Alexandria, VA – Just over 50 years ago, Mount Vernon resident Elizabeth Hartwell led a grassroots effort to preserve a 10 square mile area of land here in Mount Vernon District where nature runs free — soaring eagles, swans, and all varieties of plant and wildlife prosper, protected by Congress as a result of her efforts to create Mason Neck State Park. The Annual Mason Neck Eagle Festival honors her legacy, and this May marked its 25th year. There were live animal shows, including seeing reptiles, hawks, and owls up close, learning about resident bald eagles, viewing exhibits by the park’s conservation partners, and enjoying live music by the Difficult Run String Band.
While no live eagles were at the festival this year, they must know that Mount Vernon is eagle-friendly. The one in the photo above can be seen regularly perching atop a River Towers Condos building in the Belle View area near Dyke Marsh.