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Outdoors & Environmental Newsletter | December 2009 | VBgov.com/Parks
Festival Showcases Local Winter Wildlife
Bird WatchingPlan to attend the Winter Wildlife Festival on January 30, 2010 for the chance to witness winter wildlife all around Virginia Beach, whether it's following fascinating bird activity, spectacular whale sightings or the musings of harbor seals near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Learn what it takes to properly observe and identify wildlife, while embracing the eco-friendly concept of "leave no trace."
This event includes educational workshops such as Rain Barrel Making and Backyard Habitat, and engaging excursions that are sure to captivate outdoor enthusiasts, both novice and expert. Registration is required to attend workshops and excursions (some require a fee), so sign up early before they fill! 
GeeseBe sure to stop by the Exhibit Hall and speak with Winter Wildlife Festival partners and learn ways to get involved with local environmental efforts. The Exhibit Hall is free to attend and will be open at Kempsville Recreation Center from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm.
Visit VBgov.com/WinterWildlife for a full list of excursions and educational sessions along with registration information.

View the Winter Catalogs!


Youth Catalog

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:  
Christmas CardRecycle Your Christmas Cards.  Wondering what to do with that stack of Christmas cards that you receive each year? Here are a few ideas to help you out:
  • Send your holiday cards to St. Jude's Ranch, a nonprofit home for abused children that collects old holiday cards for their Recycled Card Program. Children at St. Jude's earn money by creating new holiday cards from the old.
  • Cut off the backs of old holiday cards and use them as postcards.
  • Create your own card by cutting and pasting parts of old cards onto a new blank card. You can find packages of blank cards at most arts and crafts stores.
  • Use old holiday cards as gift tags by cutting them into square or rectangular shapes and punching holes in the corners for string or ribbon.
  • Save holiday cards for arts and crafts projects throughout the year if you have children.
Don't Throw Away That Christmas Tree!
If you bought a real Christmas tree, you have many options for recycling it after the holiday season is over. By employing these ideas, your Christmas tree purchase will be of value for more than just the holiday season and will also benefit the environment and wildlife.
  • Recycling TreeRemove the branches and place on flower beds to provide winter protection while allowing enough ventilation so the garden doesn't suffocate. The trunk can be dried and burned as firewood or used in spring as a plant support.
  • The recycled Christmas tree can be left to decompose naturally in the woods and will provide winter shelter for birds and small wildlife. 
  • If you have a wood chipper, recycle your Christmas tree to mulch. Mulch can be used to stop erosion and prevent weeds. The Christmas tree mulch can also be allowed to rot in the compost pile to eventually provide nutrients for the garden.
  • A dried Christmas tree can be used as kindling for the fireplace or in a bonfire. Make sure that the tree has dried out significantly as burning wet wood and fresh needles causes undesirable amounts of smoke.
For Virginia Beach residents: you can take your Christmas tree to the Virginia Beach City Landfill to be recycled.  The trees are turned into mulch for City parks and landscape projects.  The Landfill is located at 1989 Jake Sears Road, off of Centerville Turnpike. Operating hours are from 7:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Saturday.
Meet Dr. Gary Who, the Great Horned Owl
Dr. Gary WhoThis month we would like to introduce Dr. Gary Who, the Great Horned Owl. Gary was acquired in April 2007 from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia. He is unable to fly due to a permanent injury in his right wing.  Gary is 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 Great Horned Owls
Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation believes all of our diverse citizens have a right to participate in community recreation and we are committed to creating equal access for everyone who may have a challenge or barrier. If you or your child requires additional support, we can help.  Learn more about our accommodation and inclusion services.
We welcome your comments and questions.  Feel free to email us at fun@vbgov.com.
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