How to Live the Green Life in your Bay Star Home
WINTER 2016
Hi, Neighbor!
Welcome to the first issue of the Green Gazette, brought to you by the Bay Star Homes folks at askHRgreen.org. You're receiving this e-newsletter because you have committed to do your part for a cleaner, healthier Chesapeake Bay by practicing at least eight environmentally-friendly behaviors in your home and yard. Good for you! We really appreciate your taking the pledge, and we encourage you to spread the word to your neighbors and friends by:

* Displaying your Bay Star Homes flag in your yard.
* Telling them how easy and economical it is to be an environmental steward.
* And inviting them to sign up at www.askHRgreen.org/BayStarHomes.

Bay Star Homes is all about making a difference at home, whether you rent or own, live in the suburbs or on a rural farm. Imagine the impact this program will have on our local waterways now that the region is working together!
Meet the Stars: Patricia VonOhlen
With more than 1,300 Bay Star Homes across Hampton Roads, we know there are a lot of great things happening throughout the region to protect our waterways. We love to share your stories, and in this issue we invite you to meet Bay Star Homeowner Patricia VonOhlen of Newport News. Patricia told us a little bit about why she enlisted in the Bay Star Homes program and what she's doing to make a difference in her community.

Why did you decide to become a Bay Star Homes participant?
I like the concept that homeowners can play a significant role in reducing pollution. Together, individual homeowners can make a sizable impact.

Since joining the program, have you made any changes at home?
I've reduced the amount of grassy area in my yard by creating more shrub and flower beds, which are planted with native plants.

Have any of the Bay Star Homes tips helped you save time or money?
Yes, I installed rain barrels and use the water for my thirsty flower pots all summer. During the entire summer growing season, I only needed to use tap water on two different occasions. Frequent rains kept my rain barrels filled and ready for daily watering.

Any great advice for someone who is just joining Bay Star Homes?
Remember that your choices are significant. You can help or harm. It's your choice.

We want to hear from YOU! If you'd like to share your story in the Green Gazette, please send us your name, address, phone number and photo of your home (with your banner!), along with a short description of what you like most about being a Bay Star Homes participant. Deliver it to hrgreen@hrpdcva.gov. We'll consider it for a future profile.
Did You Know...
There are thousands of storm drains across Hampton Roads and they all drain to local waterways without any sanitation or treatment? Many citizens believe that stormwater runoff is cleaned at a treatment plant once it disappears down the drain.

While that is true for wastewater (which leaves our homes through sinks, toilets and other household drains), there is no such treatment process for the water that goes down the storm drain in the street. That's why it's so important to reduce the amount of rain water and pollution your home sends into the storm drain.

Reducing polluted runoff from our homes has a direct impact on cleaning up local waterways. Consider reducing your home's contribution by installing rain barrels (check for local workshops in the following events listing) and replacing grass and hard surfaces with native plants and trees.
Get the Word Out with Properly Marked Storm Drains 
Next time you take a walk around your neighborhood, take a minute to check the storm drains. If you don't see a marking or medallion announcing "No Dumping - Drains to Waterway," consider applying to the askHRgreen.org Storm Drain Medallion Program.

Through the program, you can work with your locality to make sure storm drains in your neighborhood or anywhere in your city or county are properly marked to discourage residents from dumping trash, grass clippings, yard debris or household chemicals into the drain. While checking the storm drain, look for signs of illicit discharges which are most often spotted when a storm drain has water flowing through despite a period of dry weather. Contact your local stormwater authority immediately if an illicit discharge is suspected in your community.
AROUND THE REGION
Check out our quarterly events roundup, for a workshop, cleanup or happening in a community near you.
Hampton Clean City Cleanup
Friday, Feb. 19, 3:00 p.m. - Virginia Avenue
Join the Hampton Clean City Commission Litter Awareness Committee in a series of open community cleanups. Event is family- and new-participant- friendly. Sign up at hccc@hampton.gov.
Managing Phragmites Workshop
Saturday, Feb. 27, 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Ernie Morgan Environmental Center - Norfolk
Free and open to the public, registration required. To register, please email elizabeth.brichter@norfolk.gov
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & E-cycling
Saturday, March 12, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Country Drive - Yorktown
Open to residents of Williamsburg, James City County, York County, Hampton and Poquoson. Proof of residency may be required.
Get complete details now!
Chesapeake Recycles Day
Saturday, March 12, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Southgate Plaza Shopping Center - Chesapeake
Free and open to the public but please bring a canned food item for donation. Complete details and list of accepted items available here.
Hampton Rain Barrel Workshop
Saturday, March 12, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
HCCC Office (1296 Thomas Street) - Hampton
Assemble your own rain barrel to take home. Cost: $40 Open to the public but registration is required by emailing causink@hampton.gov.
Great American Cleanup - Suffolk
Starting Sunday, March 13 - City-wide
The City of Suffolk will be supporting individuals, families, school groups, clubs and civic organizations who want to get out and cleanup their local community by providing them with the equipment to do so efficiently and safely. Cleanups will occur city-wide throughout the spring.
Hampton Clean City Cleanup
Friday, March 18, 3:30 p.m. - Big Bethel Road
Join the Hampton Clean City Commission Litter Awareness Committee in a series of open community cleanups. Event is family- and new-participant- friendly. Sign up at hccc@hampton.gov.
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & E-cycling
Saturday, March 19, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Public Works Operations Complex - Hampton
Open to residents of Williamsburg, James City County, York County, Hampton and Poquoson. Proof of residency may be required.
Get complete details now!
Newport News Master Gardeners Rain Barrel Workshop
Saturday, March 19, 10:00 a.m.
Virginia Cooperative Extension Office - Newport News
Open to the public, but registration is required. Assemble your own 55-gallon rain barrel to take home. Cost: $60. Open to the public, but registration is required. To register, please call (757) 591-4838.
Hampton Rain Barrel Workshop
Saturday, April 2, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
HCCC Office (1296 Thomas Street) - Hampton
Assemble your own rain barrel to take home. Cost: $40 Open to the public but registration is required by emailing causink@hampton.gov.
Tour de Trash
Friday, April 8, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Hampton Solid Waste Facilities - Hampton
Participants will tour solid waste facilities and learn about waste disposal processes. Open to the public but registration is required here. Contact hccc@hampton.gov for more information.
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Copyright 2016