Mount Vernon Matters

Mason Neck Eagle Festival Marks Its 25th Year

Photo: Steve Hunt

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.

There were plenty of activities for kids to do at the festival. (Photo: Steve Hunt)
The festival featured an eagle sculpture, left, but this real one likes to visit another part of Mount Vernon near Dyke Marsh. (Photo: Stev Hunt)
The festival was not totally without eagles, even if it was a human-costumed one. (Photo: Steve HunT)
Photo: Steve Hunt

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.

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Marlene Miller

Marlene Miller has lived in, and written about, Mount Vernon for decades. She raised her family here, her two children graduating from area public schools. After retiring from over 16 years of publishing her own newspaper, The Zebra has tempted her back to community journalism

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