Sustainability Institute Hosts Green Gardening Workshops

Posted: April 26, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: April 25, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Dominion Power and the City of Fairfax are sponsoring multiple workshops this spring, hosted by the George Mason University Sustainability Institute (MSI), to help area residents create healthier gardens.

MSI was recently created to provide a sustainability-oriented education for Mason and its surrounding communities. The MSI aims to unify local businesses, students, community members, governments, nonprofit organizations and faculty and staff members toward advancing sustainability stewardship for the Northern Virginia region.

Workshop #1: Compost for Healthy Soil and Gardening

The compost workshop will introduce attendees to the basics of at-home composting. Participants will be instructed on creating a simple compost system and how to use kitchen and lawn waste to make compost. A portion of the lecture will introduce participants to vermiculture, or worm composting, which turns kitchen waste into effective fertilizer.

When: Wednesday, April 27, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 30, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Where: Green Acres, 4401 Sideburn Road, Fairfax, Va., Room 113

Registration: Please visit or contact Danielle Wyman at for registration inquiries.
Cost: $15. Please bring cash or check at time of registration.

Instructor Biographies:

Dan Schwartz is a graduate of the University of Maryland and holds a BS in environmental science-soil resources. He has been working as a soil scientist for the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District for the last eight years. His job duties include updating the county soil survey, helping citizens with erosion and drainage problems and educating the public about soil and storm water issues.

Jennifer Beidel is a senior at Mason majoring in conservation studies with a double minor in sustainability and ocean and estuarine science.  Three times a week, she works with the School2Bay program teaching sixth-graders in Prince William County about the importance of clean water and wetlands as well as how to test water quality using macro invertebrates.

Workshop #2: Basic Organic Vegetable Gardening Workshop

The workshop will help participants learn basic gardening techniques for creating an organic vegetable garden in their own backyard. The class will cover techniques on soil improvement and preparation. Attendees will learn how to prepare both in-ground and raised-bed gardens, as well as container gardens. Vegetable families, seed starting, crop rotation and soil amendments will also be discussed.

When: Wednesday, May 4, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Green Acres, 4401 Sideburn Road, Fairfax, Va., Room 113

Registration: Please visit or contact Danielle Wyman at

Cost: $20. Please bring cash at time of registration. Walk-ins are welcome.

Instructor Biography:

Adria Bordas holds an MS in plant pathology from the University of California at Davis. She has been working on diverse programs that include pest detection and diagnosis of plant-insect problems, water quality and nutrient management and invasive pest management. She also works with both residents and landscape and nursery industry professionals of Fairfax County. Bordas is also responsible for two Master Gardener Volunteer programs, comprising more than 400 volunteers—the Fairfax County Master Gardener Association and the Green Spring Master Gardener volunteer programs.

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