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Outdoors & Environmental Newsletter | June 2009 | VBgov.com/Parks
Hope that your summer has been off to a great start!  The Outdoor Programs Team implemented the first Back to Nature Camp of the summer for forty kids ages 6-12.  Participants learned the basics of fishing, canoeing, hiking and the importance environmental stewardship.
Our Ropes and Initiatives course was also a successful camp that provided youth with opportunities that helped enhance communication skills, increase self-confidence and experience healthy risk taking.
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Outdoor Programming has many other great opportunities in August.  Check out some of what we're offering:
Art of Nature offers an opportunity for budding artists ages 3-12 to experience nature hands-on as they create a variety of crafts inspired by the world around them. This program is held at Red Wing Park August 11th and 18th.  
An Evening Outside for ages 12 and up will be a fun time on August 31st at West Neck Creek Natural Area to learn about some of the animals we have rescued and the environment in which they live.
If you are looking for something a little more active, try Stand-Up Paddle Board on August 15th.  You'll enjoy the ocean while getting a great two-hour work out!
Be on the lookout for some exciting new programs that launch this fall including Outdoor Beach Family, Kayak Pool Sessions and Liquid Trails and Tales!
Volunteer for the Storm Drain Marker Project
Storm Drain MarkerStorm water pollution is a major source of our nation's water quality problems. A study showed that 50% of the pollution in the Chesapeake Bay is due to storm water run off. Water that runs off streets and buildings picks up litter, motor oil, excess fertilizers and other pollutants as it makes its way into natural waters.
How can you help?  Volunteer to adhere 4-inch stainless steel markers on storm drains with the message "Drains to...(with the specific watershed)."  There are over 30,000 storm drains to be marked in Virginia Beach, but it only takes 5-10 minutes to adhere the stainless steel marker on each drain. This program is an excellent project for families, scouts and other groups.  All materials are provided, simply volunteer your time!  Contact us at VBclean@VBgov.com and provide your name, phone number and the streets where your group wants to volunteer to place the storm drain markers.
Go Green, Save Green Tip of the Month
Whether it's related to the environment or the economy, green is all over the news lately.  Here's this month's tip to reduce your environmental impact and save money:  
ThermostatEfficient Air Conditioning.  Did you know that air conditioning accounts for up to a sixth of the electricity consumption in the United States?  There are many steps that you can take to not only reduce your use of air conditioning, but also to improve the efficiency of your air conditioner.
  • Use fans when possible.  A ceiling fan can use as little as a tenth of the electricity to cool a room as an A/C unit.
  • Clean or replace your filters.  You'll improve efficiency and prevent buildup of dust and mold.
  • Don't overcool. Your home doesn't need to feel like an icebox. Going upward a single degree can reduce your air conditioning bill by 3 to 5%. When you'll be out, raise the temperature to save even more.
  • Close draps and shutters on the sunny side of your home.
Meet Pavo: Rescued Barred Owl
Barred OwlThis month we would like to introduce Pavo, a barred owl that was acquired in December 2002 from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia.  Pavo has impaired vision as a result of a collision with a vehicle and is unable to be returned to the wild.  He is now part of the environmental outreach program used by the Outdoor Programs Team to help educate youth about local wildlife.
Learn how our experienced educators can bring a program to your group by contacting Katie Whanger at (757) 385-0426, or email
More about barred owls
We welcome your comments and questions.  Feel free to email us at fun@vbgov.com.
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