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July-August 2016
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Become a Bay Star Home in July and Win!
During the month of July, any family that signs up to become a Bay Star Home will be entered to win one of 75 free soil tests! Soil testing is the only way to know whether or not your lawn really needs chemical fertilizers. And when you accidentally apply unneeded fertilizer to your yard, you contribute to local water pollution. Also, as part of your pledge to become a Bay Star Home, you'll receive a welcome packet that includes great tips from, local information from your city or county, and a garden flag (may differ by locality) to proudly display in recognition of your commitment to a cleaner Hampton Roads. Get started now!
It's Summertime and the Living is Easy - Expert Tips from
This month we polled a few of our experts from to find out what they enjoy doing with their summer days and how they make it a little easier on the environment. Here's what we found out!
"You'll find me near the water quite a bit this summer. What you won't find is a lot of disposable items with me. Instead of individually-packaged items or plastic sandwich bags, I pack lunches and snacks in reusable containers. I also opt for my reusable water bottle (with lots of ice) instead of buying bottled water, and I fill it up from the tap before I leave home. It saves me money and there is no waste to deal with after my day at the beach!"

Katie Cullipher
Senior Environmental Education Planner, HRPDC

"When my wife and I want to get away for a break, we like to relax by canoeing. Spending several days on the river, enjoying the great outdoors gives you a respectful appreciation for our environment. As a rule we take home what we bring with us and we always, 'leave no trace'. I encourage others, especially our youth, to be responsible stewards of our environment." 


Wayne Jones

Litter Control Coordinator, City of Suffolk

"Cookouts are my favorite summer activity because it's a great way to bring family and friends together and celebrate the summer sun. While grilling on the beach at Sarah Constant Beach Park in Norfolk, I try to incorporate environmentally-friendly practices to make sure I am being good to my community. My top three green cookout green tips include: skipping the Styrofoam, saying no to plastic straws and ensuring no litter is left behind."

Lacie Nixson
Public Service Coordinator, Keep Norfolk Beautiful

"Our family does some really fun things with our weekends. At least one Saturday each month we join with a group of volunteers from the Virginia Beach Clean Community Commission to participate in a Helping Hands project. These projects are for senior citizens residing in Virginia Beach who own their homes and need some cleaning around their house. Volunteers do a yard make-over in three hours, and it's a lot of fun for all ages."


Dan Baxter

Chairman, Virginia Beach Clean Community Commission

Get Caught Being Green in the Classroom
Hey there all you Hampton Roads educators! We hope you're enjoying your summer vacation and getting plenty of rest and relaxation in preparation for the fall. You work so hard throughout the school year, so why not let help with your upcoming lesson plans? We know that September is a busy time for teachers, so we have put together a variety of resources that are just a click away in the "Your Classroom" section of our website. You'll find everything from tips for making your classroom a greener environment to how to earn money for an exciting green project for your school. Take a look: 

Start the year off right by putting green classroom  practices into place that will soon become habits and last for the rest of the school year. Download the pledge to green up your classroom and teach students about the importance of conserving resources.


Written according to Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) guidelines by a team of local experts, Green Learning connects students to their environment by combining educational information with colorful maps, interesting articles, puzzles and interactive class activities to teach concepts such as watershed education, pollution prevention, water conservation, resource management and more!

Get some green (up to $500) for your school project! The environmental education mini-grant program provides funding for projects that cover topics such as waste reduction, recycling, water conservation, native plant gardens, source water protection, litter prevention and more. Visit to see a complete list of applicable project categories and to learn how to apply online. 
What Does "Beach Closure" Really Mean? 
There's been a lot of talk about waterborne illnesses lately. Several national news stories have highlighted the health hazards of swimming in natural waterways, and you may be wondering just how this relates to our own recent beach closures. Well, here's what you need to know:
Water is alive with organisms! All waterways, whether it's a lake, river, ocean or even swimming pool, contain various microscopic organisms including bacteria. These organisms are generally harmless, but some may cause illness.

Between May and September the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) monitors bacteria levels at beaches in an effort to protect citizens from high levels of harmful bacteria. When bacteria levels are high, VDH will issue a beach closure.

Beach closures are most likely after a rain event. Avoid swimming near drains, fishing piers and for several days after heavy rain.

Do not ignore a beach closure! Closures will be indicated through signs along the waterway advising people not to come into contact with the water.

Swimming during a beach closure can cause stomach flu, pink eye, impetigo, dysentery, hepatitis and other serious bacterial infections.

At all times, reduce your risk of illness from swimming by showering before and after contact with water, and keeping water out of your nose, mouth, eyes and open wounds.

You can help reduce bacteria pollution in your local waterways by scooping the poop, not feeding geese and ducks, and preventing sewer overflows by keeping wipes, food and grease out of your toilet and drains.

To stay up to date on the latest beach conditions, follow VDH's Beach Monitoring Program on Twitter (@VDHBeach) to receive notifications of the status of current swimming advisories.
The Pinnacle of Success

It's nice to be recognized. In June, the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America recognized with two Pinnacle Awards in recognition of two of our outreach programs. The awards are a direct reflection of what our partnering cities and counties can accomplish through - and proof positive that our environmental stewardship programs are stronger when we work together as one region. Take a minute and check out these award-winning projects:
The "What Do You Know about Water?" video series, created by the Water Awareness Committee, took home first place for Video Programs ($5,000+). The web series includes three videos that quizzed locals to find out what they really know about their tap water. When the real answers were revealed, citizens were often pleasantly surprised!

Green Magazine, in partnership with Coastal Virginia Magazine, received a second place award for magazines (under $5,000). This unique partnership allowed to connect with readers of Coastal Virginia Magazine and demonstrate that green living can be fabulous here by the shore. The quality of this publication would not have been possible without the assistance of the magazine's talented staff writers, photographers and sales team.
If you're living the green life in Hampton Roads, we want to recognize you as a Bay Star Home. Sign up for your free garden flag while supplies last!
Keep on being green

in 2016! | HRPDC | The Regional Building | 723 Woodlake Drive | Chesapeake | VA | 23320