plant and bee experts, local government agencies, among individuals and entities.

The goal is to see that once the landfill is filled and capped, it continues to be a community resource, says Tom Smith, solid waste division chief for Prince William County Public Works.

A gas-to-energy plant is up and running, with plans to develop solar and wind. An education center is yet to come, but many of the nature components are in place.

The discovery trail, which was built to provide a learning space for Prince William County students, is already in use by three nearby schools. Kids come out to walk along this path and learn about the environment in outdoor classrooms furnished with blackboards made from plywood, tables made from huge wire cable spools and benches from logs—all built by local Boy Scout troops.

The pollinator garden was the idea of Keep Prince William Beautiful, which secured a $20,000 grant from Keep America Beautiful and Lowe’s to bring it to fruition. The local nonprofit was already partnering with public works on cleanups and educational outreach at Earth Day and other events. It recruited throngs of volunteers to help with the bee area and surrounding space.  

The county has begun looking for funds for an educational building and programming to house there. Among conceptual features are exhibits to teach students and the general public about the environment and sustainable waste management practices and classrooms and labs for students to do environmental research.

Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture has made a class project of developing building design concepts. And a professor and students at George Mason University are working on the educational programming.

In the nearer term, Edsall is harvesting honey for the landfill this summer. She anticipates a 75-pound yield and is trying to create a field day for employees to help her harvest.  

In time, the county hopes to sell the honey and maybe other products of the hive to the public.

Courtesy: https://www.waste360.com

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