© 2010 Jillian Chilson
About CBF's Virginia Office
Since opening the Virginia office in the early 1980s, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been leading the efforts to Save the Bay™ in the Old Dominion through environmental advocacy, education, science, policy, litigation, and restoration. Today, CBF boasts offices in Richmond and Norfolk, field staff in Charlottesville and the Eastern Shore, an oyster restoration center in Gloucester, and six outdoor environmental education programs across the state. Our efforts are focused on ensuring Virginia meets its 2025 Bay cleanup goals to reduce pollution from sewage treatment plants, farms, and urban and suburban stormwater runoff.
Photo by Chuck Epes/CBF Staff
CBF's 2014 Virginia Legislative Priorities
Clean Water: An Ecological, Public Health, and Economic Priority
Virginians have long depended upon the state's many streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay for inspiration, recreation, drinking water, seafood, and jobs. However, today more than 13,000 miles of Virginia waterways and most of the Chesapeake Bay are polluted, posing serious threats to public health, the environment, and the state's economy. Virginia's elected leaders have a heightened responsibility and an extraordinary opportunity to restore clean water to Virginia by implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
The Brock Environmental Center
at Pleasure House Point
A conceptual rendering of CBF's new environmental education and community center at Pleasure House Point. SmithGroupJJR
CBF's Brock Environmental Center to Begin Construction This Summer
Community interest and support for the Brock Environmental Center continue to gain momentum, as CBF's much-anticipated ultra-green environmental center is scheduled to break ground later this summer. Design plans have been finalized and fundraising is accelerating to build the most sustainable building in Virginia, one which raises the bar for green building construction nationwide. The Center is named in honor of Joan and Macon Brock of Virginia Beach, who generously provided a $3.5 million leadership gift toward the $20 million comprehensive project.
The Center is being designed to meet the Living Building Challenge™, a rare designation that requires that the building be so in tune with the environment 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 (ILFI). As such, Brock Environmental 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 offices for CBF and local conservation partner Lynnhaven River NOW, include space for community meetings, and serve as home base for CBF's award-winning environmental education programs in Hampton Roads, which provide outdoor watershed experiences for 2,500 students and teachers across Hampton Roads each year.
The Brock Environmental Center is being built by Hourigan Construction of Virginia Beach on a small section of the 10-acre parcel that CBF purchased from the Trust for Public Land.
The parcel is adjacent to a 108-acre-tract of dunes, marsh, and trees acquired in July 2012 by the City of Virginia Beach for a natural area, which will allow for conservation, recreation, and education on site. The City of Virginia Beach Pleasure House Point Natural Area will remain open to the public during construction. Perimeter safety fencing around the Brock Environmental Center construction zone will be removed once the facility is complete in mid-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.
Green building is nothing new to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Twelve years ago, the organization led by example, building the first LEED Platinum certified building in the world—the Philip Merrill Environmental Center, CBF's headquarters in Annapolis, Md. CBF looks forward to again setting new standards with this world-class green facility in Hampton Roads.
To get the latest news about the Brock Environmental Center, check out What's New.
For more information about Pleasure House Point contact CBF's Hampton Roads office at 757-622-1964 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBF's Virginia educators, including Ken Slayzk pictured here, were recognized for their commitment to high-quality environmental education. Photo by CBF Staff
CBF Wins Environmental Education Award
Congratulations to CBF's Virginia environmental educators!
Eight members of the Virginia team in CBF's Education Department were recently awarded certificates of recognition by the Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources, Doug Domenech. The educators were praised for their commitment to providing high-quality environmental education combined with their exemplary professional skills and training.
Each educator documented skills in public speaking and writing, knowledge of pedagogy (i.e. learning styles, target audience assessments, and group processes), knowledge of natural sciences and systems, and an awareness of environmental issues related to place. Accepting the awards on behalf of the Virginia educators were Gwen Pearson, CBF Virginia General Manager for Education, and Bill Portlock, Senior Educator. Most of the team was unable to attend the ceremony because they were in the field, appropriately, working with students while conducting their award–winning field studies on the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, which includes much of Virginia.
The educators recognized were Gwen Pearson, Eric Weigandt, Brooke Newton Cash, Yancy Powell, Jimmy Sollner, Allan Thomson, Ken Slayzk, and Bill Portlock. (Also included was Rob Dorbad, who is no longer with CBF.)
Meet our Virginia educators.
CBF educator Eric Weigandt introduces students to a denizen of the Bay during a field experience. Photo by CBF Staff.
Urbanna Oysters and Education Partnership Thriving
Since the late 1990s, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Virginia education program has been involved with the Urbanna Oyster Festival. A partnership between CBF and the Festival's Marine Science Legacy Program (MSLP) began in Urbanna under a tent during the Festival's Education Day. We had a booth with aquariums and crabs for all the students to see and handle. Thanks to a great partnership and community support, the program has continued to grow.
Since 2007, we have been fortunate to provide environmental educational experiences on Urbanna Creek and the Rappahannock River, most recently aboard our education vessel, Bea Hayman Clark. Through the help of the MSLP we are able to provide field investigations for Middlesex County and Christchurch School students.
Vera England, previous Marine Science Legacy Coordinator, said the program makes students "really excited about learning" and that the hands-on experience makes a big difference in the classroom. "It's not just something in a textbook anymore," she explained, "it is something that they have touched and seen." (From Southside Sentinel Newspaper Website, Urbanna, Va. October 20, 2010)
These field experiences are matched to the Virginia Standards of Learning and meet the criteria for a "meaningful watershed educational experience" (PDF, 0.45 MB, 2pgs) as set by the Chesapeake 2000 agreement and Chesapeake Bay Program. During the field investigations, students learn about the history, culture, and ecology of Urbanna Creek and the Rappahannock River. Students discover their watershed address, how their actions impact water quality and its effect on local watermen communities, and what they can do at home to make a difference. Activities include towing a trawl net, fishing crab pots, and dredging for oysters to learn about ecosystems and biodiversity in the river.
These experiences expose many students to the water for the very first time. The teachers are able to teach about their local river since the experiences are coordinated with their curriculum in the classroom. It is CBF's goal that environmental education will inspire the next generation to "Save the Bay™."