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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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A Windy New Energy Source

Posted on October 2, 2014 by | Comments Off

wind-generator-1184115-mThere’s a breath of fresh air blowing through Chesapeake and it’s coming from Grassfield High School.  It’s a wind turbine!  The new structure has been in the works for years but finally came to fruition over the summer.  The turbine is expected to help power the concession area at the football stadium, greatly reducing electricity costs for the school.  Plus, students in the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Academy will get to study the benefits of this alternative power.  The wind turbine was funded by the Chesapeake Public Schools Educational Foundation, with support from many business partners and of course, a strong fundraising effort by the students at Grassfield High.

So how exactly does wind become electricity?  Let me break it down for you in a way that even my own non-science brain can understand.  The main components of the turbine are the blades, the shaft and the generator.  When the wind blows, it moves the blades.  Those blades are connected to the shaft which spins inside the turbine.  The spinning shaft is connected to a generator which then produces the energy!  (You know that generator you bought in case of hurricanes?  It probably requires gas to produce energy.  This one doesn’t need gas but uses the power of the wind instead.)   Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  I’ll admit there are a few more details to that process but you get the gist! 

Here’s a quick math problem to throw in there for good measure.  Wind + Turbine = Electricity to cook you a hotdog on game day. 

Now that’s a delicious and efficient use of energy.

Posted in: For educators, Going Green, Service Learning, Uncategorized

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Geography Awareness Week

Posted on November 14, 2011 by | Comments Off

This year’s Geography Awareness Week theme–The Adventure in Your Community–promotes the idea that the geographic perspective is an important way to understand every community, no matter what size, or how long or briefly one has been a part of it.

National Geographic and partners invite families, teachers and students to visit GeographyAwarenessWeek.org to begin completing geographic missions and earning rewards. A wealth of valuable resources, including printable posters, mission booklets and an organizing toolkit are available for teachers, parents and students on the Geography Awareness Week website.

Posted in: For educators, Research, Service Learning

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Win a $5,000 Grant for Your Youth Garden Project!

Posted on August 15, 2011 by | Comments Off

Youth Garden Project

Green Education Foundation (GEF) and Gardener’s Supply Company have teamed up to offer an exciting funding opportunity for established youth garden projects nationwide! The Green Thumb Challenge Grant is designed to support the continued sustainability of an exceptional youth garden program that has demonstrated success, and has impacted the lives of kids and their community.  The grant calls on schools and youth groups to submit chronicles of their garden projects in a race to win the $5,000 prize. Green Thumb Challenge participants should submit a completed Grant Application and Contest Disclaimer along with at least one of the following, or a combination:

  • An overview describing your garden project
  • One video – up to ten minutes long
  • A digital portfolio – comprising up to ten photos with captions
  • Scanned artwork with descriptions

Check out last year’s winner, Closer To Earth, a non-profit which engages at-risk youth in organic gardening.

To apply to be the next Green Thumb Challenge Grant winner, send GEF your materials by September 30th, 2011.
Happy gardening and good luck!!

Posted in: Beautification, Gardening, Going Green, Lawn and landscape, Service Learning

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Environmental Service-Learning Lesson Plans

Posted on May 4, 2011 by | Comments Off

My ODU Advanced Composition students turned in their service-learning lesson plans and let me just say — they’re awesome. These future elementary school teachers put to good use the research they did this semester on service-learning. They developed projects that include everything from building bat houses to limit the need for pesticides, to working with senior citizens on beautification projects, to building butterfly gardens with native plants, to becoming recycling detectives. All of their lesson plans link closely to the Virginia Standards of Learning, provide detailed instructions and materials lists, incorporate differentiated instructional strategies, and best of all — create fun opportunities for students to learn to be good stewards of the environment. Their lesson plans will be submitted for approval and will appear on the new HR Green website this summer. Watch for it!

Posted in: For educators, Service Learning, Uncategorized

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