Monday, March 16, 2020

Friends of Indian River Cancellations

Following recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health and working with our partners, all our locally related events are cancelled for the rest of March.  All the local libraries and community centers are also closed.

- Indian River Park Trail Planning Meeting on Monday, March 16 will be rescheduled for a later date.
- Indian River Small Area Plan Public Meeting has not been scheduled yet.
- Rokeby Garden Club Meeting on Wednesday, March 18 is cancelled; the talk topic will be rescheduled for a later meeting.   The gardening class on Friday, April 3 is also cancelled.
- Friends of Indian River Monthly Meeting on Thursday, March 19 is cancelled.  The organization's business meeting will be handled at a future meeting.
- Tree Planting at Plymouth Park on Saturday, March 21 is cancelled.

Please stay safe during these times of elevated concern and help "flatten the curve".  "Social distancing is still one of the best ways we have to combat the spread of the virus," said Dr. Demetria Lindsay with the Virginia Beach Health Department.   The fewer interactions between people, the slower and less likely is the spread of the coronavirus.  Remember to wash your hands often and thoroughly (at least 20 seconds), cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve, and stay home if you are sick. On a positive note, parks and natural areas remain open for individual activities.

For official up-to-date information on COVID-19 and protection tips, visit
http://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/city-departments/departments/fire/emergman/covid19.htm  

Sunday, March 1, 2020

March Newsletter and Events

In this month's issue, we have:
  • Indian River Park Trail Planning Meeting - Monday, Mar 16
  • Indian River Small Area Plan Public Meeting - Date TBA
  • Monthly Meeting - Chesapeake Recreation - Thursday, Mar 19
  • Tree Planting At Plymouth Park - Saturday, Mar 21
  • Other News
    • Permit application for new convenience store at BP gas station
    • Rokeby Garden Club
    • Friends of Indian River Education Scholarship
    • Conservation Landscaping
    • Local CEIC Environmental Award Winners
    • and more ....



Indian River Park Trail Planning Meeting
Date: Monday, March 16
Location: Indian River Community Center, 2250 Old Greenbrier Rd.

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism is hosting a public meeting to gather input on future improvements to Indian River Park.   Join us for this important opportunity to discuss concerns and opportunities for this great park.  The park has 80 acres of forest and trails popular with the local community, nature lovers, mountain bikers and many more.  But the park is being squeezed by development, at risk from unsustainable practices, and threatening by spread of invasive plants.  Help map out a sustainable future for the park so that it continues to be one of Chesapeake great parks.




Indian River Small Area Plan Public Meeting
Date: maybe Wednesday, March 18??
Location: TBA


The Chesapeake Planning Department is planning on holding a Public Meeting to gather input on the Indian River Small Area Plan.   This plan will outline a long-term vision and more immediate action plans for sustaining and improving the Indian River area.  Topics to focus on including the Indian River Shopping Center, economic development, area walkability, parks, and much more.  We've heard that a tentative date for the meeting is Wednesday, March 18 but neither the date nor a location have been confirmed.  The date may change, but mark down the 18th in case that is the date of the meeting; we'll let you know as soon as we hear more.



Monthly Meeting - Chesapeake Recreation
Date: Thursday, Mar 19, 7 pm
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Drive, Chesapeake, VA

Learn about different recreation opportunity in Chesapeake as we hear from Monica Christiansen of Chesapeake Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.

Get the latest community news and updates.

There will be light refreshments and door prizes after the meeting.




Tree Planting At Plymouth Park
Date: Saturday, Mar 21, 9 am to Noon
Location: Plymouth Community Park at 701 Pond Lane (two blocks north of Border Rd)

Our main goal for this event is planting 9 new trees - Eastern Red Cedars and Eastern Redbuds - just north of the storm water channel.  We'll also be doing some trash pickup and English Ivy management.  
Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves, shovels, rakes, pruners, and other useful gardening tools. 

We'll have snacks, but we encourage folks to bring their own water in reusable bottles to minimize use of plastic bottles. Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision.





Other News

On Tuesday, March 17, the City Council will review a Conditional User Permit application for the construction of a new convenience store as part of the BP Gas Station on Indian River Road, across the street from the Post Office.  The Friends of Indian River provided input at the Planning Commission meeting and had a constructive meeting with the developer's agent.   The landscaping ordinance will require that shrubs be planted along Indian River Road and the planting of 3 or 4 large (when mature) canopy trees; the current intent is to leave the existing crepe myrtles along Hawthorne Ave. Get more info about the application at http://www.cityofchesapeake.net/Assets/supporting_docs/actions_planning/2020/2020-02-12/pln-use-2019-058_staff_report.pdf


The Rokeby Garden Club is meeting Wednesday, March 18,1 to 3 pm to learn about medicinal herbs that you can grow in your backyard and how to use them.  A handout will be provided. Make a bug spray sample to take home. For residents "55 and better" who love plants and gardening.  Free - No registration required.  https://www.facebook.com/events/558396195027089/

And on Friday, April 3, 9 am to 11 am, the Rokeby Garden Club is hosting an Earthtainer - Indoor Gardening class to build your own Earthtainer, a 5 gallon self-watering planter, which provides automated watering giving your plants only as much water as they need to grow.  All supplies will be provided.  $10; Registration Required.  For Residents “55 and better”!  
https://apm.activecommunities.com/cityofchesapeake/Activity_Search/earthtainer-indoor-gardening/24286 

The Friends of Indian River is sponsoring a $500 Education Scholarship for a current Indian River High School senior who will be a college freshman next year.  The scholarship will recognize a senior who excels in leadership, citizenship, extracurricular activities and academics.  All completed applications must be returned to the IRHS Scholarship Coordinator and then given to the Indian River High School Awards Committee for final selection of the recipient. Get more info at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/friends-of-indian-river-scholarship.html

The Elizabeth River Project has several programs to help home owners upgrade their yards to become better stewards of a healthy environment. And now in the Indian River area of Chesapeake, the Friends of Indian River is stepping up to provide a little extra funding support for such projects to create rain gardens, vegetated shoreline buffers, and living shorelines. See the flier in the attached image for more info, visit https://elizabethriver.org/river-star-homes or contact us at info@friendsofindianriver.org

Thank you to 7 volunteers who came out for our Indian River Road cleanup in February. We focused on the area around the bridge and the future Heron Landing canoe launch site. Over a couple of hours we collected about 300 lbs of litter and debris. Along the shoreline was lots and lots of plastic bottles, most of which probably washed down the storm drains from our streets. Plastic bottles are really becoming the scourge of our existence.

We had a great time on our annual Great Backyard Bird Count walk at Indian River "Woodland" Lake between the IR Middle and High Schools.  By the end of the morning, we identified 27 bird species plus an unidentified raptor (perhaps an immature eagle). The biggest treat where several Northern Shoveler ducks on lake.


We had several local award winners at the Chesapeake 
Environmental Improvement Council's 38th Annual Environmental Awards Luncheon held on March 6.  Receiving one of the top honors, Jayne Whitney - founding member and past President of the Friends of Indian River, Tidewater Master Naturalist, and Chesapeake Bay Foundation Steward - was presented the City of Chesapeake's Outstanding Citizen Award by Mayor West.

Sharon Komenda accepted a Certificate of Appreciation for the work being done by the Rokeby Garden Club on education, outreach, and beautification at the Rokeby Center.

And Wicker's Crab Pot Seafood won the Business and Industry Award for their support environmental education in partnership with the Elizabeth River Project - delivered live crabs and other aquatic animals to field trips aboard the ERP's Learning Barge - and efforts to reduce waste at the restaurant.  Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/115427591855934/posts/2959525137446151/

Now is a great time to become a member or renew your membership, or just make a donation online at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/membership.html

    Monday, February 3, 2020

    February Newsletter and Events

    In this month's issue, we have:
    • Great Backyard Bird Count - Saturday, Feb 15
    • Monthly Meeting - Solar for Home - Thursday, Feb 20
    • Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road - Saturday, Feb 22
    • Chesapeake Conservation Conference - Friday, Mar 6
    • Indian River Park Trail Planning Meeting - Monday, Mar 16
    • Conservation Landscaping
    • Other News


    Great Backyard Bird Count Hike at Indian River "Woodland" Lake
    Saturday, Feb 15, 8:30 am to 10:30 am
    Location: Meet at the Indian River Community Center, 2250 Old Greenbrier Rd.

    It is the weekend of the Great Backyard Bird Count, a worldwide effort to identify the distribution of birds; as part of this we'll be leading a guided bird walk around the lake between the Indian River Community/Rec Center and the High School.

    When scouting the site, a variety of birds were spotted including Cormorants, Mallards, Pied-Bill Grebe, Bluebirds, - Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Woodpeckers, and more.

    We'll have some binoculars and a spotting scope, but do bring your own if you have some!



    Monthly Meeting - Solar for Home 
    Date: Thursday, Feb 20, 7 pm
    Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Drive, Chesapeake, VA

    Learn about options for installing solar at your home from Arthur Edwards, Sales Consultant at Solar Services, a local solar installation company.

    Get the latest community news and updates.

    There will be light refreshments and door prizes after the meeting.




    Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road /Community Cleanup
    Date: Saturday, Feb 22, 9 am to 11 am
    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 on Indian River Road, the city will provide garbage bags and orange safety vests. We'll have snacks but we encourage folks to bring their own water in reusable bottles to minimize use of plastic bottles. 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.




    Chesapeake Conservation Conference
    Date: Friday, March 6
    Location: Chesapeake Conference Center

    Registration is open for the Chesapeake Conservation Conference. Early Bird registration is $35 thru February 14; $25 for Full-time student with ID.

    The conference will bring together the environmental and conservation community of the City of Chesapeake for a day of networking, planning and learning. Panel-led discussions with related Question & Answer sessions will address the following topics: Parks and Natural Areas, Land and Water Conservation, Home and Garden, and Coastal Resilience.  City staff will also be collecting input on visions for the future of the City of Chesapeake for the next iteration of the City's Comprehensive Plan, the City Council-adopted blueprint that guides the City's growth policies and land-use decisions.  The Friends are one of the sponsors of the event and will be presenting during the Home and Garden panel.

    Part of the conference will be the Environmental Awards Luncheon honoring local individuals, community groups, schools, and businesses with recognition for their outstanding environmental projects. 



    Indian River Park Trail Planning Meeting
    Date: Monday, March 16
    Location: Indian River Community Center, 2250 Old Greenbrier Rd.

    Parks, Recreation, and Tourism is hosting a public meeting to gather input on future improvements to Indian River Park.   Join us for this important opportunity to discuss concerns and opportunities for this great park.  The park has 80 acres of forest and trails popular with the local community, nature lovers, mountain bikers and many more.  But the park is being squeezed by development, at risk from unsustainable practices, and threatening by spread of invasive plants.  Help map out a sustainable future for the park so that it continues to be one of Chesapeake great parks.



    The Elizabeth River Project has several programs to help home owners upgrade their yards to become better stewards of a healthy environment. And now in the Indian River area of Chesapeake, the Friends of Indian River is stepping up to provide a little extra funding support for such projects to create rain gardens, vegetated shoreline buffers, and living shorelines. See the flier in the attached image for more info, visit https://elizabethriver.org/river-star-homes or contact us at info@friendsofindianriver.org


    Other News


    A Conditional User Permit application for the construction of a new convenience store as part of the BP Gas Station on Indian River Road across the street from the Post Office has been submitted.  The City's Planning Commission will consider the application on Wednesday, 2/12.  The construction of the store will result in the loss of the two very large, mature trees on the property at the corner of Hawthorne and Indian River Road. These provide a current tree canopy over about 30% of the property. With the goal to make sure that the landscaping of the site is as environmentally sound and aesthetically pleasing as possible, the Friends have sent input on the project to the Planning Department.  Learn more about this at https://www.facebook.com/115427591855934/posts/2883784301686902/


    The Rokeby Garden Club is meeting Wednesday, February 19,1 to 3 pm to learn how to plant, dry, and prepare gourds for birdhouses.  Attendees will prepare a gourd birdhouse for their own garden. For residents "55 and better" who love plants and gardeningFree but must register. Class size limited to 10. Only a few seats left; call Rokeby Center at 757-822-6259 to sign up for this class.  https://www.facebook.com/events/2330181227283265/

    The Planning Department is currently setting up a first round of small group discussion regarding the Indian River Small Area Plan, to be followed by broader public input meetings.  We will share more information when we have it.

    Congratulations to Wickers Crab Pot Seafood Restaurant and to the Rivercrest Condominium Association in receiving Sustained Distinguished Performance Awards from the Elizabeth River Project River Star Business program. Thank you for making efforts to improve the quality of our community!  https://www.pilotonline.com/inside-business/special-reports/vp-ib-river-sustained-0120-20200120-scmwdoqmhrhivaog42rkdmmjoi-story.html 

    Thank you to the 9 volunteers, including several Tidewater Master Naturalists, who came out to Indian River Park on a chilly morning last month to work on removing invasive plants from Indian River Park. We started with education on the key invasive plants threatening the park - English Ivy, Chinese Privet, Multifloral Rose, Japanese Honeysuckle, and (visible in the summer) Japanese Stilt Grass - and our strategy for containing and managing the problem. Then we cleared an area of about 2000 sq. ft. just off the main trail of English Ivy, filling 9 big bags. If you want to learn more about our efforts and how you can help, just reply back to this e-mail.

    Friday, January 10, 2020

    January Newsletter and Events

    In this month's issue, we have:
    • Annual Meeting, Thursday, 1/16
    • Adopt-A-Park Volunteer Work Day (Invasives/English Ivy Removal), Saturday, 1/18
    • Other News
      •  “Main Street” Indian River Holiday Lighting and Decoration Contest Winners
      • Rokeby Garden Club
      • Tidewater Master Naturalist Training
      • Chesapeake Conservation Conference


    Annual Meeting
    Date: Thursday, January 16th, 7 pm
    Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

    In 2020, we will continue our many partnerships to improve the quality of life in our community. As well as our continuing cleanup, beautification, and environmental restoration efforts, we'll also be working with the city on the Indian River Small Area Plan, the City's overall Comprehensive Plan, an Indian River Park Trail Management Plan. 

    Please join us at our Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 16th, 7 pm as we hold election for our board and review plans for the coming year!

    As we look forward to 2020, you can review our success for last year in our year end report at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/2019/12/2019-year-end-report.html






    Adopt-A-Park Volunteer Work Day (Invasives/English Ivy Removal)

    Date: Saturday, January 18
    9 am to Noon
    Meet at the park entrance at Rokeby Ave. and Main St. (2001 Rokeby Ave.)

    We'll be working on invasive plant removal, particularly English Ivy.   Come help us control this scourge. The more volunteers that come out, the more that we can accomplish!  For those that are interested in doing more and joining our R.I.P. (Remove Invasive Plants) team, we will also be doing an invasive species identification workshop this morning to identify English Ivy, Chinese Privet, and Multi-floral Rose in the park.

    Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves. Bring pruning clippers, loppers, screwdrivers (which are amazingly useful in prying ivy off tree trunks) and/or pruning saws if you have them.  We will have water and lots of snacks. (We also always encourage folks to bring their own water in reusable bottles to minimize use of plastic bottles). Participants under 18 years of age must have adult supervision




    Other News


    Congratulations to the winners of our "Main Street" Indian River Holiday Decoration Contest:

    - Mobile Pig-Nic Catering / The Pig Shop Restaurant, 
    - Wickers Crab Pot Seafood Restaurant
    - Botanica Spiritual House Supply Store


    and to our Honorable Mentions - NAE Federal Credit Union, Midway Veterinary Hospital, Affordable Transmissions, Vohringer & Bryant Chiropractic, T-Mobile, Subway, Trade Team USA, Moulton Tax Service, and KFC/Taco Bell.  Thank you for helping to make our community sparkle!


    The Rokeby Garden Club is meeting Wednesday, January 15,1 to 3 pm, with guest speaker Sue DiStefano from the Norfolk Master Gardeners discussing how to Jumpstart Your Garden with Seeds.  No registration is required to attend; for residents "55 and better" who love plants and gardening. For more information call or visit the Rokeby Center at 757-822-6259.  https://www.facebook.com/events/2853041248081835/

    The Tidewater Master Naturalist are taking applications for the spring training course through January 19. This highly recommended program is for anyone wanting to learn more about our natural world and how it works. The classes run on Monday evenings from March through mid-May.  Learn more about the course and how to sign up at https://tidewatermn.org/

    Registration is now open for the Chesapeake Conservation Conference and Environmental Awards Luncheon on Friday, March 6. The conference will bring together the environmental and conservation community of the City of Chesapeake for a day of networking, planning and learning. Panel-led discussions with related Question & Answer sessions will address the following topics: Parks and Natural Areas, Land and Water Conservation, Home and Garden, and Coastal Resilience. Early bird registration is until February 14th.  Learn more at http://www.cityofchesapeake.net/ConservationConference