Friday, September 30, 2016

October Newsletter

Hope everyone is keeping dry with all this weather.  I guess we can say that at least everyone's gardens are getting plenty of rain.   And frogs, the subject of this month's talk, probably like the weather.

Our next meetings is on Thursday, October 20th, featuring Yohn Sutton speaking on FrogWatch.  

We really need volunteers on October 22nd for our Adopt-A-Park event at Indian River Park; we'll be doing work on the gardens at the entrance area and working with the Eastern Virginia Mountain Bike Association on trail maintenance.

The following week on October 29th we'll lead a guided walk at the Indian River Park - it's a great chance to discover the park in its fall colors.   And on November 5th we'll sponsor a tour of New Earth Farm.

The Eastwyck Crossing Apartment project was recommended for Approval by the Planning Commission and is heading for the City Council this month; despite some improvements there are still concerns about this 240-unit development adjacent to Indian River Park.

On the positive side, the Elizabeth River Project won a $700,000 grant for Eastern Branch Restoration projects including along our Indian River.   We will see a reinvigorated effort in our area including installation of living shorelines, lawn makeover, and evaluation of the impact of septic systems on our river.   Planning will kick into gear this fall and we will keep you informed about upcoming projects.


Rogard Ross
Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator

Monthly Meeting: Frog Watch
Date: Thursday, October 20th, 7 pm
Location: Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Dr.

Yohn Sutton, coordinator for the Frog Watch chapter at the Virginia Zoo will tell us all about frogs and how you can participate in Frog Watch, a fun and educational program that has individuals, groups, and families learn about wetlands in their communities by reporting on the calls of local frogs and toads.  There will also be light refreshments and door prizes after the presentation.

Adopt-A-Park Volunteer Work Day
Date: Saturday, October 22nd, 9:30 am to Noon
Location: Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Avenue

Meet at the 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. We'll be doing work around the park entrance, trailhead, and along the trails including some trail work, pruning, weeding, and cleanup. Please wear closed-toe shoes, a hat and bring work gloves. If you can, bring shovels, rakes, pruners, saws and other gardening tools. We plan to have a brief pruning and trail maintenance workshop giving by the Tidewater Chapter of the Appalachian Trail Club. 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.

Indian River Park Nature Trail Guided Walk

Date: Saturday, October 29th, 8:30 am to 10:00 am
Location: Indian River Park, 2001 Rokeby Avenue

Join us for a hike along the nature trail and through the park. 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.

Field Trip: Tour of New Earth Farm
Date: Saturday, November 5th
Duration: 9 am to about 2 pm including travel time.

Located at the Pungo end of Indian River Road, New Earth Farm is a working, sustainable and educational farm started by “Farmer John” Wilson in 1995 to grow and provide all-natural, chemical-free produce and products for the health of you and the environment!  The tour includes their educational gardens to talk about sustainable agriculture, viewing sustainable building and energy use techniques, learning about their farm animals, and visiting other areas of the 21 acre working farm.     We'll meet to carpool at 9 am; the tour is from 10 am to 12:30 pm and we should be back by around 2 pm.  There is an optional hands-on activity, so wear sturdy shoes and comfortable clothing.  Free for our members, this tour is limited to 30 persons.  Contact us at to RSVP.

Other News
  • The Eastwyck Crossing Apartment project was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission on September 14th.   It is scheduled to go to the City Council in October (probably 10/18) for final review.   There are continuing concerns around the developments impacts on the city and school budgets, the overcrowding at Indian River Middle School, and the need for mitigation related to the loss of 18 acres of mature woods adjacent to Indian River Park.   Citizen input is critical at this time - if you are interested in learning more about this development and how you can comment to City Council, contact us at for more info.
  • Voter registration deadline in Virginia is October 17th.  You can register, update your address, or just double-check your registration online at
  • Work is progressing on the new Rokeby Senior Center at Indian River Park (at Rokeby and Providence).   The Parks Department is finishing up work on the brand new interior and the opening is expected in the next couple of months.
  • The Friends of Indian River sponsored an International Coastal Cleanup at Plymouth Community Park on 9/17.   Thank you to the volunteers who came out and collected about 250 lbs. of trash including hundreds of beverage bottles, including glass bottles that probably haven't been manufactured in decades.   And a local business, Savior Martial Arts, held another cleanup at the mouth of the river on 9/18 removing another 100 lbs. of trash; kudos to them also!
  • We are always looking for more volunteers, both for our scheduled events and for various on-going or proposed projects.   Find out ways you can help at