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

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.

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”! 

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

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 or contact us at

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

Now is a great time to become a member or renew your membership, or just make a donation online at

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