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Outdoors & Environmental Newsletter | March 2011 | VBgov.com/Parks 
Welcome Signs and Sounds of Spring


PeeperAfter a few warm days, many people are itching to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Humans are not the only ones welcoming the spring-like weather though. For the past week, they have been heard singing at dusk and sometimes on into the night. They are Spring Peepers, or what some call, "the sound of spring." 
Spring Peepers are small nocturnal amphibians (frogs), about an inch and a half in length. The spontaneous warm weather has triggered their biological clocks to start singing and preparing for spring. Their habitat consists of wooded areas and grassy lowlands near ponds and swamps. The mid-March, crescendo of nighttime whistles from amorous males is, for many, a sign that winter is over.
Spring peepers aren't the only ones singing. More and more song birds are reappearing after the long winter; their melodies a sure sign of the changing season. As the start of spring slowly blossoms, many animals are waking up and returning home. So keep your eyes on the skies and your ears open, and you just might see and hear the "signs and sounds of spring!"
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Upcoming Events 
4/2 | Cherry Blossom Festival
Red Wing Park @ 11am
4/9 | Family Nite Hike*
Red Wing Park @ 8:30pm
4/15 | Star Party
Mount Trashmore Park @ Dark
4/23 | Pow Wow
Mount Trashmore Park @ 11am
5/1 | Earth Day
Mount Trashmore Park @ 11am
*No cost, but requires registration
Considerations For Buying Hiking Shoes


Hiking ShoesWhether choosing your first pair of hiking shoes or picking out a new pair, we have gathered a few tips to help you choose a hiking shoe that is comfortable and right for your needs.


  • Comfort - Perhaps the number one consideration when choosing hiking shoes is comfort. Put the shoes on, wear them around the store for at least half an hour and make sure you can move your toes around while wearing the hiking shoes. Don't buy a pair of shoes if you question the comfort.
  • Sole - Make sure your new shoes have a sole that has the support you need. Some of us need more arch support than others and some have pronation issues (when your foot turns in or out as you make your step). If you find a pair of shoes that fits all your other needs, but doesn't have the right sole, you can buy an aftermarket sole that replaces the factory insole.
  • Your Trail - Consider your hiking style and the terrain that you typically hike. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you get to the store. Do you hike on uneven trails and need high top shoes that support your ankles? Do you need something light because you like to cover long distances? Will you be doing some serious stream crossings and need waterproof shoes? How aggressive does the tread need to be for your terrain? Will you be hiking in desert temperatures, mild climates, or cold weather mostly? All of these factors should be considered.


Remember, when buying hiking shoes, comfort is one of the most important things. Don't sacrifice your comfort for affordability. It is a good idea to make sure you wear your hiking shoes at least a week or more before you go on your big adventure. It will allow you to break the shoe in and ultimately lead to a better hiking experience.

Join Us at Cherry Blossom Festival 

Saturday, April 2 from 11 am - 3 pm at Red Wing Park, 1398 General Booth Blvd


japanese gardenCelebrate Virginia Beach's international sisterhood with Miyazaki City, Japan, at the 7th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Embrace peace and goodwill during cherry blossom season and enjoy the beautiful gardens at Red Wing Park while exploring the rich culture and beauty of Japan through music, martial arts, cultural activities and demonstrations. Many local middle & high school student clubs will be performing in this year's event. View the event program for a complete schedule of performances.

Admission to the event is free. Food and beverage will be available for purchase. You are welcome to bring a blanket or lawn chair for the performances. In the event of inclement weather conditions, the event will be postponed until Sunday, April 3, at the same time and place.

Disaster Relief: Because of the City of Virginia Beach's sister city relationship with Miyazaki City, this year's event will honor the survivors and victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan and will be dedicated to the thousands who perished.

The Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach along with Japan Education Culture Center Inc., both 501 (c)(3) charitable organizations, will be conducting a fundraising campaign for relief efforts for the survivors of this disaster. This fundraiser is also being coordinated with the sister cities groups and volunteer organizations in Miyazaki. Due to the urgency and immediacy of the crisis, only financial donations will be accepted.

If you are unable to attend the Cherry Blossom festivities, but would still like to send a donation, you may make checks payable to: Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach and note on the check "Humanitarian Fund for Japan's Natural Disaster."  Donations may be sent to: 

Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach
City Hall, Municipal Center
2401 Courthouse Drive
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-9005

All donations collected will get to the victims for their basic necessities in Sendai city, and nearby towns and villages, through their municipal government offices in Japan.

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Get Ready for Summer Camp! 


Back 2 Nature CampBelieve it or not, it's that time of year again to start planning for your child's summer experiences and there's no better opportunity to get the kids outdoors! Between the television, video games, computers, school work and chilly temperatures, kids often spend alot of time indoors in the winter. Along with healthy doses of fresh air and vitamin D, positive outdoor experiences for youth help build the foundations of an active lifestyle that can have benefits throughout their lifetime.

Our knowledgeable outdoors staff will help your children learn new skills and challenge themselves in a safe, fun environment. Our outdoor camp locations are carefully chosen to highlight the best outdoor experiences our City has to offer. Choose one of our camps and make it a summer they'll remember! Check out this article on the benefits of outdoor nature camps.

Back 2 Nature Camp is the perfect way for rising 1st through 6th graders to sample a variety of outdoor programs including kayaking, hiking and archery. Ropes Camp challenges rising 7th through 9th graders to develop their everyday life skills through climbing and team building experiences. And Nature Detectives Camp allows even the little ones (3-6 years old) to get in on the fun!

For more information, contact the Outdoor Programs Unit at 385-4461, or outdoors@vbgov.com.

You'll Be Seeing Stars at the Mount Trashmore Star Party 

Friday, April 15 Beginning at Dark at Mount Trashmore Park


Star PartyTake your stargazing to Mount Trashmore Park on April 15 for the 3rd Annual Star Party! Come and observe night sky wonders through a variety of telescopes or bring your own! Learn to identify constellations in the sky as they are pointed out by planetarium coordinator Chuck Dibbs and the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers.

Experience ViewSpace! A tent will be setup for this internet-fed, self-updating, permanent exhibit from the Space Telescope Science Institute, home of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

April Sights: Waxing gibbous moon, the rings of Saturn and star clusters. Event dependent on clear skies. 

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Please Note Our Upcoming Facility Closures 


All Virginia Beach Recreation Centers will be closed on Sunday, April 24 for Easter.


The pool at Kempsville Recreation Center will be closed through May 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.