Washington Area Parrot Head Club


Our First Charity Drive of 2013

Capital Area Food Bank – Food Drive

The Capital Area Food Bank receives about a million pounds of nourishing food throughout the year from food drives. Over the years, the Washington Area Parrot Head Club has conducted food drives and "fluid" drives to help those in need!!

Although all food is welcome, the focus for this drive is the following high priority items:

Canned Protein – Tuna, salmon, chicken, peanut butter, beans

100% Juice – all size containers, including juice boxes

Please bring to February socials/events (Feb. 6 Social Mango Mikes – 6 PM – 9 PM, Feb. 20 Social Kilroys – 6 PM – 9 PM, etc.) or contact Donna to make other arrangements lovenluck1@yahoo.com



Listed below are some of the organizations and causes the Washington Area Parrot Head Club supports.  

Since it's founding more than a decade ago The Washington Area Parrot Head Club has donated tens of thousands of dollars to local charities. Additionally, we have donated many hours of volunteer service as well as blood drives, etc.

While the WAPHC donates money to and volunteers for many charitable causes, here are a few of our major efforts over the last few years.

A few of our most recent charitable contributions:

2011 Charitable contributions

  • Co-sponsored the Alexandria Fostering the Future Cruise raising $37,000 for the Fund for Alexandria’s Child. 
  • Co-sponsored a charity luncheon with the Springfield, Virginia Outback Steakhouse raising $4512 for the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA).  This money was raised at the luncheon and includes $160 from a 50/50 raffle conducted by WAPHC.  WAPHC also funded the live entertainment provided for the event.
  • Donated $1262 in toys and other Christmas gifts for the Fund for Alexandria’s Child Fostering Children’s Christmas campaign.
  • Donated 1500 volunteer hours to Yesterday's Rose Charity Thrift Shop benefitting The Arc of Northern VA and National Council for Jewish Women
  • Donated 28 units of blood and 90 volunteer hours at four INOVA Blood Services blood drives
  • Donated $765 and 12 volunteer hours to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  This money was raised in conjunction with the 5K race held on June 4, 2011.
  • Donated $340 to the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia (DSANV).  The money was raised at via a raffle at a WAPHC meeting.
  • Donated 60 volunteer hours to the American Red Cross.


During the calendar year of 2010 Local Parrot Head Clubs throughout the United States contributed a total of over $2.9 million and 215,000 volunteer hours to various local and national charities.

During the calendar year of 2011 Local Parrot Head Clubs throughout the United States contributed a total of over $4.1 million and 194,000 volunteer hours to various local and national charities.

TEN YEAR TOTAL: Local Parrot Head Clubs throughout the United States contributed a total of over $26.2 MILLION and 2,889,000 VOLUNTEER HOURS


Click here to see the State of the Phlock with all the details of the many important contributions that Parrot Head clubs throughout the US made in 2011.


As part of our charter from Parrot Heads in Paradise we are required to regularly submit service/charity reports that detail our charitable donations and service. You can view some of these charity reports here

For more information, contact us.

Potomac River Cleanup

INOVA Blood Donor Center

Alzheimers Association (National Capital Area Chapter)

National Kidney Foundation

Alexandria Seaport Foundation

National Race For The Cure

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

National Park Service

American Red Cross

Toys For Tots

SCAN - Stop Child Abuse Now

ChildHelp USA

American Liver Foundation

Capital Area Food Bank

Growing Native

Center for Creative Non-Violence

Ronald McDonald House

Potomac Conservancy

WAPHC has adopted a Manatee (Lucille) through the Save The Manatee Club!

 A few of our older charitable contributions:

2004 Charitable contributions

2003 Charitable contributions


The Wild Celery Project
We are joining with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Alexandria Seaport Foundation to help restore underwater grasses to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The regional program leader is the CBF, and the local leader is the Alexandria Seaport Foundation.

In our capacity, we are looking for 10 members to grow underwater grass at their homes for 10 to 12 weeks.  After which time, we will plant them in Lake Cooke off of Eisenhower Avenue. One of the beauties of this location is that Lake Cooke dumps into 4 Mile Run, which empties into the Potomac at the location of our Potomac River Clean Ups. So, we will be further helping our "adopted" clean up location.

Each participant will receive a kit with all the necessary equipment. The kit includes a 2' by 3' tub that needs to be placed on something solid, and filled with water and sand. The kit comes with lights and heaters, so it can be placed in the basement. After planting, it will take 10 to 12 weeks for the grasses to grow to the size suitable for planting. The plants need 8 to 10 hours of light (from the attached lights), the temperature should stay in the proper range (which should be automatic after setting the heaters), and it should never run out of water (through evaporation).

What is Wild Celery?

Vallisneria americana
Description: Long, ribbon-like leaves from clusters at the base of the plant. Leaf edges slightly serrated. Rounded tip. A light green stripe runs down the center. Tiny, white flowers.
Distribution: Fresh to brackish water
The health of a watershed is measured in part by the amount of underwater vegetation present-more vegetation, the healthier the watershed.

Ecological Role of SAV
SAV plays an important ecological role to the aquatic environment by:

  • Providing food and habitat for waterfowl, fish, shellfish and invertebrates; the grasses serve as nursery habitat for many species of fish, such as young spot and striped bass, which seek refuge from predators in the grass beds; additionally, blue crabs are known to hide in Bay grasses after molting, while still soft.
  • Producing oxygen in the water column as part of the photosynthetic process;
  • Filtering and trapping sediment that can cloud the water and bury bottom-dwelling organisms, such as oysters <http://www.chesapeakebay.net/info/american_oyster.cfm> ;
  • Protecting shorelines from erosion by slowing down wave action; and
  • Removing excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, that could fuel unwanted growth of algae in the surrounding waters. Bay grasses require such nutrients for growth and reproduction.

SAV as Habitat
Underwater Bay grasses create a special habitat for many aquatic organisms. These plant communities provide food and shelter for various species of fish, shellfish, invertebrates and waterfowl. Thus, SAV is a key contributor to the energy cycling in the Bay.

The blade surface of SAV serves as a substrate for microscopic algae and protozoans. Minnows dart between the plants and graze on the tiny organisms that grow on stems and leaves. Microscopic zooplankton feed on decaying SAV and, in turn, are food for larger Bay organisms.

Other small species that use SAV as substrate and/or food include bay barnacles, sea squirts, sponges, isopods, amphipods, snails and sea slugs. Small fish and crustaceans, such as pipefish, seahorses, sticklebacks, anchovies, silversides, shrimp, blue crabs and clams seek refuge from larger and hungrier mouths. Shedding blue crabs conceal themselves in the vegetation until their new shells have hardened.

SAV habitats also serve as protective nurseries for many juvenile fish including menhaden, herring, shad, spot, croaker, weakfish, red drum and silver perch

SAV is a valuable food source for waterfowl. In the fall and winter, migrating waterfowl such as the American wigeon, the green-winged teal, and canvasback ducks search the sediment for nutritious seeds, roots and tubers. Resident waterfowl may feed on SAV year-round

SAV Decline
Historically, up to 600,000 acres of SAV grew along the shoreline of Chesapeake Bay. But by 1978, (the first aerial surveys were in the 1930s) surveys of SAV documented only 41,000 acres.

What caused this sharp decline?
The single most important factor determining SAV growth and survival is the amount of light that reaches the plants. When the amount of light is too low, the plants can no longer photosynthesize and produce enough food and energy to grow.

Scientists determine the light levels that reach SAV by measuring water clarity (or Secchi depth) and calculating the light attenuation coefficient. The higher the coefficient, the less light is reaching the plant. The amount of light is affected by water quality, which in turn is affected by the total suspended solids (or TSS); algae (measured as Chlorophyll a ) and epiphytes (microorganisms that attach to SAV leaf surface); and nutrients (dissolved inorganic nitrogen or DIN and dissolved inorganic phosphorus or DIP) that are present in the water column.

High sediment levels result from erosion of the land often due to construction, forestry, and agricultural practices. Sediment levels are measured through monitoring activity such as TSS, which block some of the light that SAV needs to survive and grow. Soil particles can add to already excessive nutrient levels because many are attached to nutrient particles that are then released back into the water. TSS thus can contribute to algae growth, which further blocks light from reaching the SAV.

High nutrient levels are caused by the excessive use of fertilizers, runoff from livestock operations, and outflow from sewage treatment facilities. Nutrients indirectly affect SAV by allowing excessive algae to grow both in the water and on the grass blades, further blocking the necessary light.

For more information on this project and its benefits for the environment, visit http://www.chesapeakebay.net/baybio.htm which is a Chesapeake Bay Project Web site.

For more info on the Chesapeake Bay Project, visit their web site at http://www.chesapeakbay.net and for the Alexandria Seaport Foundation , visit their web site at http://www.alexandriaseaport.org.

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DC Marathon
We need volunteers to work the club's water station at the DC Marathon on Sunday March 23rd. The club has its own station this year which we will decorate in true Parrot Head Style. Though we do need a bunch more people to fulfill the commitment that we gave the Marathon, our allotted volunteer slots are filling up quickly, so sign up today! If you are interested in volunteering for this event, email Linda Anderson.

What is the DC Marathon?
The DC Marathon benefits Metro Teen Aids, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Our job will be to hand out refreshments to the dedicated runners who have worked hard over the last several months raising "sponsorship" money for the event and training to run this marathon.

Our area is located near a metro station around mile marker #17. We will decorate this area with parrot head decor. Special thanks to Carlos Tramontana who has secured a special WAPHC/DC Marathon Banner from the DC Miller/Corona distributor.

The parking lot at the Pentagon Metro Station has been closed to people who do not have appropriate Pentagon tags.  Plan to use another Metro Station to get to this event.

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Tree Planting
On Saturday March 29, the club will participate in its first tree planting 9:00am-3:00pm. We will be planting seedlings in the ground, and then placing protective barriers around them so the beavers, squirrels and other wild life to not tear them up.

What does this do for the environment?
In addition to producing clean oxygen that we all need to breath, trees help the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac watershed. Trees are crucial to the overall health of the watershed--they slow down runoff and the erosion of soil, which contains sediment, and they absorb the nutrients that are the main cause of pollutants in the Bay. Trees and forests also provide habitat for wildlife and help to cool stream temperatures.

Take Rt. 66 to Rt. 123 north through Vienna to Beulah Rd.
Beulah is a left turn coming from the South. Stay on Beulah past Meadowlark Gardens.
The first left turn after Meadowlark Gardens is Lozano Rd.
Turn in at Lozano and follow
it to the intersection with Asoleado.
Turn Rt. on Asoleado and park in the cul de sac (please don't block any drives).
There is a paved path leading to the community tennis courts. Follow the path to the stream.

What to Bring:
Tools such as: shovels, picks, rakes and hammers.
Dress for the weather: field boots, old tennis or work shoes, gloves and long pants.
Brown bag lunch and drink.

This planting is sponsored by:
The Virginia Department of Forestry, Difficult Run Community Conservancy and the Potomac Conservancy

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Potomac River Clean Up
Saturday April 5 at Daingerfield Island off the G.W. Parkway. 8:30 to Noon. For several years now, we have worked on this particular location, and we usually pick up more than a ton of garbage. Email Rock if you are interested in helping on this project. People are welcome to show up anyway on the day of the event without registering first.

We will be cleaning up Daingerfield Island, the mouth of 4 Mile Run, and the area between.  You will be amazed at some of the things we find during this clean up. We will be able to see the fruits of our labor at the end of the day when we marvel at the massive pile of garbage that we picked up.

Come one, come all
There are different levels of difficulty to work, so this event is good for everyone-from the very young to the very old, from the athletic and active to the sedentary bar-stool potato. If you want to help the environment, this is the event is for you!  We will even need a couple of people to man a "membership booth", so if you are unable to perform the work, we can still use you.

Why pick up trash?
This location is one of the worst places for trash along the Potomac. This is due to several reasons, including the fact that 4 Mile Run drains large sections of Alexandria and the majority of Arlington. As the rain drainage makes its way to the Potomac, it picks up all sorts of trash that people throw on the ground. This trash is "dumped" on the shores as the stream reaches the Potomac. Additionally, the Potomac River widens and the flow slows at this location. This causes trash that is suspended in the water to be "dumped" on the shor.

This event is in conjunction with the Potomac Conservancy and the National Park Service.

We are working on getting press coverage for this event as it will be a good way for a reporter to focus on our charitable aspects.
The Potomac River is the wildest river running through a metropolitan area anywhere in the world. It supplies fresh drinking and household water for more than 80% of the 4 million residents of the Washington, D.C. area. Millions of canoeists, kayakers, fishermen, joggers, hunters, rowers, hikers, bikers, and birdwatchers take advantage of its unique and world-class recreational opportunities, and it is home to national wildlife treasures such as the great blue heron and the American bald eagle.

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DC 101 Chili Cookoff
Saturday May 17—DC Chili Cook Off Benefitting the National Kidney Foundation.

The Washington Area Parrot Head Club has participated in the DC Chili Cook Off since 1998. We usually win or place in the People’s Choice Competition, which is given to the cooking team that raises the most amount of money for the National Kidney Foundation during the event. We also usually win or place in the Showmanship competition which is based on who are the most festive group with the best decorated booth. With over 100 cooking teams participating each year, both of these are great wins for the club.
In past years we have built a beach on Pennsylvania Avenue by dumping (literally) a ton of sand on the street. We have built a 20'x15'x20' Tiki Hut. We have also brought our 6 foot smoking volcano. All of these displays have awarded us the coveted "Showmanship Award" in previous years.

DC Chili Cook Off Awards won by the Washington Area Parrot Head Club as of 2002:
1999—1st Place Showmanship
1999--2nd Place in People’s Choice
2000-1st Place Salsa
2000-2nd Place Showmanship
2000- 2nd Place Bring Your Own Chili
2000- 3rd Place People’s Choice ($1,000)
2001-1st Place Showmanship
2001-2nd Place People’s Choice ($1,450)
2002-1st Place People’s Choice ($1,393)

This Year:
This year we are again cooking in the competition. We plan to enter 6 chilies and salsas and we hope to again win the People’s Choice Award. Arrangements are being made to have leis and other tropical items to give out with our chili samples to help raise money for the National Kidney Foundation.

The Display:
This year’s display will be unbeatable. We are in the process of building a 30 foot long, three-masted Pirate Ship. This display will be built on two trailers which will help with clean up and break down. We are asking that people not only wear club shirts to the event, but also wear pirate gear (hats, hoop earings, etc) Together, we plan to sail into Parrot Head and Chili Cook Off History.

More Info
For more info on the chili cookoffs, tips, links, etc go to the club’s chili cook off page

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Can Tab Collection
Don't step on that Pop Top and Blow Out Your Flip-Flop!! Pick it up instead.

We are collecting the pull tabs from any aluminum beverage can to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington DC. Just pull them off, put them in a zip lock bag, and when you get a few bring them in and give them to Dave Olkowsk at any club event. If you don't see Dave, give them to any of the charity committee members (Rock, Sue Helwege, Andrea Novak, Barbara Akin, Connie Shaffer, Fae Peterson, Janice Brook, Linda Anderson, Melissa Meurer, Tammy Green, or Tim Swoope) . This will be an all-year collection, so don't stop.

What is Ronald Mcdonald House?
Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Washington, D.C., (RMHC) is a non-profit (501(c)3) organization whose mission is to lift children to a better tomorrow. The cornerstones of their efforts are the Ronald McDonald House in Washington, D.C., and the Northern Virginia Ronald McDonald House at Inova Fairfax Hospital. RMHC also operates a Family Room at Children's National Medical Center for families who have children being treated for cancer.

Each Ronald McDonald House offers a home-away-from-home for seriously ill children and their families. The Houses are a haven for families who live too far away from the hospital to go home each night. RMHC manages the regional Ronald McDonald House Charities Grants Program, which awards grants to other qualified children's charities.

How do the pop-tops help the Ronald McDonald House?
They recycle them and use the funds from the recycling to fund their programs.

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Toys for Tots
The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders. The program distributed 13.2 million toys in 2002, and the participation of groups like ours was integral to the success. This year's collection will be coordinated by our very own Vice President, Sue Helwedge. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to any club social or event between Thanksgiving and December 12 and give it to Sue. In the event that a collection coordinator is not at a specific event or social, you can give your donations to Rock, the Charity Committee Lead, or anyone on the Charity Committee, and they will make sure that it gets to the collection coordinator.

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Food Drive
The club will be collecting Food for the Center for Creative Non-Violence, the Nation's largest Homeless shelter. Please bring canned or bottled food to any club social or event from Nov. 1 to November 23 and give it to our our collection coordinator or anyone on the Charity Committee. The club will also be doing a Turkey Drive to gather frozen turkeys for the Thanksgiving meal. Last year's food and Turkey drive collected 159 Turkeys in two days plus about 1,500 lbs of food. In the event that a collection coordinator is not at a specific event or social, you can give your donations to Rock, the Charity Committee Lead, or anyone on the Charity Committee, and they will make sure that it gets to the collection coordinator.

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Canned Food Drive
During the month of May the club will be collecting canned food at each of the club events and socials. The food will benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Please give your canned food to the donation coordinator, Andrea (Drea) Novak In the event that a collection coordinator is not at a specific event or social, you can give your donations to Rock, the Charity Committee Lead, or anyone on the Charity Committee, and they will make sure that it gets to the collection coordinator.

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Clothing Drive
During the Month of October, the club will be collecting Clothing for the homeless. Please bring unwanted clothing to any club social or event and give them to our collection coordinator, Janice. In the event that a collection coordinator is not at a specific event or social, you can give your donations to Rock, the Charity Committee Lead, or anyone on the Charity Committee, and they will make sure that it gets to the collection coordinator.


WAPHC Charity Reports to Parrot Heads in Paradise


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