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Outdoors & Environmental Newsletter | February 2012 | VBgov.com/Parks 
Spring Program Registration is Open!

Catalog CoverNo need to wait for a printed catalog, our Spring Catalog is online and registration is available now! You can browse and register for winter and spring classes through EZreg.


You'll find many of our most popular offerings back this spring including Owl Prowl, Kayak Tours and Family Fishing Clinic as well as a brand new program called the Amazingly Great VB Road Race.

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Love is in the Air... and in the Trees!


Screech Owl
Eastern Screech Owl

As we head into the second half of February, many of us have been focused on recognizing that special someone for Valentine's Day. Did you know that humans aren't the only ones? The Eastern Screech Owl and Barred Owl, both native species in this area, are gearing up for their mating season. Both species begin courtship in February and the actual breeding takes place in March or April. Courtship is displayed in a variety of ways.


The Eastern Screech Owl has an elaborate courtship. Males will approach females, calling from different branches until they are close. The male then begins to bob and swivel his head and then entire body, and slowly winks one eye at the female. These motions will intensify until the female accepts. At that time she will move close, their bills will touch and they begin preening each other (cleaning one another's feathers). Listen to the Eastern Screech Owl call.


For the Barred Owl, the male will chase the female, giving off a variety of hooting and screeching calls. The female will give a contact call. The male then begins to sway back and forth and raise his wings, all while sliding along a branch. Courtship feeding and mutual preening also occurs as the two get close. Listen to the Barred Owl call.


If you have some time off from your own courting rituals, you may want to listen in at night for the love calls of the Eastern Screech Owl and Barred Owl.

New Green Travel Resource from Virginia Tourism Corp.

Virginia GreenVirginia is for Lovers and now thanks to a special section on the Virginia Tourism website, it's also for Green Lovers. If you're planning a vacation within our great state this year, check out their website at Virginia.org/green to find lodging, dining, attractions, events and more from businesses and organizations that have committed to reducing their impact on our environment. 

Save the Date! Cherry Blossom Festival: April 1


Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossoms at Red Wing Park

Help us celebrate Virginia Beach's international sisterhood with Miyazaki City, Japan, at the 8th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Sunday, April 1 at Red Wing Park (1398 General Booth Blvd) from 12:30 - 3:30 pm. Enjoy the rich culture and beauty of Japanese music, martial arts, creative activities by A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, an origami display and fold-along with Rich Gray, and various demonstrations. This is a family event that allows everyone to come together and embrace the nature that surrounds us. 


Featured performances include a drum routine by SOKA Taiko Group, as well as a celebration of Sister City Moss, Norway that includes songs from Sons of Norway.


Food and beverage are available for purchase. You are welcome to bring a blanket or lawn chair for the performances. Parking and admission is free.


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Winter Wildlife Festival Recap


WWF Photography Session
Wildlife Photography Class at Red Wing Park

The 2nd Annual Virginia Beach Winter Wildlife Festival, held January 27-29, was a great success! Over 350 people came out and participated in a variety of excursions, workshops and the Exhibit Hall. Highlights from the weekend included the Festival's Kick-Off movie, Winged Migration, offered free of charge thanks to Back Bay Restoration Foundation; seal sightings each day off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel; an impressive feeding display from a large number of Northern Gannets; owl interactions (sightings and/or vocalizations) on all three evening trips; spectacular glimpses of thousands of Snow Geese at Mackay Island; and of course, the beautiful, warm weather.


Festival goer favorites included the Wildlife Photography Class, the live bird demonstration during the Raptors of Virginia Walk-Up Workshop, and interacting with the 20+ environmental vendors in the Exhibit Hall. Participant feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. One participant commented, "This was a very well-run event. I thought the staff did a great job. I can't wait until next year to try more of the excursions!"


Thank you to all of our participants, vendors and volunteers who contributed to this great event! A 2013 festival has been tentatively set for January 25-27, 2013. Keep your eye out next fall for more details. Until then, happy wildlife viewing!

Earth Day Exhibitor Opportunities Available

Earth DayDo you belong to an organization that is committed to protecting the environment? Do you own a business that promotes going green? Have an idea how to make everyday life more eco-friendly? You should consider joining us as an exhibitor at our annual Mount Trashmore Earth Day Celebration!

Held this year on Sunday, April 22, this Virginia Green event is a great opportunity for your group or business to reach thousands of like minded people in a fun and engaging outdoor celebration.  
There are two exhibitor categories: non-profit and commercial. There will be no fee for participating non-profit exhibitors unless selling a promotional product, then a $150 fee will apply. Commercial exhibitors will be charged a $150 exhibitors fee, whether selling a product or not.
Get more information becoming a Commercial or Non-Profit Exhibitor.
Please Note Our Upcoming Facility Closures 


The pool at Great Neck Recreation Center will be closed February 17 through March 1 for filter replacement.


The pool at Bow Creek Recreation Center will be closed March 5-15 for valve replacement.


Seatack Recreation Center will be closed March 12-18 for annual maintenance.  


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.