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Pet Waste Stations Back for Local Grant Program

Posted on April 4, 2016 by | Comments Off

pet-waste-stationaskHRgreen.org is once again accepting applications for free pet waste stations in an effort to reduce bacteria in stormwater runoff. If your neighborhood, HOA or community association is ready to make ‘scooping the poop’ a priority, then you are invited to apply online at http://askhrgreen.org/pet-waste-station-grant/

To date, the City of Suffolk has used this regional program to grant 13 stations to neighborhoods across Suffolk. Regionally, more than 200 stations have been installed through the pet waste station grant program. The most recent pet waste station application in Suffolk was received from Suffolk Parks & Recreation for a second pet waste station to install at the new Seaboard Coastline Trail. The first station is located near the Driver entrance of the trail and the new station will be near the center of the trail. “We are getting TONS of usage!” says Helen Gabriel, Assistant Director, Suffolk Parks & Recreation. If pet waste is left on the ground, bacteria will be carried by rainwater to our waterways. Pet waste stations encourage citizens to pick up after their pets by making it easy and convenient to do so. 

Adding another station to the Seaboard Coastline Trail will prevent the overuse of any one station. “The overuse of a pet waste station creates a problem of its own.” says David Keeling, City of Suffolk Environmental Specialist. “Instead of being a benefit, it could become an eyesore and concentrate pollution sources.” 

askHRgreen-PetWasteStation-HomepageSlideSuffolk and other cities and counties will be granting stations to appropriate community associations that meet application requirements such as, emptying the garbage can when full, ensuring pet waste bags or garbage can liners are stocked and available for use, and ordering replacement pet waste bags or garbage can liners in a timely manner.

For more information, apply online at http://askhrgreen.org/pet-waste-station-grant/ or for Suffolk properties you may call contact Alacia Nixson at 757-514-7073.

This blog contributed by Alacia Nixson, Environmental Technician with Suffolk Public Works.

Posted in: Don't litter!, Keeping storm drains free, Pets, plastic bags, Waterways

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askHRgreen Wins National Award for Cigarette Litter Prevention Program

Posted on February 17, 2016 by | Comments Off

CLPPaward

Members of the askHRgreen.org accept award. From left to right: Lisa Renee Jennings (Norfolk), Wayne Jones (Suffolk), Linda Minner (Virginia Beach), Jennifer Jehn (KAB President); and John Deuel.

Last summer, we announced our exciting plans to work as a region to significantly reduce cigarette litter in Hampton Roads. Using a proven project model developed by Keep America Beautiful (KAB), askHRgreen.org, its local government partners and community volunteers organized the “Cigarette Butts = Litter” campaign. We are happy to report that our efforts resulted in reducing cigarette litter by an average of 74 percent in our study areas!

As a result of the unique regional approach used by askHRgreen.org and the meaningful reduction in cigarette litter, KAB presented askHRgreen.org with a National Program Award. Members of the askHRgreen.org Recycling & Beautification Committee were on hand to accept the award at KAB’s national conference, Feb. 1st in Orlando.

The “Cigarette Butts = Litter” project included seven diverse study areas across Hampton Roads. During the project, local teams and volunteers analyzed their sites, installed cigarette waste receptacles in strategic locations and conducted outreach directly to smokers encouraging them to be mindful of their disposal habits and offering them a pocket ashtray or auto ashtray for the cup holder of their vehicle. Study areas for this project included:  

  • Hampton – Buckroe Beach
  • James City County –  Commuter parking off Interstate 64 at Croaker Road
  • Newport News – Hilton Village at Warwick Blvd. and Main St.
  • Norfolk – Civic Plaza
  • Portsmouth – nTelos Wireless Pavilion
  • Suffolk – Downtown in the Main Street area
  • Virginia Beach – Lake Smith/Lake Lawson Natural Area, off Northampton Blvd.

Pre-scans of a portion of each study area revealed a total of 3,223 cigarette butts and plastic cigar tips had been littered on the ground. The post-scans showed that all project sites saw a dramatic decrease in cigarette litter after implementing the project. 

City/County Type of Project Site Decrease in Cigarette Litter
Hampton Park/Natural Area 58%
James City County Commuter Lot 46%
Newport News Business District 83%
Norfolk Civic Plaza 73%
Portsmouth Entertainment District 95%
Suffolk Business District 93%
Virginia Beach Park/Natural Area 69%
  Regional Average 74%

NN Go Green Auto Care

Go Green Auto Care in Newport News shows support for Cigarette Butts = Litter

Each study area had it’s own challenges. Worth mentioning was the trend of lower rates of change in the study areas that were more natural or less populated. This leads one to believe that smokers may be less likely to dispose of their litter correctly when they are visiting an area or feel like no one is watching their behavior. It’s like that saying “ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching.” Also worth noting is the fact that areas with a strong sense of ownership, namely the business districts, saw fantastic reductions due to the support the program received from local champions: the business owners, workers and community organizations like churches and libraries.

To learn more about reducing cigarette litter and what you can do to help, head over to the Cigarette Butts = Litter program or download resources from our Online Media Toolkit.

Posted in: Beautification, Don't litter!, HR Green campaign updates, Waterways

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Suffolk Farm Days

Posted on November 10, 2015 by | Comments Off

Suffolk_LacieAbout 1,200 second-grade students from Suffolk Public Schools recently got some hands-on experience at a farm.

Farm Days is a two-day hands-on farm experience that takes place at the Virginia Tech Research Extension Farm on Hare Road. “It’s a very good experience for the kids,” said Julie Moyer, science instructional specialist for the school system. “It’s their only field trip. The students look forward to it every year.”

The event has been held annually for 12 years and features several learning stations for children to rotate through. Some of the topics covered by the stations were the water cycle, pollution prevention, recycling, and animal care.

The City of Suffolk Public Works Engineering Department attended the event to help educate the children about the effects of litter and other pollutants on our waterways and wildlife. “The kids were great listeners and very compassionate when they were shown pictures of harmed wildlife,” remarked Wayne Jones, City of Suffolk Litter Control Coordinator, “one student said it made him feel mad that people litter and hurt the animals”. At Wayne’s station, the kids talked through the top 5 litter items found around the world including cigarette butts, food wrappers, bottle caps, plastic bottles, and drink straws. Afterwards the students put their skills to the test with a recycling knowledge game. The students were asked to distinguish between common items to figure out which of the items could be recycled. “It was very reassuring to hear so many of these children know what to and not to recycle” comments Wayne Jones.

The next station ran by Alacia Nixson, City of Suffolk Environmental Technician, focused on how pollutants affect our waterways. Using an Enviroscape, the students watched how our actions affect the Chesapeake Bay. An Enviroscape is a fun portable model that helps to visualize and better understand the sources and prevention of water pollution. Through this hands-on playful interaction the children discussed practical ways to prevent pollution at the source. 

“We were able to reach over 1,000 kids in two days!” says Kathy Russell, education coordinator for TFC recycling. “A key component to changing behaviors is teaching citizens, while they’re young, how to be environmentally responsible”.

Blog post contributed by Wayne Jones, Litter Control Coordinator with the City of Suffolk.

Posted in: Community events, Don't litter!, Gardening, Going Green, Keeping storm drains free, Reduce reuse and recycle

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Annual Virginia Waterway Cleanup Season Starts Today

Posted on September 1, 2015 by | Comments Off

Seatack: Students from Seatack Elementary School collect data and litter off Croatan beach in Virginia Beach.

Students from Seatack Elementary School collect data and litter off Croatan beach in Virginia Beach.

Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University is preparing for its 21st Annual Virginia Waterways Cleanup (part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup), one of the largest volunteer events in Virginia. The Cleanups will take place during September and October with a large number of events being held on the official “International Coastal Cleanup Day,” Saturday, September 19, 2015.

In 2014, 8,032 volunteers picked up more than 263,000 pounds of trash and recyclable materials in Virginia as part of this statewide event. In the 20 years that Clean Virginia Waterways has been organizing the Virginia Waterways Cleanup, more than 84,000 volunteers have removed close to 3.7 million pounds of trash from our rivers and beaches. The single most prevalent item found is cigarette butts, generally accounting for about 15 percent of the total number of debris items found. Plastic debris, especially convenience food items (bottles, cans, food wrappers, straws, etc.), make up between 60 – 80 percent of all that litter, and close to 80 percent of all debris originates from land-based sources.

Data is collected for a snapshot view of common marine debris items reported around the world. This is Virginia’s top 10 list.

Here are some highlights from previous years:

  • In 2014, 236 volunteers in Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge reported 904 balloons in a single cleanup.
  • In 2014, Virginia Beach Chapter of Surfrider Foundation did a cigarette butt targeted cleanup of 8 blocks of Atlantic Avenue. They documented 3,791 cigarette butts in this brief distance.
  • In 2011, more than 7,600 tires were removed from a tributary to the James River, putting tires in the Top 10 list for Virginia that year.

FINWR: Volunteer Site Captains conduct a cleanup on Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge. Cleanups can be public or private.

Volunteer Site Captains conduct a cleanup on Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge. Cleanups can be public or private.

There are many events planned throughout Hampton Roads this year and we are hoping to add many more. Want to get involved? If you would like to volunteer your time and participate in one of these events, please visit the Clean Virginia Waterways website often to see which cleanups have been added. We have a Facebook event page to keep you up to date – please join this invite and invite your friends to join too! You will also be able to find cleanup info on the askHRGreen.org event calendar.

We are also looking for new groups, businesses, schools and individuals to organize additional cleanups. As a Site Captain, you will get support and supplies from Clean Virginia Waterways including trash bags, posters, gloves, pencils and data cards. We will post your cleanup on our website and social media sites to help you grow your volunteer group. Site Captains get a really cool t-shirt too! This is a great way to get out and support your community.

Please help us make this year’s Virginia Waterways Cleanup the biggest year ever. For more information or to sign up, visit http://www.longwood.edu/cleanva/VolunteerForCleanup.html or email us at cleanvirginiawaterways@gmail.com.

This post contributed by Christina Trapani with Clean Virginia Waterways and Longwood University.

balloons: Balloons are a common item found on Virginia’s beaches. Balloon litter from your cleanup can be reported to www.VirginiaBalloonStudy.org.

Balloons are a common item found on Virginia’s beaches. Balloon litter from your cleanup can be reported to www.VirginiaBalloonStudy.org.

 

surfandadventure: Businesses are encouraged to hold a Virginia Waterways Cleanup. It’s a great way to engage staff and customers and give back to communities.

Businesses are encouraged to hold a Virginia Waterways Cleanup. It’s a great way to engage staff and customers and give back to communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Beautification, Community events, Don't litter!, Service Learning, Waterways

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No Butts About It……Virginia Beach Working to Reduce Cigarette Litter

Posted on August 6, 2015 by | Comments Off

8.5x11_whaleThe City of Virginia Beach is excited to participate in two Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) grants in an effort to reduce cigarette litter at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and Lake Smith/Lake Lawson Natural Area.

VB 1st streetClean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University (CVW) is spearheading the Virginia Beach Oceanfront initiative. CVW’s program involves working with various partners at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. This project targets visitors to the resort area and is the first CLPP of its kind!

With the help of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association (VBHA) and Virginia Green, CVW partnered with 12 resort hotels and supplied each of them with a cigarette receptacle, pocket ashtrays and program signage for their guests. We also worked with the City of Virginia Beach Resort Management office to place five receptacles on the boardwalk between 20th and 24th Streets. Finally, through collaboration with the VBHA, Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Resort Advisory Commission (RAC) G.R.E.E.N. Committee, we created graphics consistent with the committee’s Clean Beaches Program. 

Throughout the project, volunteers from Surfrider Foundation’s Virginia Beach Chapter and the Navy’s Norfolk Fleet Readiness Center have conducted six litter scans at four sites along the oceanfront, including small areas along the beach, boardwalk and beach access areas. To date, volunteers have counted and removed more than 12,000 butts from the sites.

VB 20th streetOnce the project is complete, we hope the Clean Beaches Program will continue keeping our beaches Beachy Clean!  Keep track of our project on the CLPP Virginia Beach Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CigaretteLitterPreventionVB.

Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation is also participating in a CLPP grant coordinated through askHRGreen.org at Lake Smith/Lake Lawson Natural Area. This 42-area preserve has more than 12,000 feet of shoreline and, while the City of Virginia Beach owns the property, the water/reservoir is owned by the City of Norfolk.

After being closed for approximately one year, this popular fishing destination reopened in October 2014 after a major renovation. The improvements include a new boat ramp, car and boat trailer parking, several fishing and overlook platforms, a pedestrian bridge, trail renovations, a large shelter, a new playground and a new restroom facility.

VB 20150803_152512_resizedVB 20150803_152733_resizedAs a part of the grant initiative, five cigarette litter receptacles have been placed throughout the property to encourage proper disposal of cigarette litter. Our goal is to provide disposal resources, educate citizens and encourage our patrons to assist us with litter prevention. This is the first time Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation has participated in the CLPP.

On Saturday, August 8 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. staff and volunteers will be at Lake Smith/Lake Lawson to educate patrons on the program. Patrons will learn about the new receptacle locations, receive educational material and free portable pocket and auto ash trays.

In addition, the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and Lake Smith/Lake Lawson Natural Areas CLPP are a part of Terracycle’s Cigarette Waste Brigade. The cigarette waste collected is recycled into a variety of industrial products such as plastic pallets, and remaining waste is recycled as compost.

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in America.  We encourage everyone to dispose of cigarettes butts and other litter in their proper receptacles and to do their part in Keeping Virginia Beach Beautiful!

Submitted by Amy Woodson, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation and Christina Trapani, Eco Maniac Company    

Posted in: Beautification, Cigarette Litter, Cigarette Litter, Don't litter!, Golf Tournament

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