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Introducing: Green Magazine

Posted on April 10, 2015 by | Comments Off

Have you seen it? The inaugural issue of Coastal Virginia’s Green Magazine hit the shelves earlier this month and we’re thrilled to share it with you. Green Magazine is the result of an exciting new partnership between Coastal Virginia Magazine and askHRgreen.org. Last year we asked the magazine staff about working together to develop a special lifestyle supplement filled with stories covering all sorts of ways to live a more Earth-friendly lifestyle. They said yes and together, working with all of the askHRgreen.org education committees, they developed this special edition.COVAGREEN415_cover-lowres

Green Magazine features a behind-the-scenes look at a recycling audit that demonstrates the importance of trash vs. treasure, an exploration of the quality of our local waterways and what’s being done to clean them up, a feature on homeowners across the region greening their homes in big and small ways, and the importance and appeal of tap water. You’ll also find a food feature on our area’s beloved oyster, shedding light on why consuming local food straight from our waterways benefits more than just our taste buds.

We encourage you to share Green Magazine with family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. It is our hope that the stories in this beautiful magazine will educate and inspire residents and businesses alike to do all we can to make our coastal lifestyle a littler easier on the environment. Enjoy!

Posted in: Beautification, Clean and safe tap water, Community events, Fats, oils and grease disposal, Gardening, Going Green, Household tips, Keeping storm drains free, Lawn and landscape, Lawncare, Outdoor tips, Reduce reuse and recycle, Waterways

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Nominate a Conservation Hero in Hampton Roads

Posted on April 7, 2015 by | Comments Off

Julia Hillegass, HRPDC and Barrett Stork, Cox Communications

Julia Hillegass,, askHRgreen.org Team Leader and Barrett Stork, Cox Communications

Cox Communications, in partnership with The Trust for Public Lands, is accepting nominations for the 5th annual Cox Conserves Heroes program. This national program recognizes local environmental volunteers who are actively creating, preserving or enhancing outdoor spaces in their community. Nominations are being accepted through Friday, April 24th. One finalist from each of the following areas will be selected: Fairfax County/Fredericksburg, Hampton Roads and Roanoke.

These three regional finalists will compete for the title of Virginia’s 2015 Cox Conserves Hero. Each finalist will have an opportunity to tell their conservation story and highlight their great, green achievements. The public will vote online for their favorite finalist and select this year’s winner. Donations to local non-profit organizations totaling $20,000 will be made on behalf of the winner and finalists.

Roanoke has taken the top prize for the last two years – so it’s time to bring the conservation spotlight to Hampton Roads. If you know a conservation hero working to make Hampton Roads a cleaner, greener place; nominate them to be Virginia’s 2015 Cox Conserves Hero!

Posted in: Community events

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Volunteers Needed for 17th Street Corridor Cleanup on May 2

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Previous Virginia Beach cleanup volunteers
Credit: VB Public Works

The City of Virginia Beach Public Works Department, in collaboration with the Parks and Recreation and Police departments, is enlisting the help of volunteers for Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup (GAC). Volunteers are needed Saturday, May 2, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, at the 17th Street Corridor near the oceanfront.

GAC is the country’s largest annual cleanup, beautification and community improvement program, drawing millions of volunteers in over 15,000 communities each year. Virginia Beach will be focusing on picking up trash in the wooded lot between 17th Street and 19th Street, next to North Birdneck Road. 

The City will be working with the Virginia Beach Clean Community Commission, Keeping Virginia Beach Beautiful, askHRgreen.org, Keep Virginia Beautiful, and Keep America Beautiful to continue building an even cleaner, more sustainable city. For more information about this event, or to register to volunteer, contact John Mayer with the Public Works Waste Management Recycling Bureau at jmayer@vbgov.com or call  (757) 385-3855.

 

Bags of litter collected during previous Virginia Beach cleanup events
Credit: VB Public Works

 

You will be surprised by the litter you’ll find!
Credit: VB Public Works

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Community events

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Plants for the Lazy Gardener

Posted on April 2, 2015 by | Comments Off

green-thumb-462855-mLet me see all the green thumbs out there – raise them up high! 

Sadly, my thumb is not in the air.  I’m just green with envy at your planting abilities.  I love gardens, I love being outside, I love playing in the dirt and yet I have this uncanny ability to bring about a slow, sad death to anything I attempt to plant.  Probably because I end up forgetting to take care of it after about two weeks.  But not this spring!  This year I’m getting help – from native plants.

You may have already heard us say “plant more plants” but more specifically, we’re hoping you’ll plant more NATIVE plants.  Native plants are those that live in the region in which they evolved.  In other words, they’d grow here whether or not we plant them ourselves. 

The reason we like native plants for our environment so much is because they can grow here naturally without needing all the extra water and fertilizer and pesticides that those foreign species need.  The reason I personally like them so much is they require less attention from me.  They’re much harder to kill and this is a major bonus for lazy gardeners like me. 

So what are some native plants you can choose from?  I’m sorry but that palm tree in your neighbor’s front yard that was wrapped with plastic all winter is not on the list.  But there are plenty to choose from!  The Cooperative Extension has a whole guide for our region available online.  Don’t be intimidated by this huge list!  A few of my favorite natives include: black-eyed susan, dwarf azalea, sweetbay magnolia and flowering dogwood. There are also lots of ferns, grasses and large trees on the list.  Be sure to pay attention to the light and moisture requirements to be sure the plant will thrive in your yard.

Join me this year in my gardening laziness by planting easy-going native plants!

Posted in: Beautification, Gardening, Going Green, Lawn and landscape, Lawncare, Outdoor tips, Uncategorized

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Work Smarter this Spring

Posted on March 31, 2015 by | Comments Off

 Spring Flowers

Homeowners across Hampton Roads are gathering their trowels, gloves and trimmers and heading into their yards to cleanup after the long harsh winter. The warming temperatures and longer days make spring the perfect season for perfecting your curb appeal.  With a little advice from the experts at askHRgreen.org, you can have a great looking yard without all the back-breaking work or environmental impact. A low maintenance yard, is an eco-friendly yard! Follow these easy-to-do tips when planning your landscape and get the easy on the eyes, environmentally-friendly yard of your dreams.

  • Test your soil. Applying fertilizer to your lawn may not be necessary. Soil in the Hampton Roads region actually has naturally high levels of  many nutrients including phosphorous. An inexpensive soil test can help determine if fertilizer is needed in your yard and if so, how much. Cutting back on fertilizer saves you money and improves local water quality. Details at www.askhrgreen.org/put-your-soil-to-the-test/
  • Seed bare spots. Bare spots in your grass are unsightly. But they are also bad for the environment. Soil testing may reveal a nutrient deficiency that can be addressed through soil amendments like compost or fertilizer. Or maybe you just don’t get enough sun for the grass you are growing. Consider other ground cover options or flowerbeds which may be more suitable for turf-grass-hating areas of your yard.
  • Plant more plants. Grass is better than bare dirt, but plants and trees are better than grass! Flowers and trees make your yard look great and soak up lots of rainwater, keeping pollution out of waterways. Bonus? Less grass means less mowing!
  • Choose native plants. Native plants are often drought tolerant, disease resistant and perfectly suited to thrive in our climate. Because of this, they require little to no fertilizer while still providing the landscaping look you seek. Just put them in the ground and watch them thrive. Now that’s low maintenance!
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn. Don’t blow grass clippings into the road or down storm drains. Just leave them right on your grass, where they work like a FREE source of fertilizer. You also won’t have to struggle with bagging and dumping those grass clippings anymore. 
  • Consider compost. Dead limbs, grass clippings, pulled weeds – oh my! Composting is the best way to dispose of unwanted plant scraps because the byproduct is an eco-friendly source of nutrients for your soil. It will also decrease your contributions to local landfills. Yard waste should never go in your curbside recycling container, but may be accepted for composting at a drop-off center in your community. Find out at www.askhrgreen.org/recycling-information-by-locality/
  • Mulch your beds. Mulch gives any flowerbed a uniform, finished look. But did you know that it’s also eco-friendly? Mulch helps retain moisture (meaning less watering) and also controls erosion, weeds and soil temperatures.
  • Water wisely. Grassy lawns only need about one inch of rain per week to thrive. Use a rain gauge to track rainfall and determine if watering is necessary. When watering, do so early in the morning and be sure to adjust sprinklers so they are watering plants, not pavement.
  • Put rain to work. The roof of your home puts off lots of rain, but you don’t have to let it go down the (storm) drain. Installing a rain barrel for less than $100 will allow you to store rainwater for all your outdoor watering needs, while reducing your property’s contribution to local water quality.

We want to know – how do you work smarter, not harder in your yard?  Share your gardening tips with us now!

Posted in: Gardening, Lawn and landscape, Lawncare, Outdoor tips, Using water wisely

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