Thursday, August 9, 2018

Indian River - Oaklette Meet & Cleanup, Saturday Aug 18

Indian River - Oaklette Meet & Cleanup
Date: Saturday, Aug 18 
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.,  in the Pavilion (parking is at Indian River Road and St. Lawrence Dr.)

We've teamed up with the Elizabeth River Project and the Oaklette United Methodist Church to expand the August 18th event.

9 am to Noon Harvest Exchange
As previously scheduled, Oaklette United Methodist Church is holding a harvest exchange!  If you have some extra garden produce from your garden but are lacking something else, this is your chance to make an exchange. You can bring something/take something. Vegetables, Eggs, Home-baked Goods, Plants.  The exchange is free–no money is involved.

10 am Rain Garden Tour 
Take a tour of the award winning rain gardens and dry wells installed by Oaklette United Methodist Church to reduce stormwater runoff around their building and parsonage.  For these efforts they received River Star Achievement Level, the City's CEIC Business and Industry Award and were recognized by the Methodist Church District level Earthkeepers program. 

10:30 am to 1:00 pm Litter Cleanup
The Elizabeth River Project is helping us organize a cleanup around Indian River Oaklette Bridge, the future Heron Landing Park canoe and fishing access site, and along Indian River Road in Oaklette.   The city will provide garbage bags and orange safety vests. We'll have water and snacks available. Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves and other items that may be useful. Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Summer Newsletter and Events

Harvest Exchange
Dates: Saturday July 21, August 18, September 15, 9:00 am–12:00 pm
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.,  in the Pavilion (parking is at Indian River Road and St. Lawrence Dr.)

Oaklette United Methodist Church is organizing a harvest exchange!  If you have some extra garden produce from your garden but are lacking something else, this is your chance to make an exchange. You can bring something/take something. The exchange is free–no money is involved.

National Night Out
Date: Tuesday, August 7, 6 pm - 8 pm
Location: Indian River Baptist Church, 1600 Laurel Avenue 

The Norfolk Highlands Civic League is organizing a local National Night Out event at Indian River Baptist Church.  Plans include a bounce house, food, a fire truck to tour, and more. They'll also be collecting school supply donations.   And stop by the Friends of Indian River information table at the event!

RiverFest Indian River
Date: Saturday, Sept 15, 11 am to 4 pm
Location: Tanglewood Neighborhood in Indian River, on the grounds of St. Brides Episcopal Church, 621 Sparrow Road, Chesapeake (3 blocks north from Irwin's) (Rain Date: October 6)

Clear your calendar and come out to celebrate our community and our river at this year's RiverFest.  The annual event organized by the Elizabeth River Project will be in our area this year and promises loads of fun and lots of great information.   This will be a dog friendly event!

Visit the Science Dome and learn what’s in our river  | Tons of Cool, FREE Kids Activities | Bring Your Dog
Earn Your FREE River Star Home Garden Flag | Native Plant Sale | Adopt a River Otter | Live Music | Food | NEW Elizabeth River Girl Scout Patch | Scoop the Poop Relay | River Theme Dog Costume Contest

Scoop the Poop Campaign

The Elizabeth River Project will be starting a door to door campaign in our area in the coming weeks to educate residents about the problems caused by dog poop. 

The Indian River gets a failing grade, an "F", on water quality due to bacterial contamination and excessive fertilizer use.  Water sample testing has found that 80% of the water samples are contaminated with bacteria from dog poop. We have about 6,000 to 8,000 dogs living in the Indian River area and the average dog poop has 23 million fecal bacteria - and long after the poop "disappears", the bacteria persist in the soil and gets washed into our waters.   Composting is also not effective; the typical backyard compost pile is not hot enough to destroy this bacteria - it just concentrates it.

Picking up after your dog - even in your backyard and even if you don't live near the river - is critically important to making the river and green spaces of our community a healthy and safe place to play, garden, and fish.  Spread the word - scoop the poop, bag it, and trash it!

Mosquito 101

No one likes mosquitoes.   And prevention is a lot more effective - and less harmful to bees and butterflies - than trying to kill mosquitoes by spraying.  Mosquitoes need three to seven days of standing water to complete their lifecycle from eggs to biting adults.  Perform regular scans of your yard to make sure there is NO standing water. This includes tarps where rainwater has collected, clogged rain gutters, buckets, unmanaged birdbaths, old tires, planters, pet dishes, kiddy pools, cans or bottles.   And since mosquitoes can fly several hundred feet, help pass the word to your neighbors!  To get more tips see

River Cleanup by Canoe/Kayak 
Date: Saturday, Sept 22,  9 AM to Noon

This is a "Bring Your Own Boat" event.  If you have a boat but no where to put in along the river, contact us to make arrangements on where to put in.  If you'd like to participate but have no boat, also contact us and we'll let you know if anyone has a spot to take an extra person.  We may also do a land based cleanup around the Indian River Oaklette Bridge if there is enough interest.  

If you plan to participate, it is important to let us know so that we can plan appropriately and provide additional information on where we will gather.  Please RSVP to 

Please also review safety information including the Safety Plan and Canoe/Kayak Safety.

Rain Date, October 6 in the afternoon, from 1 pm to 4 pm.

Other News

Aqua Virginia Acquisition: on June 12th, the City Council approved funding for the project "to acquire Water Franchise and to bring the System to appropriate standards"; the estimated cost both to acquire and upgrade the system $6 Million.  As of July 13th, the City and Aqua Virginia continued to negotiate the final sales contract, exchanging revisions to contract language.

The City Council also approved several other projects potentially affecting our community including rehabilitation of the Oaklette Bride on Indian River Road, a study on School Facilities and Redistricting, the development of a Master Plan to potentially build a Multipurpose Stadium (for school-level sport) at a central location in the city, and an ordinance to establish a Land Bank to Address Vacant, Abandoned, and Tax Delinquent Properties.  Read more at in our Facebook post.

This past month, the Elizabeth River Project completed their biggest shoreline restoration project along the Indian River.  Overall 550' of shoreline was improved with 792 oyster castle blocks, 80 bushels of oyster shell, 5 bushels of live oyster collected on the site, 45 coir logs, 115 tons of sand to extend the shoreline, and over 5000 spartina alterniflora marsh grass plants.  Over 100 individuals volunteered on the project over two weeks.  See a 3 minute slideshow on the installation from beginning to end at or  

For Clean The Bay Day on June 2, we had 84 volunteers, probably from age 6ish to 76ish. This was the first time we focused on the Ipswich area at the south end of the Indian River Park - the headwaters of the Indian River. The teams scoured the park and brought out 700 lbs of trash, including 4 tires and 2 broken wheel barrows.   See more pics at

And later in June, 7 volunteers come out for our quarterly cleanup along Indian River Road. We kept it short due to the heat but still collected nearly 100 lbs of trash between the Post Office and Oaklette UMC and around the bridge. And that included lots of plastic - bags, bottles, wrappers, cups - about 7 bags full.

Most of the trash we find on our cleanups is plastics.  The world is drowning in nearly indestructible plastics that we use for a few minutes as bags, cups, straws, bottles, and other single use conveniences.   Only 10% of these plastics make it to recycling centers.  Much of what does make it to these facilities then stacks up in huge plastic mountains because we generate more than we can re-use.  Stop throwing away the future ... take the pledge to reduce your use of single use plastics:

You can now also become a member of the Friends of Indian River, renew your membership, or make a donation online at

Monday, May 28, 2018

June Newsletter and Events

It's not too late to join us on Saturday!

Clean the Bay Day
Date: Saturday, June 2, 9:00 am to Noon
New Location: Indian River Park, Ipswich Entrance, 1999 Paramont Ave.
(if coming from Greenbrier on Military Hwy, turn right at the light by the Volkswagon dealership and go 1 mile to the park's south entrance).

Volunteers needed!  We are doing our annual Clean the Bay Day cleanup at the south end of Indian River Park this year.  Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves, and if you wish to work in the flood plain of the creeks, rubber boots.  Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision.   Please RSVP to   (Last minute volunteers are still always welcome). 

Monthly Meeting - 
Date: Thursday, June 21, 7 pm
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

Our guest speaker will be Robert Hitchings, local historian and archivist at the Wallace Room at the Central Library of Chesapeake, who will tell us about Rev. Richard B. Garrett (1854-1920) and the John Wilkes Booth Conspiracy ... the Hampton Roads Connection.  There will be light refreshments and door prizes after the meeting.

Quarterly Cleanup - Indian River Road - 
Date: Saturday, June 23, 9 AM to Noon
Starting Location: Post Office side parking lot at 3810 Indian River Rd

We need your help for our quarterly cleanup.   Join us for a few hours to clean up the mile of Indian River Road from the city limits at Wingfield Avenue all the way to MacDonald Road. We are also asking all business owners along Indian River Road - and everywhere really - to make sure they sweep up in front of their storefronts as part of the effort.   And if you can't make it out for our organized cleanup please take 15 minutes and clean up the street and ditches in front of your home; pass the word to your neighbors!

For our main cleanup we'll be focusing on the area around the bridge and into Oaklette.  The city will provide garbage bags and orange safety vests. We'll have water and snacks available. Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves and other items that may be useful. Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision.

Other News

Chesapeake Notable Yards Contest is now accepting nominations.   They are looking for "Yards That Look Good and Are Good For Nature".   Criteria include Visual Appeal and Garden Design, Healthy Lawn Practices, Native Trees, Shrubs and Flowers, Food Gardens and/or Wildlife Habitat, Rainwater Harvesting and Runoff Control, and a bonus category of being Active in the Community!  Submit nominations by May 31 at
Volunteers are needed for a shoreline improvement project along the Indian River in May.   Help to install oyster castles to build a new oyster reef and coir logs and native marsh grasses to protect the shore from erosion.  Learn more from the Elizabeth River Project and how to sign up at
Do you live along the tidal waterway? Well, you can help the river by becoming an Oyster Gardener. Help raise baby oysters off your shoreline, especially if you have a pier or other easy access to the water. And best of all, we will likely be able to keep many of the oysters raised on newly established reefs along the mouth of the Indian River.  Watch this one minute video to learn more and sign up here for orientation classes in June

Our Business Sub-committee has been working on outreach to businesses in downtown Indian River and working with them on  beautification along our "Main Street".   Thanks to generous support from local commercial property owners Larry Barlow and Bettina Colonna Essert, we've placed flower pots at the Irwin's Shopping Center, the Trade Team Business Center, and at Lulu's Hot Dogs.

Huge thank you to Daisy Troop 29 for coming out and planting flowers around the sign at Plymouth Park in early May. This was a big project for them including doing learning about vermicomposting and growing these cone flowers from seed. We had help from the Chesapeake Master Gardeners to provide some planting instruction!
Fall Events - click to enlarge: