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Outdoors & Environmental Newsletter | December 2012 | VBgov.com/Parks 
Winter Catalog Available Online

Winter CatalogPlan now for an active winter with a look at our Winter Programs & Activities Catalog
  
Our Family Nite Hikes continue through the winter and we're also offering some great archery classes for beginners and those with some experience.
  
Registration is available online through EZreg and in-person at any Virginia Beach Recreation Center.
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Go Green with Homemade Household Cleaners 

Green CleanerInstead of buying expensive cleaning products which can expose the air in your house to toxins, there are home remedies that work just as well and are safe to use. They're easy to make, inexpensive and make your home a little more 'green'.
  
Glass cleaner: Just spritz a little bit of water and then use newspaper to wipe it clean.
  
All-purpose cleaner: 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon borax, hot water, a few drops of mild dish detergent, 10 drops essential oil (optional). Put the vinegar, borax, and hot water into a 16 oz. spray bottle and shake until the borax has dissolved. Then add the drops of dish detergent and fill the rest of the bottle with water. Add in essential oils, if desired.
  
Soft scrubbing cleaner: Put a small amount of baking soda in a bowl and add enough liquid dish detergent to make it into a paste. Use this to scrub your counters and sinks and it won't scratch the surface.
  
Floor cleaner: 1 cup white vinegar ( cup for wood floors) and 1 gallon of warm water.
  
Bathroom mold remover: Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts water in a spray bottle. Spray on any area with mold and let sit for at least 1 hour before rinsing off.
These few home remedies will keep your living space clean and toxin-free. But take caution: never mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar! It will cause toxic fumes that are very dangerous! 
  
For more ideas, visit EarthEasy.com.
Provide Input on Dog Park Design for Bayville Farms Park

Virtual Town Hall - Dog ParkWe're in the process of planning future improvements at Bayville Farms Park, a 68-acre park located adjacent to Bayside Recreation Center. Due to the growing demand for off-leash dog areas in the City, we're designing a dog park for this location.
  
Our current design standard for dog parks provides a fenced area for both small and large dogs to socialize and run together. This design has been implemented in existing off-leash dog areas at Red Wing Park and Woodstock Park.
  
We are considering an alternative design that would create separate areas for small and large dogs. Do you think that the dog park design at Bayville Farms Park should follow the current design standard of one area for all dogs, or would you prefer separate areas for large and small dogs?
  
Tell us what you think using the City's new online civic engagement tool called Virtual Town Hall. It takes just a minute to subscribe and you'll be able to weigh in on this and other City topics. You can also view what others are saying about the same issues. Learn more!
Recycled Christmas Decorations & Gifts!  

Save money and reduce waste with these chic and inexpensive, recycled Christmas decoration and gift ideas. Bottle TreeHappy Holidays!
  • Have any old incandescent light bulbs lying around the house? Turn them into a cute, but classy Christmas tree ornament
  • Take an old stretched out sweater, cut the sleeves into small sections and make a reusable sleeve for coffee or hot cocoa to go.
  • If you have any old ornaments (preferably ball shaped) that you want to get rid of, turn them into ornament flower holders.
  • Out of wrapping paper? How about using an old Atlas? Wrapping a present in a map will give your gift a unique look and you can personalize it by selecting a certain state or city.
What is the Christmas Bird Count?

Bird Count'Tis the season for traditions and one unique tradition for some is the National Audubon's Christmas Bird Count. This annual event is in its 113th year, which makes it the longest running citizen-science survey in the world! Every year between mid-December and early January, people from all across North America go out and survey bird activity in their communities over a 24-hour period.
  
Data on species numbers and behaviors from each locality are recorded and submitted. The National Audubon Society and its partners compile all data and publish the yearly results as a summary. More than a century's worth of data has been very useful to scientists and conservation organizations by providing information on the long-term health and status of North American bird populations.
  
In our area, there are currently survey sites in Back Bay and the Dismal Swamp. If you are interested in participating, contact the survey site compiler for more information. Compiler contacts, as well as general information and summaries from previous CBC's can be found here.
  
Or if you're not available to participate, you can start your own yearly tradition by setting up a backyard feeder and observing the bird activity you get this time of year - just for the fun of it. What a good way to learn who the holiday visitors are to your backyard!
Spaces Filling Quickly for Winter Wildlife Festival! 
January 25-27, 2013 | Princess Anne Recreation Center

WWFRegistration for the 2013 Winter Wildlife Festival began in November and several sessions have already filled to capacity! Don't miss the opportunity to witness winter wildlife all around Virginia Beach in this three-day festival. New sessions for 2013 include:
  • Pleasure House Point Bird Walks
  • Back Bay & False Cape Birding
  • Intermediate Nature Photography
  • Photography Field Session
  • Day-long trip to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and Fisherman's Island (Adults only)
  • Children's Activities by Princess Anne Library

We also have plenty of returning favorites like the Back Bay/False Cape Terragator & Tram Tour, First Landing Bird Walks, Owl Prowls, Exhibit Hall and more. Check out our festival website for more information and to download a registration form. Sessions have a limited number of spaces, so register soon to secure your spot! 

 

Our kick-off speaker this year will be writer and wildlife illustrator, Julie Zickefoose. Julie is a Bird Watcher's Digest contributor and a former NPR commentator. She will be speaking about her newest book, The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds, which gives an intimate, eye-opening look at the rich mental and emotional landscape of birds and WWF Logowas chosen as Oprah's Book of the Week in April 2012. The event kick-off will be held at 7 pm, Friday, January 25 at Kempsville Recreation Center. This event is free, but registration is required. A book signing will follow with copies of The Bluebird Effect available for purchase.

Please Note Our Upcoming Facility Closures 

 

Bow Creek Recreation Center is closed for a long-term modernization project. Expected re-opening is Fall 2014. 
 
  

All Virginia Beach Recreation Centers, Owl Creek Tennis Center, administrative offices, staffed parks & park facilities will be closed on Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25 for Christmas. All facilities will also close at 5 pm on Monday, December 31 and remain closed on Tuesday, January 1 for New Year's.
 
All Virginia Beach Recreation Centers, Owl Creek Tennis Center, administrative offices, staffed parks & park facilities will be closed on Monday, January 21 for Martin Luther King Day.

 

Don't forget that your membership is good at all 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.