Monday, August 29, 2022

September Newsletter and Events

  • Upcoming Events
    • 9/15 - Thursday - Bi-monthly Meeting: Monarch Butterflies
    • 9/17 - Saturday - International Coastal Cleanup by Canoe/Kayak
    • 10/6 - Thursday - Chesapeake Conservation Conference and Annual Environmental Awards Luncheon
  • Other News
    • Fall Events Poster
    • Indian River Week in October
    • 9/9 - 10/22 - Linger A While Exhibit at the Cuffee Library
    • Need Volunteers
    • Conservation Landscaping
Upcoming Events

Bi-monthly Meeting: Monarch Butterflies

Date: Thursday, September 15, 7 pm

Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Drive

We will start our fall season with a presentation from the Butterfly Society's Karen and Steve McCurdy.  They will be talking about Monarch Butterflies, which we should be seeing in our gardens around now.   They'll bring along some live caterpillars as part of their demonstration.

We'll also have the latest community news and updates!

International Coastal Cleanup by Canoe/Kayak

Date: Saturday, September 17, 12 pm to 3 pm

Location: On the Indian River, see below

This is a "Bring Your Own Boat" event.  If you plan to participate, it is important to let us know so that we can plan appropriately and provide additional information on logistics and where we will gather.  

If you have a boat but nowhere 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, contact us as we may have a limited number of extra spots on other boats.  Contact us at info@friendsofindianriver.org

If you are participating with our group, review and complete the online safety release form at least one day before the event: https://forms.gle/J3sXGzT1P65rp3ZN8

Chesapeake Conservation Conference and 39th Annual Environmental Awards Luncheon

Date: Thursday, October 6, 9 am to 2 pm

Location: Chesapeake Conference Center, tickets required

After a two-year break, the Chesapeake Conservation Conference and 39th Annual Environmental Awards are back this October.  The Conference will be in the morning and focus on Urban Forestry with a panel discussion by local Urban Foresters and a presentation on Building Resiliency with Green Infrastructure.  

After the morning sessions, the Environmental Awards Luncheon will honor local individuals, community groups, schools, and businesses for their outstanding environmental projects.  Karen Firehock from the Green Infrastructure Center will deliver the keynote address “Can the Urban Forest Help Us Adapt to a Changing Climate?”

The Friends of Indian River will be receiving the Adult Community Organization Award during the Awards Luncheon.  

Tickets for the Conference and Luncheon are $50; the Luncheon only is $35.  There are also sponsorship opportunities.   Registration closes 9/15.  Learn more and register at https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/conservationconference



Please see and share our fall events poster - click for larger image




Indian River Week

We're still planning to celebrate our community during the week of October 14th for our first ever Indian River Week.

- On Saturday, October 15, the Friends of Indian River will host a History Walk around Norfolk Highlands and Oaklette to talk about the rich history of the area.
- On Saturday, October 22, we'll be doing our quarterly cleanup along Indian River Road, around the Indian River Oaklette Bridge, and the future Blue Heron Landing Park.   We'll also have a team doing any necessary gardening around the new landscaping at the bridge.  

It is also Chesapeake Restaurant Week and we expect some of our local eateries to be highlighting their menu during this annual event.  If you are a restaurant wanting to sign up for restaurant week, visit  https://www.visitchesapeake.com/crwinfo/ for details.

Do you have an event going on in our area from October 14 to 22?  Let us know and we'd love to help advertise it.  

Linger a While: The Art of Ken Wright

From 9/9 through 10/22, the Cuffee Outreach and Innovation Library at 2726 Border Rd, will have an exhibition by a nationally acclaimed artist whose work hung in the White House under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  Learn more at https://chesapeakelibrary.libnet.info/event/7059857

Need Volunteers

We need volunteers to help with weeding at the new landscaping at the Oaklette Indian River Bridge and at the native plant garden at Indian River Park.   We also need volunteers to help with removing invasive plants at the Park.  There are also other volunteer opportunities listed on our website at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/volunteer.html.  If you can help out on any of these, please contact us at info@friendsofindianriver.org

Conservation Landscaping

Interested in improving the natural value of your property?  Would you like to add beauty while helping the environment?  The Elizabeth River Project is still offering matching funding for installing living shorelines (up to $5000), buffers (up to $2000), or maybe a Rain Garden (up to $2000). The Friends of Indian River has limited funds to kick in up to another $250 toward these projects in the Indian River section of Chesapeake.  Learn more at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/conservation-landscaping-program.html

We always encourage you as an individual to pick up any stray litter that you come across along our roads, parking lots, and in our parks.  Every piece of trash collected is one less that causes harm to wildlife in our natural areas and waterways.  And just as important, reduce your use of single use packaging to not create litter in the fir

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Summer Newsletter

 Happy Summer!

  • Upcoming Events
    • 7/9 Saturday - Second Saturday Hike at Indian River Park - CANCELLED
  • News
    • Chesapeake 2022-2023 Capital Improvement Budget
    • Indian River Small Area Plan - next steps
    • Indian River Week planned for October
  • Get Involved
    • Fall Events Preview
    • Need Volunteers
    • June Accomplishments
    • Conservation Landscaping
Upcoming Events


Second Saturday Hike at Indian River Park

Date: Saturday, July 9, CANCELLED





News

Chesapeake 2022-2023 Capital Improvement Budget

The City's new fiscal year started on July 1.  Some highlights affecting our area:
  • #50-270 Indian River Road Design Guidelines Manual and Overlay District - for the Planning Department to create a commercial overlay district and guidelines manual for Indian River Road that defines elements such as building height and form, placemaking, land use, and landscaping to guide redevelopment in this corridor.  Based on the Indian River Planning Area Study, it should include specific actions and policies to create the desired sense of place for the community.  $175K in FY2023
  • #40-270 Indian River Road Redesign - Redesigning Indian River Road to improve safety by adding bicycle lands and reducing speed limit along roadway while keeping appropriate capacity for automotive traffic.  Based on the current number of vehicles per day that travel on road, Indian River Road is overbuilt and encourages speeding that makes walking along sidewalks and biking along road hazardous and has resulted in severe accidents.  Calming traffic along this, our "Main Street" should help develop a sense of place and encourage Indian River to become a destination rather than someplace to speed through.  $110K in FY2023
  • #42-270 - Streetscaping and Landscaping of Various Gateway Corridors - This project funds landscaping and streetscaping at various gateway corridors across the City to highlight the entrances to the City, instill pride in residents and contribute to the goal of making Chesapeake an Exceptional Place.  While this funding is not earmarked just for our area, the Indian River Planning Area Study has specific actions for implementing streetscaping along Indian River Road, which could be addressed with this funding.  $300K in FY 2023
Just approved after passage of the Virginia State Budget
  • #72-270 Pool at Cuffee Community Center - funding for the design, engineering and building initial infrastructure for the City's first recreational pool at the Cuffee Center in Campostella.  $9M in FY 2023; additional $11M will be required in future years for complete buildout.
  • #75-270 Indian River Middle School Modernization - This project includes the modernization of the main building as well as the Chesapeake Center for Student Success (CCSS) annex building. This will provide additional permanent classroom space to house all Indian River Middle School students in the main building and allow CCSS to utilize the entire annex building.  $5.1M in FY 2023
Continued funding for existing projects includes
  • #15-240 Blue Heron Landing Park on the Indian River - this project builds out the new park with a restored shoreline, canoe and kayak launch, and boardwalk adjacent to Indian River Oaklette Bridge.  Request for Proposals for construction have been issued.  Additional $300K allocated in FY2023.
  • #56-230 Oaklette Bridge (Indian River Road) Rehabilitation - this project funds the repair of the bridge as part of VDOT State of Good Repair Program.  Work is slated to occur in 2022.  $5.1M allocated in prior years.
Some additional projects to highlight
  • 20-270 (Parks) Master Plan Update. $200K in 2023
  • 58-250 Citywide Trails and Open Space Connectivity Plan, $188K in 2023
  • 61-270 Providence Road Crossing (Culvert) Replacement, $1.4M in 2023
  • 52-250 Norfolk Highlands Drainage Improvements: additional $600K in 2023
  • 65-230 Philmont Avenue Septic System Disconnect (installing City sanitary sewer on Philmont Avenue in Norfolk Highlands); $450K in 2023
  • 12-260 Residential Traffic Calming Program, Citywide, $100K per year
  • 26-220 Citywide Sidewalk Installation, $800K in 2023 
  • 03-160 Citywide Stormwater Outfall (out flow to river) Regrading and Restoration; includes Hazel Court
  • 05-260 Broadlawn Apartments (in Campostella area) Stormwater Outfall Improvements; starts in 2024
  • 01-270 Water Tank Rehabilitation; include Norfolk Highlands tower; was separate project now rolled into Citywide project item
Indian River Plan

Some of us from the Friends of Indian River met with staff from the Planning Department in late July to discuss the status of efforts for the Indian River Planning Area Study.  In addition to the funding approved above, a key next step is to set up a Steering Committee with representatives from various City agencies including Planning, Public Works, Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, and community stakeholders.   Staff turnover in the Planning Department - the lead contact for the Plan left - has slowed down setting this up, but we hope to get back on track by this fall.  In the meantime, we have reached out to Public Works about plans for new streetscaping!

Indian River Week

We're hoping to coordinate with partners across the community to do something new this fall - organize an Indian River Week of events in the fall.  Details are still being hammered out, but the basic idea is to coordinate various local events during a week of October (tentatively the 3rd week) to highlight various aspects of our community.   The Friends are planning a History Walk and a Cleanup.  The 3rd week in October is also Restaurant Week.  We in conversation for some other exciting events, so stay tuned for more info.  And if you have an event idea or want to help with planning, please reach out to us at info@friendsofindianriver.org




Get Involved 

Need Volunteers

We need volunteers this summer to help with weeding at the new landscaping at the Oaklette Indian River Bridge and at the native plant garden at Indian River Park.   We also need volunteers to help with removing invasive plants at the Park.  There are also other volunteer opportunities listed on our website at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/volunteer.html.  If you can help out on any of these, please contact us at info@friendsofindianriver.org

Fall Schedule Preview
  • No Second Saturday Hikes in August, September, or October
  • Thursday, September 15, 7 pm - Bi-Monthly Meeting
  • Saturday, September 17, 1 pm - International Coastal Cleanup
  • Saturday, October 15, 1 pm - History Walk in Norfolk Highlands and Oaklette
  • TBD - Indian River Week
  • Saturday, October 22, 9 am - Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road
  • Saturday, November 12, 9 am - Second Saturday Hike 
  • Thursday, November 17, 7 pm - Bi-Monthly Meeting
  • Saturday, November 19, 9 am - Adopt-A-Park at Indian River Park 
  • Saturday, December 10, 9 am - Second Saturday Hike 
  • Thursday, December 15, 7 pm - Holiday Party
* dates subject to change

June Accomplishments

At the beginning of the month, we had a very successful Clean The Bay Day at Indian River Park.  37 volunteers of all ages pulled out nearly 1000 lbs. of debris from the park and river floodplain on the west side of the park.  We've never done a cleanup on this side of the park and the area we hit probably had 20 years of trash accumulated.   Many thanks to our host and partner Southern Auto Group Volkswagen and to the many volunteers who came out including a team from FedEx Ground.

We held an evening Second Saturday Hike at Indian River Park where we spied various wildlife including a Box Turtle about to lay her eggs just off the trail, multiple Eastern Cottontail rabbits, and Pearly-eye Butterflies.   Yarrow and Lizard's Tails were in bloom in the park.

In what we hope is a new tradition, we had a delicious group picnic instead of our regular June meeting.  This was a great opportunity to get together and social; our main entree was catered from one of our new local eateries TenderMacs - chicken tenders, zucchini tenders, and, of course, their delicious mac-n-cheese.  This was also a chance to celebrate the Friends of Indian River's 10th Anniversary.  It was in 2012 that we called our first meeting and we're proud of all we've accomplished since.

We closed out the month with another cleanup along Indian River Road from Wingfield to Sparrow including around the bridge and future Blue Heron Landing Park.  We collected about 150 lbs. of litter and a few larger items including, of all things, a toilet.  




Conservation Landscaping

Interested in improving the natural value of your property?  Would you like to add beauty while helping the environment?  The Elizabeth River Project is still offering matching funding for installing living shorelines (up to $5000), buffers (up to $2000), or maybe a Rain Garden (up to $2000). The Friends of Indian River has limited funds to kick in up to another $250 toward these projects in the Indian River section of Chesapeake.  Learn more at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/conservation-landscaping-program.html

We always encourage you as an individual to pick up any stray litter that you come across along our roads, parking lots, and in our parks.  Every piece of trash collected is one less that causes harm to wildlife in our natural areas and waterways.  And just as important, reduce your use of single use packaging to not create litter in the first place.  Take The Pledge to keep Virginia Litter Free at https://loversnotlitter.org/pledge/


Thursday, May 26, 2022

June Newsletter and Events

 The days are getting longer, the weather is getting hotter, and the Friends are wrapping up spring with a number of great events in June starting with Clean the Bay Day on June 4th.  

  • Upcoming Events
    • 6/4 Saturday - Clean the Bay Day Event at Indian River Park 
    • 6/11 Saturday - Second Saturday EVENING Hike at Indian River Park
    • 6/16 Thursday - Spring Picnic 
    • 6/18 Saturday - Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road
  • Other News
    •  Chesapeake Capital Improvement Budget approved in May
  • Get Involved
    • Conservation Landscaping

Upcoming Events

Clean the Bay Day 

Date: Saturday, June 4, 9 am
Location: Indian River Park at Southern Volkswagen off Paramont Avenue.

This year we are partnering with Southern Volkswagen to clean up the west side of Indian River Park for Clean the Bay Day.  The focus will be floodplain and forest edge along the Volkswagen dealership and down to Military Highway.    This area has been neglected for a long time and needs a lot of love; this will actually be the second half of a cleanup started earlier this spring.  

Sign up at https://forms.gle/kWifnY2nbaE4vJ4F6 and we'll update with parking directions as the date gets nearer.  

Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves. 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.

Second Saturday EVENING Hike at Indian River Park

Date: 
Saturday, June 11, 6 pm to 8 pm

Location: Meet at the Indian River Park entrance at Rokeby Ave. and Main St. (2001 Rokeby Ave.) which is located just south of Military Highway, i.e. across Military Highway from the Fire Station.

With summer solstice approaching, we'll change things up for our Second Saturday hike in June and do an evening hike starting at 6 pm.

Learn about the history of the park, the native trees and plants in this century old forest on the Indian River flood plain, and its value to maintaining the health of local butterfly, bird, and wildlife populations. Note: the forest trail has uneven surfaces and minor elevation changes.

To speed up registration and improve social distancing, please pre-register online at https://forms.gle/xN3UdDvi1WMd24fq9

Spring Evening Potluck Picnic

Picnic do Bruno | Michell Zappa | Flickr
Date: Thursday, June 16, 6 pm to 8 pm (come out anytime during the event)

Location: Picnic Pavilion behind Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Drive; park in side lot along St. Lawrence Dr.

Rather than our usual monthly meeting, in June we'll have a potluck picnic out behind the church.   This will also be the 10-year anniversary of the founding of the Friends of Indian River so we'll celebrate that also!

Bring a dish to share and join us for some camaraderie as we roll into summer.  The Friends will set out tables and chairs, provide a main protein dish (likely chicken).  We suggest bringing a comfy lawn chair.

In the event of rain, we will move the event inside the church's fellowship hall, however, in this case ONLY restaurant purchased or pre-packaged food from a store is permitted to be consumed inside.  

To help coordinate who is bringing what, we set up a Sign Up Genius form at 

Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road

Date: Saturday, June 18, 9 am

Location: Meet at Lilac Avenue and Indian River Road.  Park along Lilac Avenue by the Norfolk Highlands Primary School.  It is a No Parking zone along Oleander Avenue (parallel to Indian River Road).

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 cleanup 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.  One focus will be the area around the Bridge and the future Blue Heron Landing Park. 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.

To save time and allow for better social distancing, please pre-register at https://forms.gle/ypFBfAn7N1crjj2R7


Other News

Capital Improvement Budget

In May the City Council approved the City's 2022-2023 Capital Improvement Budget.   This included funding for key programs to kickstart the initiatives defined in the Indian River Planning Area Study approved at the end of last year. These include funding for development of an Indian River Road Design Guidelines Manual and Overlay District, the first phase of the Indian River Road Redesign, Enhanced Signage & Landscaping at Entrances to the City, and multiple other projects that affect our community.  

We thank the City Council for approving the funding to meet the strategic goals of making our City economically strong, culturally diverse, and environmentally responsible. Within the Indian River area, we look forward to partnering with the City in building a safe, well-connected community of vibrant residential neighborhoods with a thriving "Main Street" and strong commercial areas.   See additional details at https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofIndianRiver/posts/5336999803031994

Get Involved

Conservation Landscaping

Interested in improving the natural value of your property?  Would you like to add beauty while helping the environment?  The Elizabeth River Project is still offering matching funding for installing living shorelines (up to $5000), buffers (up to $2000), or maybe a Rain Garden (up to $2000). The Friends of Indian River has limited funds to kick in up to another $250 toward these projects in the Indian River section of Chesapeake.  Learn more at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/conservation-landscaping-program.html

Thank you to the many volunteers who came out for our volunteer events in in the last couple of months including at the Native Plant Garden at Indian River Park, Dollar Tree employees coming out for Earth Day to do invasive plant removal at Indian River Park, and for our quarterly Adopt-A-Road Cleanup.

We always encourage you as an individual to pick up any stray litter that you come across along our roads, parking lots, and in our parks.  Every piece of trash collected is one less that causes harm to wildlife in our natural areas and waterways.  And just as important, reduce your use of single use packaging to not create litter in the first place.  Take The Pledge to keep Virginia Litter Free at https://loversnotlitter.org/pledge/

Saturday, April 23, 2022

May Newsletter and Events

 In this month's newsletter, we have:

  • Upcoming Events
    • 5/14 Saturday - Second Saturday Hike at Indian River Park
    • 5/19 Thursday - Monthly Meeting - Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve
    • 6/4 Saturday - Clean the Bay Day Event at Indian River Park 
  • Other News
    • Elizabeth River Project 2022 Watershed Action Plan
  • Get Involved
    • Conservation Landscaping
    • Notable Yards Contest


Upcoming Events

Second Saturday Hike at Indian River Park

Date: 
Saturday, May 14, 8:30 am to 10:30 am

Location: Meet at the Indian River Park entrance at Rokeby Ave. and Main St. (2001 Rokeby Ave.) which is located just south of Military Highway, i.e. across Military Highway from the Fire Station.

Learn about the history of the park, the native trees and plants in this century old forest on the Indian River flood plain, and its value to maintaining the health of local butterfly, bird, and wildlife populations. Note: the forest trail has uneven surfaces and minor elevation changes.

To speed up registration and improve social distancing, please pre-register online at https://forms.gle/2eKE87nDtvgjppqR7

May Meeting - Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve

Date: Thursday, May 19, 7 pm
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

Our guest speaker will be Mickie Nance, Vice President of the Board of Directors for Hoffler Creek Wildlife Foundation in Portsmouth.  Mickie, also a Portsmouth Master Gardener and a Master Naturalist, will discuss the history of the Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve, Foundation, and the Preserve's Amenities. 

We'll also have the latest community news

Clean the Bay Day

Date: Saturday, June 4, 9 am
Location: Indian River Park at Southern Volkswagen off Paramont Avenue.

This year we are partnering with Southern Volkswagen to clean up the west side of Indian River Park for Clean the Bay Day.  The focus will be floodplain and forest edge along the Volkswagen dealership and down to Military Highway.    This area has been neglected for a long time and needs a lot of love; this will actually be the second half of a cleanup started earlier this spring.  

Sign up at https://forms.gle/kWifnY2nbaE4vJ4F6 and we'll update with parking directions as the date get nearer.  

Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves. 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.



The Elizabeth River Project published its 2022 Watershed Action Plan in April.   The Plan set many important goals for all of us to work toward restore a beautiful and healthy river, abundant in diversity, accessible to all.   See the full executive summary at https://elizabethriver.org/sites/default/files/ERP-WAP-ES-2022.pdf 

Get Involved

Conservation Landscaping

Interested in improving the natural value of your property?  Would you like to add beauty while helping the environment?  The Elizabeth River Project is still offering matching funding for installing living shorelines (up to $4000), buffers (up to $1500), or maybe a Rain Garden (up to $2000). The Friends of Indian River has limited funds to kick in up to another $250 toward these projects in the Indian River section of Chesapeake.  Learn more at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/conservation-landscaping-program.html

Notable Yards Contest

The City is looking for nominations for this year's Notable Yards Contest. If you think you or your neighbors have a yard that "Looks Good and Is Good For Nature" nominate it! Judges are looking for visual appeal and garden design, healthy lawn practices, native trees, shrubs and flowers, food gardens and/or wildlife habitat, rainwater harvesting and runoff control.  The nomination period runs May 1 thru May 31.  For more info see https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/Boards-Commissions/full-listing/ceic/award-programs-contest/Chesapeake-s-Notable-Yards-Contest.htm

We always encourage you as an individual to pick up any stray litter that you come across along our roads, parking lots, and in our parks.  Every piece of trash collected is one less that causes harm to wildlife in our natural areas and waterways.  And just as important, reduce your use of single use packaging to not create litter in the first place.  Take The Pledge to keep Virginia Litter Free at https://loversnotlitter.org/pledge/



Thursday, April 21, 2022

Earth Day 2022

 Here is a list of 50 Ways to Help Our Planet for Earth Day - and everyday!


Garden

1.       Eliminate or minimize use of herbicides and pesticides
Pesticides, including insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides, are designed to kill weeds, insects, rodents, and mold.  By definition, these toxic chemicals can be poisonous to wildlife, pets, people, and especially children.  So use best practices in your garden to reduce or eliminate the need for these chemicals.  https://cfpub.epa.gov/npstbx/files/reducewastepesticides.pdf
2.       Reduce use of fertilizers
Plants need fertilizer to grow, but most homeowners use much more than necessary.  When too much fertilizer is used or when it is applied at the wrong time, rainfall will wash excess fertilizer out of yards and into our streams and rivers.  This fertilizer overload causes severe issues like algae blooms and dead zones that kills aquatic life. https://elizabethriver.org/reduce-lawn-fertilizers
3.       Reduce storm water runoff
Stormwater runoff – excess rain draining from properties - is a leading cause of water quality problems. Rainfall or snowmelt from suburban lawns, golf courses, and paved surfaces picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, washing them into our waterways and into ground waters.   Capturing and keeping more rainwater in your garden allows it to soak in or evaporate, thus reducing both pollution and flooding.  Learn about projects you can do to reduce runoff at https://vaswcd.org/vcap
4.       Reduce size of your lawn
There are about 40 million acres of lawns in the U.S., making it the largest irrigated “crop” in the country.  Americans spend about $30 billion –and countless hours – every year tending to their lawns.  And lawns are ultimately biological deserts of minimal ecological value.   Replacing areas of your lawn with more plants can yield significant environmental benefits. https://www.udel.edu/academics/colleges/canr/cooperative-extension/fact-sheets/turf-grass-madness-reasons-to-reduce-the-lawn-in-your-landscape/
5.       Grow a vegetable garden
Creating a vegetable garden rather than mowing a lawn has many health benefits, provides you with the freshest fruits and vegetables, and let’s you manage what fertilizers and pesticides touch your food.   Such gardens can come in many sizes from balcony container gardens to mini-farms.   https://ext.vt.edu/lawn-garden/home-vegetables.html
6.       Protect existing trees
There is nearly an endless list of benefits from trees including providing shade, cutting electric bills for cooling, improving air quality, reducing stormwater runoff, enhancing beauty, providing homes for wildlife, increasing property values, and even improving mental health and happiness.  Read the “owner’s manual” on how to keep your trees strong and healthy. https://www.treesaregood.org/treeowner/treeownersmanual
7.       Plant more trees
We need to protect the existing trees and we need to plant more trees.   As the proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”  It is also important to pick the right tree for the right place.  Learn more about selecting trees and proper planting techniques at https://www.arborday.org/trees/tips/
8.       Plant native plants/plant pollinator garden
Your choice of plants is a big factor in how much environmental benefit they provide.  Plants are at the base of the food web for wildlife and research clearly shows that plants that are native to an area – plants that co-evolved with local insects – provide dramatically more wildlife benefit than ornamental plants from distant lands.  So go native as much as you can!  https://www.yesmagazine.org/environment/2020/02/07/yard-sustainability-native-plants/
9.       Live in harmony with wildlife
As human populations grow and our cities and towns expand across the landscape, so have our interactions with wildlife.  Many species have adapted to living alongside people in our suburban and even urban areas.   Hundreds of species of birds, countless insects from beetles to bees to butterflies, snakes and lizards, and larger creatures such as foxes and raccoons make their homes and live their lives in our communities.  With proper care and respect, observing these creatures can enrich all our lives.  https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/habitat/
Home
10.   Become a River Star or Bay Star Home
Make a commitment to be a better steward of the environment, get more tips on how to use better practices, and in some cases be eligible for financial support on projects. 
https://elizabethriver.org/river-star-homeshttp://askhrgreen.org/programs/bay-star-homes/
11.   Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  But Most of All – Reduce.
The average American throws away 4.5 lbs of stuff every single day, 365 days per year.  Only a small fraction of all this stuff ever gets recycled and much of it is not easily recyclable.   We’ve all heard of the 3 R’s of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  But perhaps the most important step is to Reduce first – avoid getting single use products and packages that you’ll toss almost immediately.    https://www.nrdc.org/stories/reduce-reuse-recycle-most-all-reduce
12.   Donate old items in good condition to thrift stores
Before you throw away that item, consider whether it has a second life.  Is it in good condition?  Would it be something you would give to a friend?  If so, consider donating it to a local thrift store.   It can then benefit the charity, provide a low cost item to someone else in your community, keep it out of the landfill, and make you feel good!  https://www.today.com/style/what-thrift-stores-want-you-know-you-make-donation-t162979
13.   Share tools and equipment with neighbors rather than buying your own
Ever need that one tool that one time?    Should you really hop on your favorite e-commerce site and order it?   How about hopping on your local community group on social media and asking if you can borrow the tool.  Odds are someone has it and may be willing to let you borrow it for the afternoon.  https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/how-to-start-a-neighborhood-tool-share/
14.   Opt out of junk mail
Americans receive millions of tons of junk mail every year.  That’s cumulatively, but many may feel they get that much just themselves.  And much of it goes straight into the recycling bin.  Here are some options for cutting down on how much you get in your mailbox.  https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/how/4-tips-reducing-your-junk-mail
15.   Turn off unused lights and switch to LED light bulbs
Starting with the oldest tip – turn off unused lights – to the newest – replace light bulbs as they fail with LED bulbs.   The price of LED’s has dropped dramatically over the years, they use 90% less electricity than incandescents, they have no toxic chemicals, and they practically last forever. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/led-lighting
16.   Adjust your thermostat
You can save 10% of your heating and cooling bill by adjusting your thermostat for at least 8 hours per day.    And heating and cooling costs can easily be more than half of the average home’s electric bill – usually much more during our hot and humid summers.  https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/programmable-thermostats
17.   Wash full loads of laundry in colder water
Most of the cost – and energy usage – in doing laundry goes to heating water.  Washing in cold water uses 90% less electricity.  Also washing in cold water gets the clothes just as clean in typical situations and is more gentle on the clothing.  https://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Simple-Dollar/2012/0119/Here-s-exactly-how-much-you-ll-save-doing-laundry-in-cold-water
18.   Look for the Energy Star label when buying new appliances
When you're shopping for appliances or electronics, you have to think both short term and long term.  There is the cost of buying the appliance but also the cost of operating it year after year, which is usually much more than the cost to buy it.   Looking at the Energy Star label, you can see how much it will cost to run the product so you can buy the more efficient products.  You’ll save money year after year and save the planet.  https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/appliances-and-electronics/shopping-appliances
19.   Winterize your home for winter and summer savings
“Winterizing” your home actually saves you money both in the winter and the summer.  Taking steps to insulate your home and seal cracks keeps warm air inside in the winter, but it also keeps cool air inside in the summer.   Both can result in major cost and energy savings! https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/interior-projects/how-to/g52/winterize-home-tips-energy-461008/
20.   Get a home or workplace energy audit to identify where you can make the most energy-saving gains
You can work with Dominion Energy to have a professional do a Home Energy Assessment of your home and identify more ways to save energy and money.  https://domsavings.com/va/rhea/
Shopping/Eating out
21.   Say no to single use plastic bottling – bring your own reusable bottle or mug
In a nation where almost all Americans (but sadly not all) have access to clean, safe drinking water, we consume water in single use plastic bottles at the rate of 100,000 PER MINUTE; 50 billion bottles per year.   And 77% of these bottles never ever reach the recycling center.   Be healthier, save money, save the planet - bring your own water from home!   https://gogreentravelgreen.com/bring-water-bottle/
22.   Avoid single use plastic packaging
Our society is drowning in single use plastic items – from plastic bags to impossible to open “blister” packs, from plastic water bottles to fruit clamshells.   These items will last nearly forever but are trash after the initial use.  Most are not readily recyclable.  Plastic production from new petroleum resources is projected to increase by 40% over the next 10 years, and the oil and gas industry is expecting this to be a major revenue source.  Take action to reverse this trend.  https://myplasticfreelife.com/plasticfreeguide/
23.   Shop local          
By shopping local you support your local community and reduce transportation costs.   And when buying locally produced food, such as from farmer markets, you support local agriculture. https://www.independentwestand.org/what-happens-when-you-shop-local/
24.   Combine online deliveries into a single delivery
Online shopping is convenient.  But having a steady stream of delivery vehicles cruising city streets to drop off more and more cardboard boxes and bags at your door is certainly not ideal for reducing waste or pollution.    Reduce your impact by combining your orders and deliveries into as few shipments as possible, such as by setting an “Amazon Day” https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/online-shopping-carbon-footprint-1.4914942
25.   Go Meatless at least once a week
Livestock operations have significant negative environmental impacts, from the amount of land and water consumed to the amount of animal waste produced.   Skipping meat once a week can have a major benefit for the ecosystem. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/vegetarian-and-special-diets/going-meatless-once-a-week
26.   Buy organic and local whenever possible
The USDA Organic certification gives you confidence that it was grown pesticide-free.  Locally grown food helps local farmers and reduces transportation costs.  Locally grown organic is the best of both worlds.   Learn about your food choices and make the best choices! https://www.food.ee/blog/is-it-better-to-buy-local-or-organic/
27.   Bring your own reusable container for leftovers at restaurant
Want a do-it-yourself solution to avoid getting those Styrofoam containers for leftovers when you go to a restaurant?  (Remember back when we ate out).   Come prepared, bring your own reusable food storage containers in a small bag and fill them yourself with your leftovers.   https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/monday-mission-pack-reusable-containers-for-restaurant-leftovers/
28.   Buy second hand from thrift stores or friends
Why buy new when there are perfectly good items looking for a new home at your local thrift store?  You avoid the need to manufacture a new product using raw materials, keep an item out of the landfill, save money, and likely help a local good cause.  http://www.greenandprosperous.com/blog/2017/10/11/how-does-thrift-shopping-help-you-save-the-environment
29.   Buy Less, Live More
Focusing on life’s simple pleasures-  like spending time in nature, being with loved ones, making a difference to others – can  provide more purpose, belonging and happiness than buying and consuming.  https://www.tbd.community/en/a/consumerism-benefits-buying-less

Transport
30.   Bike instead of driving for some of your trips
Choosing your bike over your car has multiple benefits – reducing fuel use and carbon emissions, saving wear and tear on your vehicle, reducing traffic congestion, and providing you with exercise.   https://biofriendlyplanet.com/green-alternatives/transportation/environmental-reasons-to-start-riding-your-bicycle-more/
31.   Walk instead of driving for short errands
Ever drive from one side of a parking lot to the other?   Take the car to go to the post office down the street?   By walking instead of driving you again reduce pollution from your car and get great exercise.  So park that car and get moving!  https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/walk-more-drive-less#1
32.   Combine trips to reduce driving
When you do drive, combine several errands in one trip.   And plan your route in advance to line up destinations efficiently and avoid having to backtrack.  And a tip from UPS – when planning your trip, minimize making left turns because they result in more wasted time and fuel. https://afdc.energy.gov/conserve/behavior_techniques.html
33.   Improve your gas mileage by taking care of your car
There are many easy ways to improve your gas mileage, starting with making sure your tires are properly inflated and your air filters are clean.   Also go easy on the gas pedal, avoiding “jack rabbit” starts and driving too fast. https://www.theautochannel.com/news/2007/06/29/053777.html
34.   Make sure your next car has better gas mileage
When it’s time for a new car, look for one with better gas mileage.  https://www.consumerreports.org/fuel-economy-efficiency/the-most-fuel-efficient-cars-best-mpg/
Business
35.   Telecommute
A lot of businesses have been required to practice telecommuting for the first time this year.  If they decide to retain this option for employees long term, at least some of the time, they can provide significant environmental benefits to the world.   Thousands of cars could be removed from the road and traffic congestion relieved.  Employers could also save costs on heating and cooling buildings.  And employees could save hundreds of hours of time commuting each year.  https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/telecommuting-sustainability-how-telecommuting-is-a-green-job/
36.   Reduce energy consumption
Businesses can also save money by adopting a variety of energy saving practices, some as simple as making sure unused lights and equipment are powered down.  https://www.dominionenergy.com/our-stories/energy-saving-tips-at-the-office
37.   Switch to renewal energy providers
Renewable solar and wind energy continue to decline dramatically in cost, making them competitive with gas powered and even coal powered generation.    Business can either install solar and wind directly or buy via renewal energy contracts. https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/emily-folk/10-ways-renewable-energy-can-save-businesses-20190208
38.   Establish a workplace recycling program
Businesses often generate large amounts of recyclable materials.  To be a good corporate citizen, the first step for a successful program is a waste audit, including reviewing how to reduce waste before it happens.   For items you can’t reduce/eliminate or reuse, the next step is setting up a recycling program.   Learn how at https://www.inc.com/guides/2010/04/start-office-recycling-program.html
39.   Reduce waste and improve your company’s environmental footprint
Reducing waste saves money while conserving both natural resources and energy – “waste not, want not”.  Reducing your waste is also a practice that provides positive customer public relations for businesses.  More than just recycling, waste reduction looks for various ways to reduce a company’s environmental footprint. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/how-your-business-can-cut-costs-by-reducing-wastes
40.   Reduce business travel
Traveling long distances for business meetings has a major environmental impact, not to mention being expensive and time consuming.  Sometimes there is nothing that can replace the impact of a face to face meeting, but with today’s technology a tele- or video conference will often be sufficient. https://www.trondent.com/sustainable-business-travel/
Advocacy
41.   Never litter – and lend a hand by picking up litter when you are out and about
Litter happens … whether from carelessness, neglect, irresponsibility, or mistakes.  Make a pledge to never litter.  And when you see litter, pick it up if you can.  Research shows that people are less likely to litter if an area is already litter free.   And discourage the use of single use, disposable packaging when possible.   https://kab.org/goals/end-littering/
42.   Join community cleanups
Many locales have regular cleanups through programs like Adopt-A-Highway, Adopt-A-Park, The Great American Cleanup, Clean the Bay Day, and the International Coastal Cleanup.  Go out and lend a hand! https://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/Boards-Commissions/full-listing/ceic/Get-Involved/Beautification-and-Cleanups.htm
43.   Follow the Friends of Indian River on Facebook
Get the latest environmental tips and updates from the Friends of Indian River.  Follow us on Facebook.  
https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofIndianRiver/
44.   Volunteer with the Friends of Indian River and other local environmental organizations
We are always looking for volunteers to help on a broad array of activities.  From cleanups to advocacy, the efforts of volunteers are what makes non-profits effective.  Check with our  volunteer calendar at http://www.friendsofindianriver.org/p/calendar.html or browse https://www.volunteerhr.org/
45.   Participate in the activities of city boards and commissions
There are several city boards and commissions, in addition to the CEIC, that deal with environmentally related issues.  These include the Chesapeake Agricultural Advisory Commission, Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area (CPBA) Board , Chesapeake Bicycles/Trails Advisory Committee (BTAC) , and the Stormwater Committee.  http://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/Boards-Commissions/full-listing.htm
46.   Make your voice heard at the Planning Commission and City Council
The Planning Commission and City Council deal with many land use issues and overall city policies.  The Planning Commission has public hearings on the 2nd Wednesday of the month.  The City Council has public hearings on most Tuesday evenings. 
http://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/Boards-Commissions/full-listing/11planningcommission.htm
http://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/council/council_meeting_info.htm
47.   Become an environmental and conservation advocate
As a citizen and a constituent, you have the power to contact your elected officials at the city, state, and federal level about issues that are important to you.    Tools include e-mails, letters, in person meetings, comments at public hearings, and even letters to the editor of local newspapers.  https://maineaudubon.org/advocacy/tips-for-effective-citizen-advocacy/
48.   Share the Knowledge/Be a Good Example
Share what you know and be a good example for others.   Model good behavior and others are more likely to trust you and change their own behaviors https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_ways_to_help_people_change.
49.   Vote
Elections matter.  Research the candidates running for office and support candidates who best support your goals.  And make sure you register and vote.  If you can’t get to the polls, make sure you apply for an absentee ballot. https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation
50.   Go outside, enjoy nature, and bring a friend – building a love of nature will encourage everyone to protect our Earth
Study after study shows that getting out in nature improves health and happiness.  And people won’t protect the natural world around us unless they learn to appreciate it.   One lesson we hopefully take from the recent crisis is that we need more natural areas in our cities.  (Please follow physical distancing rules as required).  
https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_happens_when_we_reconnect_with_nature




Originally published for Earth Day 2020 - the 50th Anniversary.  Now with updated links.