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June-July 2015
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Become a Bay Star Home!

Hampton Roads is a region surrounded by water, which impacts everything from the food we eat to our economic livelihood and quality of life. But the daily actions of each resident in Hampton Roads can also place our waterways at risk. believes that it takes a community of individuals making small changes to protect our waterways and restore their vitality. That's why we're pleased to launch the Bay Star Homes program, which now allows residents all across the region to play a role in helping to protect our region's most defining resource-- water.

Signing up is quick and easy. Just visit the Bay Star Homes page, tell us a little about yourself and pledge to uphold at least eight environmentally-friendly practices from the following categories: Grow Green, Water Connections, Conserve Resources and Get Involved. Once you've signed up, you'll receive a Bay Star Homes garden flag, a flag pole and a welcome packet filled with tips on how to go green in Hampton Roads. You'll also find referrals to local experts who can connect you to a wealth of information and programs that will help you reduce your impact on our waterways. Clean waterways begin at home. Make yours a Bay Star Home! Launches Cigarette Litter Prevention Program
Seven Hampton Roads localities, in partnership with, are taking part this summer in a national Keep America Beautiful (KAB) program to reduce the impact of cigarette butt litter in the region. Focusing on the theme "Cigarette butts = litter," the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program was launched in June following a pre-scan of a small sample area within each of the following project sites that yielded 3,223 cigarette butts and plastic cigar tips at these project sites:
  • Hampton - Buckroe Beach
  • James City County - Commuter parking off Interstate 64 at Croaker Road
  • Newport News - Hilton Village at Warwick Blvd. and Main St.
  • Norfolk - City Hall Plaza
  • Portsmouth - nTelos Pavilion
  • Suffolk - Downtown in the Main Street area 
  • Virginia Beach - Lake Smith/Lake Lawson Natural Area
Over the next few weeks, the participating localities will implement targeted outreach initiatives to help provide smokers with appropriate cigarette butt receptacles, while educating smokers about the harmful environmental impact of cigarette litter. Communities that implement the KAB Cigarette Litter Prevention Program consistently cut cigarette litter in half. You can support this program by sharing the #NoCigaretteLitterNow message on Facebook and Twitter, letting us know how you're helping to prevent cigarette litter in your community and sending us pictures of problem areas near you.

Thanks to the city of Suffolk for outfitting their Suffolk Transit bus with cigarette litter prevention messaging as part of the campaign! 

Swingin' Sponsors Needed!

Is your business or organization committed to keeping Hampton Roads a beautiful place to live, work and play? If so, we need your help! and Keep Virginia Beautiful are looking for community partners to sponsor and support the 2nd Annual Keep Hampton Roads Beautiful Golf Tournament, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015 at the Greenbrier Country Club in Chesapeake. Funds raised from the tournament will support local litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling, beautification and overall environmental education programs that will inspire residents to be more mindful, green stewards. Proceeds from last year's inaugural tournament are already hard at work! Because of the generosity of our tournament sponsors and golfers, has been able to enhance the region-wide cigarette litter prevention program mentioned above.


Don't wait! Become a sponsor, donate a prize or register your team and support great projects like this in Hampton Roads. Need more info? Email us at or visit the Keep Hampton Roads Beautiful Golf Tournament page to register online.

Class of 2015
It's hard to believe that this little 'ol campaign began five years ago this summer, when members of four environmental committees of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission decided to consolidate their messaging under one umbrella program. After a year of research and planning, the region-wide public awareness and education campaign launched in July 2011-- and boy has the time flown! This past year alone, we have:
  • Welcomed nearly 55,0000 people to our website for green news, tips and promotions
  • Published "The State of Recycling in Hampton Roads," providing a point-in-time look at
    recycling in the region
  • Taken our message to the streets, asking residents what they thought about the value of tap water in a new video series
  • Partnered with Coastal Virginia Magazine on the debut of Green Magazine, a special supplement in the April 2015 issue
  • Launched Bay Star Homes as a region-wide program to protect and restore the vitality of Hampton Roads waterways

None of these great achievements would have been possible without the dedicated members and volunteers you see here in our 2015 "class photo." They represent the 17 cities and counties and HRSD that power the environmental education campaign. Happy Birthday to us. Here's to five more years!

The Team Behind the Green: Linda Minner
In this installment of the Team Behind the Green, we'd like to introduce you to Linda Minner. As an team member, Linda is one of many folks working behind the scene to power the program. From James City County to Virginia Beach, the experts come together as one team to encourage environmental stewardship among all residents here in Hampton Roads.

1. Tell us about your job.

I work for the City of Virginia Beach's Public Works Department, Waste Management Division, as the Recycling Bureau Manager. Recently, the City was recognized for its City Landfill and Resource Recovery Center with a MarCom Professional Communicator's 2014 Gold Award for its rebranding, and the Virginia Recycling Association's 2015 Outstanding Municipal Program Award for dedication to the industry and program excellence. 


2. Why is the program important?

As a member of the program, the City of Virginia Beach benefits by raising regional awareness of resource recovery including recycling and other ways of preserving the earth. The collaboration between cities and counties allows for a greater reach to audiences than could be accomplished by any one locality alone. As an example, through a recent collaborative effort, developed a radio commercial with the theme "Recycle More / Trash Less" to educate and inform people in Hampton Roads.


3. What is your favorite "green" tip to share?

Plastic bags can be reused around the house or recycled by returning them to the grocery store. If you cannot bring your plastic bags to the grocery store, then make sure they are weighed down in the trash cart so they do not take flight on collection day. And remember, reuse your dirt; do not put dirt in the trash or recycling cart.

Clean waterways start at home. 
For more ways to be green
in 2015, head over to