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    Sterling, Cascades & CountrySide
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Guided Trekking in Algonkian Park
    If you find yourself in a conversation with Algonkian Regional Park senior park ranger Ron Meister, you’ll quickly learn that community trails aren’t the only spots in eastern Loudoun with scenic walking possibilities.

    In addition to a waterpark, miniature golf, boat launch, meeting and wedding facilities, golf course and vacation cottages, Algonkian is now home to eight naturalist-led hikes and walks. The sessions, launched this month, span a variety of days and times and cover an array of subjects focused on the Algonkian Nature Preserve.

    The Moonlight Night Hike, possibly the most intriguing of all the options, offers a two-hour opportunity to explore the sights, sounds and sensations of the eastern Loudoun forest at night. You can expect the creepiness factor to be kept in check by the opportunity to learn exactly what all those night sounds really mean.

    The Saturday Morning Tree Walk: Woodlands takes place from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and provides a leisurely look at the park in a format helpful for youngsters. A Saturday Tree Walk for more hardy walkers happens from 1 to 3 p.m.

    The Sunday Morning Sanctuary Hike, 8 to 10 a.m., covers some of the best natural habitat and scenery found anywhere in the park, according to Meister. The Sunday Morning Woodlands Hike, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., offers a slower pace helpful for children.

    Some of the walks focus on specific inhabitants and their environments. Participants are encouraged to dress to get dirty for The Creepy Crawly Walk, a session exploring the forest floor for the reptile, amphibian and invertebrate species living in the area. The Pollinators Walk examines the pollinators in the park and their importance, and also offers information on attracting pollinators. The Wetlands Walk takes a look at the park’s wetlands, as well as the wildlife and ecosystems connected to them.

    Meister is enthusiastic about the potential of the interpretive efforts in the preserve. In addition to the new guide-led hikes and walks, the program features a series of park improvements including wheelchair-friendly woodland access.

    “There’s a lot of plans and a lot of things I’m really excited about,” Meister said, noting that a portion of a wheelchair-accessible trail is expected to be open within a couple of years.

    Available by registration, the walks are open to the public at no charge, although donations are welcome to help maintain the park’s nature trails. A registration form is available online at http://tinyurl.com/ANPhiking The p.ark is open year-round, from dawn to dusk; weather factors may affect session scheduling.

    Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]aol.com.
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    STERLING BOULEVARD: For the love of the game
    There are two important things my mom taught me to love. One being a good bargain: “Why pay full price when you don’t have to?” is her motto. The other is football. For some, fall is about the crunch of leaves, the crisp cool air or the fresh apples. For my mom, it's football season and don’t you dare call on Sundays during game time.

    Now the only thing better than these two things separately is having these two things brought together. If you can get a great deal and support football at the same time, it would be another of my mom’s favorite things: “A win-win situation.”

    For the next few weeks, our own Park View High School Patriots football team will be selling discount cards. For just $20, you can get a plastic card chock full of deals at places you already go, like Firehouse Subs, Jukebox Diner and sweetFrog, plus a bunch of others throughout the area. While you’re enjoying your nights out on the town, the Park View football team will be using the proceeds to buy new uniforms and purchase new equipment.

    So you’ll get to save far more than the $20 you spent for the card, and the team will be brightening the Friday night lights in their new duds and basking in their fully stocked equipment room. That’s a pretty good return-on-investment. Plus, the discounts are good until next football season – they don’t expire until August 2015.

    The best place to get one of these discount cards is to find a Park View football player. They’ll be happy to sell you one – or more. After all, these would make great “Start of Football Season” gifts, unless your family doesn’t exchange on that day. (That might be another tradition known only to my family.)

    But what if you don’t know a Park View player? Well, obviously, you need to come out to more football games. However, the team has your back. Simply email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call the team at 703-587-0760 and the team will get one delivered right to you. You can support our local team without even getting up from your couch. That might qualify it as a win-win-win situation. My mom is going to love this.


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    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Wrapping up a Sterling summer
    August is a bittersweet time in eastern Loudoun. The local summer produce at the Cascades Farmers Market is in fine form, but soon will be out of season. The sun-drenched summer days still beckon with all sorts of outdoor activities, but darkness is beginning to fall closer to 8 p.m. than to 9. And, as the launch of a new school year closes in, the time has come to plan new schedules and focus on new commitments for the cooler days ahead.

    Despite an occasional falling leaf or two in area parking lots, the summer fun continues at local pools, with the final pool parties of the season scheduled for the end of August in CountrySide and Cascades. CountrySide holds its annual Pre-Teen Pool Party on Saturday, Aug. 30, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Lindenwood Pool. The event, for ages 9 to 13 with a valid 2014 amenities pass, features pizza, soft drinks, music, games, prizes and free gifts. Cascades presents a pool party for all residents on Aug. 31, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Estates Pool. The event is a potluck; bring a beverage or a side dish to share.

    The community pools in CountrySide will close for the season on Sept. 1. Four of the Cascades pools—the Estates, Lowes Island, Quarterpath Trace and Westlakes pools—also end their season on Sept. 1. The Cascades pool at the Potomac Lakes community center, known as the Stone House Pool, will be open through the first week of September, from Sept. 2 until Sept. 6, with hours from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.

    In Cascades, the Doggie Swim Day tradition continues on Saturday, Sept. 6, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Quarterpath Trace community center pool and the Estates pool. Participating dogs must be licensed through the county and must be up-to-date with all required shots. Humans are not permitted in the water with the pets.

    In other canine news, the dog-friendly Cascades homeowners’ association is investigating locations and options for a community dog park and is looking to Cascades residents for support of the project. According to a report from the Cascades Board of Directors, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is considering an amendment that could be adopted later in the year that would enable homeowners’ associations in the county to operate dog parks. At present, dog parks may be operated only within county parks. Algonkian Regional Park, part of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, is not a Loudoun County park.

    Contact Kathie Felix at KFinLoudoun[at]aol.com.

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    STERLING BOULEVARD:Dates and boys
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: The Back to School Brigade: Supporting military families
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADE/STERLING: Sterling’s Summer Scholars
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    STERLING BOULEVARD: Happy Anniversary
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    STERLING BOULEVARD: Drama camp for everyone
    COUNTRYSIDE/CASCADES/STERLING: Eastern Loudoun Students Rock
    STERLING BOULEVARD: You can fly
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    Loudoun Business Journal - Summer 2014

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