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Want to Make a Difference? Look No Further

North View 10x8_v2People often ask what they can do to make a real, tangible difference in restoring the Chesapeake Bay. If you’re a Bay Daily reader in Virginia (or beyond), here are three suggestions.

Help build one of the world’s greenest, most environmentally sustainable buildings to serve as a model for living responsibly near sensitive environmental resources such as the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is raising money to construct the Brock Environmental Center at Pleasure House Point in Virginia Beach, Va. This cutting-edge facility is designed to be so in tune with the environment that it will have “net zero” impact on surrounding air, land, and water.

The unique building will house CBF’s Hampton Roads staff and that of Lynnhaven River Now, a partner watershed group; be home base for CBF’s award-winning outdoor education programs for Hampton Roads students and teachers; restore native habitat and wildlife; provide community meeting space; and serve as a national model for sustainable building.

Community support for the center has been overwhelming. The Hampton Roads Community Foundation recently awarded CBF a $500,000 grant toward creation of the Brock Environmental Center. It’s the largest competitive grant CBF has received for the project to date.

The Virginia Beach Garden Club also donated $22,000 to create five rain gardens of native plants to Env ctr surround the new center. The rain gardens will be vital elements of the Brock Environmental Center, helping absorb stormwater runoff and keeping it out of the nearby Lynnhaven River. The gardens also will enhance the natural beauty and wildlife habitat of Pleasure House Point.

And Whole Foods Market recently announced that on May 22, its Virginia Beach store will donate 5 percent of the day’s net sales toward the Brock Environmental Center project. Whole Foods Market sells only natural and organic products consistent with quality, fairness, sustainability, animal welfare, community involvement, and whole trade guarantees.

“All of these gifts validate the importance of our mission to make the Brock Environmental Center a regional hub for environmental education and conservation while setting new standards for green building,” said Christy Everett, CBF Hampton Roads Director. “They are most gratifying, humbling, and inspiring.”

If you’d like to donate to the cause, shop at the Whole Foods Market on Laskin Road in Virginia Beach on May 22; or contact Kate Wilson, CBF’s Hampton Roads major gifts officer, at 757/622-1964.

Feel like something more physical? CBF is recruiting about a dozen volunteers to help install a terrapin barrier at the Brock Environmental Center construction site.

©KarineAigner_CBFRave-2508The barrier – approximately 1,000 feet of six-inch corrugated black tubing secured around the construction zone – will deter diamondback terrapins from crawling onto the sandy building site to nest and lay eggs later this spring. Such barriers have been used successfully by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to steer terrapins away from human activities.

Volunteers are needed May 21, May 24, and May 28, from 9:00 a.m. - noon at Pleasure House Point. To register in advance, send an e-mail to or call 757/622-1964.

Feeling really physical? Come out for the 25th annual Clean the Bay Day on June 1 and help pick up litter and debris from your favorite creek or river.

Each year Clean the Bay Day draws thousands of volunteers to remove litter from local waterways, roadways, and shorelines. Last year, approximately 6,800 volunteers from communities throughout Virginia removed more than 150,000 pounds of debris from nearly 500 miles of streams and shoreline.

The three-hour event involves volunteers from cities and counties, military installations, state parks, DSC_0022 independent organizations, and numerous Scouting groups, businesses, churches, and civic organizations. This year for the first time all of Virginia’s state parks within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, from the Shenandoah Valley to the Eastern Shore, will host cleanup sites.

“The success of Clean the Bay Day exemplifies what can be achieved when citizens, businesses, and local governments work together to improve water quality,” said Tanner Council, CBF coordinator for the event. “We’re anticipating a tremendous turn-out for this year’s silver anniversary event. Cleanup sites are filling quickly, so we’re advising volunteers to register as soon as possible.”

Volunteers must register no later than May 29. To volunteer, go to or call 800/SAVE BAY.

Get involved. Make a difference. Save the Bay.

Chuck Epes

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

(Photo of diamondback terrapin by Karine Aigner/iLCP)


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