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Outdoors & Environmental Newsletter | February 2014 | VBgov.com/Parks
Join Us for Archery Demo Day on Saturday, March 8
Kempsville Recreation Center | 1 - 3 pm
Free & open to the public

Ever wonder if you could shoot a bow and arrow and hit your target? Stop by and give it your best shot during our open house at Kempsville Recreation Center from 1 - 3 pm on March 8. We provide all equipment and a recreation center membership or day pass is not needed for this free event.

View upcoming archery classes in the Spring Programs & Activities Catalog starting on page 39.

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Winter Wildlife Festival is a Success!

 

Exhibit Hall at Princess Anne Despite the overabundance of winter weather, the 2014 Winter Wildlife Festival went off without a hitch! From January 24 - 26 over 250 people bundled up and joined us on a variety of field trips and workshops throughout Virginia Beach. An additional 500 people stopped by our Exhibit Hall at Princess Anne Recreation Center to talk with 30 wildlife and environmental exhibitors, including Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum's duck carvers. 

 

The children's activities at Princess Anne Area Library and the Virginia Aquarium saw over 100 people each during their events throughout the weekend. Between all the excursions 108 bird species were seen, as well as an abundance of whale and seal sightings. A special thanks to our fabulous trip leaders, guest speakers and partner organizations - Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, Lynnhaven River NOW, Virginia Aquarium, Virginia State Parks, Virginia Beach Audubon Society, and Virginia Beach Public Libraries. Can't wait until 2015? Once next year's dates are set, we'll post them at VBgov.com/WinterWildlife and send out a save-the-date!  

 

View our photos on flickr View event photos

A Feeding Ground for Whales and Seals

  

Whale Tail Breach Although you may never have seen them, whales and seals are yearly visitors to the waters off our coast. During the winter, whales - such as the humpback, fin and minke - travel the Atlantic Ocean on their migration from Greenland to the Caribbean and linger off the coast of Virginia Beach feeding off fish at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Unlike dolphins, whales feed in deeper waters further off shore, so they usually cannot be seen from land. But, if you go just a couple miles out by boat, you can often see them in groups.

 

On a recent boat trip during our Winter Wildlife Festival, Virginia Aquarium educators and participants saw several different whales surfacing, waving/slapping their flippers, and tail breaching. Many of these behaviors are linked to feeding and are always a treat to see and photograph. You can even sight young whales feeding alongside their mothers. The Virginia Aquarium continues to run boat trips through mid-March.

  

Harbor Seal
Courtesy Photo: VB Audubon Society

As for seals, the most common visitors to our area are the harbor seals. A typical sight off the coast of New England, seals stop by our area for the same reason as the whales: to feed on the abundant fish population found at the mouth of the bay. Seals can be seen in this area bobbing their heads out of the water to breathe, resting on the rock jetties of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Islands, and even occasionally on the beach or a dock. These special mammals have fin-like "feet," and their body shape makes them efficient swimmers who appear acrobatic in the water. On a recent trip to the CBBT Islands during the Winter Wildlife Festival, participants saw dozens of seals resting on the rocks. At one point the seals retreated to the water and put on quite a show as they splashed, jumped and swam around before heading back to the rocks.

Registration Open for Summer Family Fishing Clinic
Saturday, June 7 | 8:30 am - 1 pm | Munden Point Park
 
Boy Fishing Go fish! Spend a morning at Munden Point Park learning to fish with your kids (ages 5-14) at our free Family Fishing Clinic. Don't miss the chance to team up with experienced fishermen for guided instruction on beginning fishing skills. You'll learn about tackle, bait, knot tying and casting. We'll even help you reel in your catch! This program is always a hit with parents and kids alike.
 
Advance registration is required. Space is limited to the first 125 participants. A parent or guardian must be present for every 4 children.
 
Fishing poles, tackle and bait are provided, if needed. This event will be held rain or shine. A hot dog lunch is also included.
Discarded Fishing Line Threatens Wildlife


Egret caught in fishing line One of the perks of living close to the water is the outdoor recreational opportunities like swimming, boating and fishing. Waterway access is certainly plentiful in Virginia Beach, and our local waterways are home to a variety of animals that count on us to keep their habitat sustainable.

 

Fishing is a favorite pastime for many in our area and proper disposal of fishing line is not always given its due attention. Fishing line is too often discarded on the shore or in the water and can take over 500 years to degrade. Water birds and other animals become entangled, injured and sometimes killed by the line and hooks.

 

By partnering with the Virginia Beach SPCA Wildlife Program and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, fishing tube recycling bins have been installed at the following locations:

 

- Birdneck Road Launch

- Carolanne Farms Kayak Launch

- Dozier Bridge Launch

- Hutton Circle Kayak Launch

- Lake Smith

- Little Island Fishing Pier

- Lynnhaven Boat Ramp

- Lynnhaven Marina

- Mount Trashmore Park

- Munden Point Park Ramp

- Owl Creek Boat Ramp

- Stumpy Lake Fishing Pier 

 

Look out for the tubes the next time you're fishing at these sites. Want to get involved in the SPCA's cleanup efforts? Their 3rd Annual Fishing Line Clean Up will be held July 12. For more information or to volunteer, email volunteer@recycleyourline.com.
Please Note Our Upcoming Facility Closures

Bow Creek Recreation Center is closed for a long-term modernization project


Seatack Recreation Center will be closed for maintenance March 10 - 16. The pool will reopen March 24. 

 

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