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Outdoors & Environmental Newsletter | December 2010 | VBgov.com/Parks 
Healthy Gifts for the Holidays 


Couple Walking The holidays are here and if you're like most people, you are racking your head as to what to get those on your list. Ever considered giving a healthy gift, one that keeps on giving? Get your family and friends a pedometer; they come in many fun colors and styles and might give recipients that extra incentive they need to get moving. This is also a great opportunity to commit to getting together throughout the year to walk in our local parks and along our beaches. 10,000 steps equals approximately 5 miles, so make it a goal! The healthier we are, the longer we are here to spend time together! 


Another great option is a gift certificate for our recreation centers. These can be purchased and used towards a membership, classes, programs or even a personal trainer! What a great way for your family and friends to get a jump on their health - and New Year's resolutions!


On a side note, a nice gift for our feathered friends is a bird feeder. The best choice for this time of year is a mix of 50% black oil sunflower, 40% white millet, 10% safflower and shelled peanuts. Put the feeder in a place that you can view from inside your house so you can follow the bird activity. Learn more about bird feeding.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!

Greening the Holidays in a New Way 


Bottle TreeDid you know that a recent study showed Americans produce up to one million extra tons of garbage each week between Thanksgiving and New Year's?! 


Be part of the solution! Check out this article on How to Green Your Holidays and lessen your impact on our environment this season. Suggestions are offered for greener gift ideas, gift wrapping, decorating and entertaining.

Check Out Our Winter Programs!  

Registration Begins Saturday, January 8


Don't get stuck on the couch this winter! Parks & Rec will help your family stay active with exciting classes and programs for all ages. From swimming and dancing to pottery and martial arts, everyone can learn something new or brush up on old skills.


Registration for all programs begins at 9 am on Saturday, January 8. Remember that you can register online with your barcode and PIN, or register in person at any recreation center.

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Environmental Exhibitors Wanted! 
Do you own a business or belong to an organization that promotes a healthy environment?

Apply to be an exhibitor at the Winter Wildlife Festival's Exhibit Hall to be held on Saturday, January 29 at Princess Anne Recreation Center. The Exhibit Hall is free and open to the public and will bring an audience of outdoor enthusiasts.

For more information, please email Katie Whanger at kwhanger@vbgov.com.
Christmas Tree Recycling
Wondering what to do with your tree after the holidays?

In Virginia Beach, live Christmas trees will be collected with regular yard waste and will be recycled. Trees must be free of ornaments, lights and tinsel. No call for special pickup is necessary. 
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel - More Than Meets the Eye 


GannetsAh, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel - the lovely stretch of concrete that connects us to our neighbors on the Eastern Shore. For most of us, these 17+ miles are nothing more than a means to an end; something we begrudgingly pay our $12 to cross in hopes of making travel to northern destinations more direct and perhaps a little more scenic. And besides occasionally stopping for our free Dr. Pepper after the first stretch, most of us probably speed over the water merely catching quick glimpses of wind surfing gulls and container ships on the horizon, never stopping to think what may lie beneath. 


Upon further inspection, you will find that the world's largest bridge-tunnel complex includes four man-made islands that not only provide structural support, but also unique habitat to many species of animals. The Chesapeake Bay is part of the Atlantic flyway that is utilized by many migrating species of birds; add our relatively mild winter weather and the inaccessibility of many predators to the islands, and you've got ideal spots for these birds (and occasionally harbor seals!) to rest.


Unfortunately, due to security reasons, these bird "hotspots" are not usually open to the public. However, as a participant on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Excursion during our Winter Wildlife Festival, you will be allowed guided access to these areas in hopes of viewing such species as northern gannets, king eiders, harlequin ducks and perhaps even the rare black-tailed gull. Who knows, you might even get to experience the presence of the whales also wintering in our area!


Make sure to sign up for this unique opportunity before it's too late! Visit VBgov.com/WinterWildlife for more information!

Are You Registered for the Winter Wildlife Festival?


Seals at CBBTSpaces are filling quickly for the Winter Wildlife Festival on January 28-30, 2011 and we don't want you to miss out on the chance to witness winter wildlife all around Virginia Beach! This event includes educational workshops and engaging excursions - many of which are free! Registration is required to attend workshops and excursions (some require a fee), so sign up today!


Be sure to stop by the Exhibit Hall at Princess Anne Recreation Center, 1400 Nimmo Parkway, and speak with our Winter Wildlife Festival partners. You'll also learn ways to get involved with local efforts and see what conservation groups and businesses are doing. Children's activities available too!
Visit VBgov.com/WinterWildlife for a full list of excursions and educational sessions along with registration information.

Please Note Our Upcoming Facility Closures 


All Virginia Beach Recreation Centers, Owl Creek Tennis Center, parks and park facilities will be closed on December 23-25 & 31 and January 1.


All Virginia Beach Municipal Golf Courses will be closed on December 25.


The pool at Kempsville Recreation Center will be closed through Spring 2011 for renovations.


Don't forget that your membership is good at all six Virginia Beach Recreation Centers! If your usual center is closed for maintenance, take the opportunity to visit another center. Use this locator to help you find one!

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 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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Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is accredited by CAPRA,
the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association.