Sunday, June 2, 2024

June Newsletter and Events

Summer is almost here!  Join us this Saturday, June 8th, for an evening hike at Indian River Park.  And on the Summer Solstice, Thursday, June 20th, we are holding our annual Potluck Picnic in the pavilion behind Oaklette UMC.  We hope you will join us for these fun social events!

  • Upcoming Events
    • 6/8/2024 - Saturday - Evening Second Saturday Hike @ Indian River Park
    • 6/20/2024 - Thursday - Summer Evening Potluck Picnic
    • 6/22/2024 - Saturday - Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road 
  • News
    • Comprehensive Plan Open Houses
    • Many Hands Make Light Work! - More Volunteers Needed
    • Tree and River Star Outreach
    • Protect Your Trees from Storm Damage
    • May and Clean the Bay Day Recap
Upcoming Events

Saturday, June 8: Evening Second Saturday Hike @ Indian River Park
  • Time: 6 pm - 8 pm
  • Location: Indian River Park trailhead at Rokeby Ave. and Main St. (2003 Rokeby Ave.)
  • 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.
  • Please pre-register at (suggested but not required)
Thursday, June 20: Summer Solstice Potluck Picnic
  • Time 6 pm - 8 pm
  • Picnic do Bruno | Michell Zappa | Flickr
    Location: Picnic Pavilion behind Oaklette United Methodist Church, 520 Oaklette Drive; park in the side lot along St. Lawrence Dr. 
  • Rather than our usual monthly meeting, in June we'll have a potluck picnic out behind the church.  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. 
  • To help coordinate who is bringing what, we set up a Sign Up Genius form at

Saturday, June 22 - Adopt-A-Road Cleanup along Indian River Road 
  • Time: 9 AM to 11:30 AM
  • Location: Meet at Lilac Avenue and Indian River Road. Park along Lilac Avenue by the Norfolk Highlands Primary School.
  • 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.  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.
  • Please pre-register at (suggested but not required)


Comprehensive Plan Open Houses

The Planning Department is continuing its Comp Planning efforts.  They finished focus group stakeholder meetings and a round of geographic area stakeholder meetings over the last couple of months.  Now another round of public Community Open Houses have been scheduled.  The closest one to Indian River will be on June 10 at the Conference Center.

June 4 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m., Great Bridge Town Meeting (Information Table) @ Great Bridge Intermediate School
June 10 from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m., Chesapeake Conference Center
June 13 from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m., Fire Station #7, 3329 South Battlefield Blvd.
June 17 from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m., Chesapeake Lifestyle Center

The Trails and Connectivity Plan is planning its final open house for Monday, June 3, from 5:30 pm to 7 pm at the Portlock Galleries, 3815 Bainbridge Blvd. Learn more at

The Greenbrier Area Plan held its final open house on May 22.   You can see some of the charts from the meeting at

Many Hands Make Light Work! - More Volunteers Needed

Thank you to the volunteers who have been weeding, mulching, and maintaining the gardens at the Indian River Road Oaklette Bridge and at Indian River Park, and at planters along Indian River Road.   We are looking for more volunteers to help.

At the Indian River Park native plant garden this year, we are going to try a "Divide and Conquer" approach. We have a few people that have already expressed interest in helping with the garden and the plan is to assign a small section to each of the volunteers that signs up. If you also want to help, our Native Plant Garden Captain, Amy Weber, will meet with you to point out your section and discuss the native plant selections and which plants that we consider to be weeds. You will visit the garden on your own time, every week or two, to keep your area in good shape. She will reach out to everyone periodically to see if there are any special concerns. She will be available to help as needed if you are unavailable on vacations or other times away!  Please feel free to contact her directly at to sign up to help or if you have any questions! 

At the Bridge Garden, we generally meet on Tuesday mornings to weed and do other tasks. If you are interested in helping out there, e-mail us at for more information.

Tree and River Star Outreach

We are starting a new sub-committee to identify opportunities to increase tree canopy in Indian River area by encouraging preservation of existing trees and encouraging new plantings on both residential, commercial, and municipal properties.   Along with this, we'll encourage residents and commercial property owners to become River Star Homes and River Star Businesses with the Elizabeth River Project.  If you are interested in helping with this committee, please let us know at

Protect Your Trees from Storm Damage

The hurricane forecast is in the news this weekend.  Trees are an enormous investment for your home and for the health of the environment.  Trees provide critical ecosystem services by protecting from damaging winds, reducing flooding, holding soil in place, and reducing summer air conditioning costs by up to 35%. And there is safety in numbers, neighborhoods with more tree canopy cover generally have less tree damage from storms.  You can take steps to ensure that your trees are healthy and properly maintained so you can enjoy their benefits for decades to come.  Learn how to keep your trees storm resilient at at

Also, take our Tree Pledge to protect trees on your property and in the community.    
Click here to help protect trees:

May and Clean the Bay Day Recap

Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) came to our May meeting and gave us an in-depth view of the high-capacity transit options for Chesapeake like establishing "bus rapid transit" routes.  Attendees were able to provide detailed feedback to the HRT team.   Learn more about the study at

We congratulated Mai Saldivar, winner of the Friends of Indian River 2024 Indian River High School Education Scholarship.  The scholarship recognizes a senior who excels in leadership, citizenship, extracurricular activities and academics.  Mai excels in all these areas and has done outstanding volunteer work including Clean Up projects thru the Elizabeth River Project and other groups.    She is looking forward to majoring in biology and environmental sciences. Thank you for your efforts and best wishes for college and beyond! Learn more about the scholarship at

We had a fantastic turn out for Clean the Bay Day on Saturday, June 1st at Indian River Park.  47 volunteers collected over 400 lbs. of litter and debris from the wetlands and roadsides in and around the park.  Very little of this trash comes from park users.   It is mostly trash washed in from the surrounding commercial and residential streets.  We found a lot of beverage containers, food-to-go packaging, and plastic bags.   A big thank you to the groups that came out to help today at the park including Navy Logistics Support, Coalition of Sailors, and of course our dedicated Friends of Indian River volunteers.  See more photos on our Friends of Indian River | Facebook Page 

We wish to thank the Carl W. Mangum Jr. and Marguerite S. Mangum Fund #3 of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation for making a generous grant to the Friends of Indian River.  This is very appreciated and helps our organization fulfill its mission to improve the quality of life for all the residents of the Indian River neighborhoods of Chesapeake  

Meanwhile, at the future Blue Heron Landing Park, there was noticeable progress. They started to regrade the site for what will ultimately be a restored living shoreline.

Have an idea for an article for our newsletter?  Send your submission, max 250 words, to us at along with a photo and we'll consider it for our next edition.