Hampton Roads, Virginia
CBF's lively on-the-water interactive education programs impact thousands of students and teachers each year. Photo by CBF Staff
About CBF's Hampton Roads Office
You don't have to travel far in Hampton Roads before you see water. The region is home to several rivers and numerous creeks which have shaped one of the largest natural harbors in the world. CBF has been active in this region since launching an education program in 1983. CBF's first Hampton Roads office opened in 1985 and environmental restoration and protection efforts began in 1990.
Working with other environmental organizations, federal grants, state and municipal partners plus hundreds of dedicated volunteers, CBF's Hampton Roads staff works diligently to improve the health of numerous waterways from the Middle Peninsula to Virginia Beach including: the York, Piankatank, James, Lafayette, Nansemond and Lynnhaven rivers. Currently we also have a specific focus on Norfolk's Lafayette River, in partnership with the Elizabeth River Project, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and many other community partners.
Although the annual Clean the Bay Day litter removal event is one of the most well-known project, office and field staff are also busy year 'round with oyster restoration, education programs, volunteer training, pollution prevention, underwater grasses, fisheries advocacy, communications and organizational support. Like CBF's other offices, our work is centered around ensuring that Virginia meets its pollution reduction goals by 2025, through the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. Stormwater runoff presents the biggest challenge to that effort in this highly developed urban/suburban region.
Pleasure House Point
An early conceptual rendering of CBF's new environmental education and community center at Pleasure House Point.
CBF's "Living Building" Education Center Gets Green Light
The Virginia Beach City Council on December 11, 2012, voted to approve a Conditional Use Permit for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) to construct what will be the most environmentally sustainable building in Virginia, located at Pleasure House Point. The city council's action clears the way for CBF to move forward with the Brock Environmental Center, named in honor of Macon and Joan Brock of Virginia Beach, who provided a $3.5 million leadership gift toward the $20 million project. The new facility will be built on a small section of a 10-acre parcel that CBF is purchasing from the Trust For Public Land—part of a 118-acre-track of dunes, marsh, and trees acquired in July 2012 by the City of Virginia Beach for conservation and recreation.
The CBF Brock Environmental Center is being designed to meet the Living Building Challenge™, a rare designation that requires that the building be so in tune with its site that it has "net zero" impact on the surrounding land, air, and water. The center will strive to meet a set of strict environmental standards established by the International Living Future Institute. As such, the center would be the first of its kind in Virginia and among only 18 prospective Living Buildings on the East Coast. (Learn more about ILFI's Living Building Challenge.)
The center will house office space for CBF and local conservation partner Lynnhaven River NOW, include space for community meetings, and serve CBF's award-winning environmental education program which provides outdoor watershed experiences for 2,500 students and teachers across Hampton Roads each year.
Groundbreaking for the CBF Brock Environmental Center is slated for late summer 2013 with a target completion date of autumn 2014.
CBF hopes the new environmental education and community center will engage, inform, and inspire the Hampton Roads community to solve the Bay's challenges in innovative, sustainable, and collaborative ways.
Find out more about our vision for Pleasure House Point.
Twelve years ago, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation lead by example by building the first LEED Platinum certified building in the world for its headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland, the Philip Merrill Environmental Center. CBF looks forward to taking a leadership role again with its vision for this remarkably green facility for Hampton Roads.
CBF aims to have a ground-breaking ceremony for its center in the spring or summer of 2013. Check our website regularly for more progress reports.
For more information about Pleasure House Point contact CBF's Hampton Roads office at 757-622-1964.
Teachers sift through underwater grasses on a recent professional development trip. Photo by CBF Staff
Virginia Beach, CBF Partner for Environmental Literacy
Through a unique public/private partnership, the Virginia Beach City Public Schools system has a new systemic environmental literacy program with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) that could be a model for school systems across the Bay region and the country. The program includes public, private, and non-profit partners. It provides hands-on Chesapeake Bay field experiences and classroom activities for all 11,500 sixth-grade students, as well as professional development for more than 50 middle and high school biology and oceanography teachers.
During the 2012 summer season, CBF worked with three different groups of teachers and administrators from Virginia Beach Public Schools to get them outside, experiencing the environment so they feel comfortable using it as their classroom. The Lynnhaven River is the backyard for many Virginia Beach residents, yet many don't know the major issues surrounding its poor water quality. These professional development courses not only introduce basic environmental concepts but also show teachers how the material naturally pairs with the Virginia Standards of Learning…and can be fun!
Any class is encouraged to join CBF on the water for field experiences with their students. The systemic environmental literacy program is designed to integrate environmental concepts with a multi-disciplinary approach so that all students find out more about taking action to save the Bay.
The partnership is funded by a $120,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Chesapeake Bay Office, a $55,000 commitment from CSX Transportation, and a $12,700 grant from the Junior Virginia Beach Garden Club. Other partners are the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, Lynnhaven River NOW, First Landing State Park, the Elizabeth River Project, and Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia.