Washington Nationals Right Fielder Jayson Werth. (Courtesy of the Greater Washington Board of Trade/Courtesy of the Greater Washington Board of Trade)
Social media: Honest Tea joins parks push

Honest Tea is teaming up with the National Park Foundation on a social media contest that the organizations hope will encourage people to get off the couch and enjoy some of America’s natural wonders. On Twitter, they are asking users to post “selfies” that show how they stay active outdoors.

Posts bearing a designated hashtag, “#ParkYourThirst,” will automatically be entered to win a one month’s supply of Honest Tea and an annual pass to the country’s national parks. So far, Twitter users have snapped themselves doing a variety of activities, including hiking in Big Bend National Park, taking a shelter puppy for a walk, fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains and biking in Boulder, Colo.

Why did the Bethesda-based organic tea company sign onto the effort? In a statement, the company’s chief executive Seth Goldman said, “We think the National Park Foundation’s work in the areas of conservation and preservation, education, and community engagement really parallels our belief in health, wellness, and sustainability.” Honest Tea has also donated $25,000 to the foundation.

— Sarah Halzack

Swedish Embassy: A socially minded social

Socially minded entrepreneurs have a key role to play in alleviating poverty in the developing world, international development officials said last week, by creating technology that can help to increase food production, sterilize drinking water and improve access to health care.

Crystal and Jeremy Sell entered the #ParkYourThirst contest. (Courtesy of the Sells/Courtesy of the Sells)

That was the key message delivered to a crowd of roughly 125 who gathered at the Swedish Embassy in Georgetown to discuss the intersection of international development and entrepreneurship. The event was sponsored in part by iStrategyLabs and the DC Tech Meetup.

“We want to take advantage of communities like this in Washington, D.C., but we also want to drive deeper into the local communities” where development work is needed, said David Ferguson, director of the Center for Development Innovation at the U.S. Agency for International Development. “We do share a belief that solutions to problems are where they are.”

That perspective resonated with Kalsoom Lakhani, a graduate of George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Lakhani is the founder and chief executive of Invest2Innovate, an incubator in Pakistan for start-ups tackling issues in health and education.

“I’ve met so many people who create these cool solutions, but they would never work because they’ve never visited these communities, they’ve not asked for feedback,” Lakhani said. “See it not as creating a product for someone, but creating it with someone. That’s an important distinction.”

District-based Cycle Technologies was among the companies that demonstrated its work at the event. Founded by Leslie Heyer, the company helps women prevent unplanned pregnancies by allowing them to track their menstrual cycle using a string of beads or, if possible, a Web site or mobile phone app.

The impact? Since 2002, CycleBeads has helped three million women in more than 60 countries to prevent 4.5 million unplanned pregnancies, she said.

— Steven Overly

Mandarin Oriental: A decade to celebrate

It was an all-out birthday bash for the Mandarin Oriental, which celebrated its 10th anniversary on Thursday.

More than 200 guests ate lobster mango skewers, edamame sliders and spring garlic profiteroles prepared by chefs from the hotel’s restaurants CityZen and Muze.

A geisha was on hand for photos, while watercolorist Jamie Peterson painted the action in real time. The decor by party planner Andre Wells featured a collection of parasols and a moss-covered horse statue to commemorate the Chinese year of the horse.

“It was a great potpourri of fun,” said Linda Beltran, director of communications for the Southwest D.C. hotel. “The weather was beautiful, the garden was in bloom and the cherry blossoms on our trees were fluffy and white.”

— Abha Bhattarai

Nationals: Touching the bases with the BoT

The Washington Nationals spent some time away from the dugout last Tuesday as the Greater Washington Board of Trade hosted a luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C. to kick off the ball club’s 2014 season. Board of Trade chief executive James C. Dinegar led a panel discussion featuring Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo, center fielder Denard Span and pitcher Tyler Clippard. Pitcher Stephen Strasburg and right fielder Jayson Werth were also on hand for the event.

— Sarah Halzack

Wheels: Keep turning

Even as construction workers were busily erecting the 175-foot Capital Wheel (don’t call it a Ferris wheel, say the National Harbor marketing police!) and attaching its 42 gondolas, developer Milt Peterson and his real estate team were setting their sites on building National Harbor 2.0.

This one would be in Virginia Beach. The Peterson Cos. was the only company that responded to a solicitation from the city of Virginia Beach to build a mixed-use waterfront complex on a 9.7-acre site where “The Dome,” a bubble-shaped civic center, once sat. The city is looking for a project with an entertainment focus, and although Peterson has declined to make his ideas public, perhaps he plans to replace the Dome with another wheel.

— Jonathan O’Connell