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March-April 2017
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Two Local Educators Receive Environmental Action Awards
Congratulations to Wendy VanHosen, assistant principal at John Yeates Middle School in Suffolk, and Amber LaMonte, a teacher at York High School in Yorktown. During a special presentation Feb. 16 at the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), each received Environmental Action Awards, which recognize individuals who inspire youth (K-12) to have a positive impact on the environment by taking action in their schools or communities.

John Yeates Middle School was recognized for VanHosen's leadership of a school-wide recycling program. At York High School, LaMonte helped the school's green team improve availability and access to tap water and reduce plastic bottle waste by installing a water bottle filling station at the school. 

The winning projects had previously received funding through the mini-grant program and were selected as outstanding by a panel of local representatives from the HRPDC's 17 member jurisdictions and HRSD. The John Yeates Middle School and York High School projects were among 19 projects under consideration for the award, all of which were funded by in 2016.

While the projects may have started with a simple idea and a small amount of grant funding,  both serve as a legacy to their schools and will continue to remind students and faculty alike that we can each make an impact by thinking globally and acting locally. In addition to the award, each school received a check for $100.00 to be spent to further their project or to launch a new environmental initiative. Interested in knowing more about the mini-grant program? Just .
LEFT PHOTO: York High School (from left to right)  Back:   Mr. Thomas Shepperd, Jr., Member, York County Board of Supervisors; Mr. Neil Morgan, County Administrator, York County Mr. Michael Hipple, Chair of the James City County Board of Supervisors and HRPDC Vice Chair;  Front:  Ms. Amber LaMonte, teacher at York High School; Ms. Katie Cullipher, Team Leader; Dr. Ella Ward, Chesapeake City Council Member and HRPDC Chair.
RIGHT PHOTO: John Yeates Middle School Award (from left to right) Ms. Katie Cullipher, Team Leader; Mr. Michael Hipple, Chair of the James City County Board of Supervisors and HRPDC Vice Chair (in back); Ms. Wendy VanHosen, assistant principal of John Yeates Middle School; Mr. Lue Ward, Jr. Suffolk Council Member ; Dr. Ella Ward, Chesapeake City Council Member and HRPDC Chair.
Recycle More, Trash Less. 
Did you know that pizza boxes are NOT recyclable? In fact, any paper or cardboard product soiled with grease or food should not go into your curbside recycling bin. Styrofoam - that's a big recycling no-no, too. Can you recycle glass of any color? Yes, but glass jars and bottles need to be empty. The same is true for plastic bottles. And what about aluminum cans or foil? Those definitely go in the bin, but only if they're clean.

If you knew all of the above, you're a recycling all-star! If you didn't, check out askHRgreen's new super-fantastic recycling video for Hampton Roads and then download our splendiferous recycling poster to place on your fridge. It will help you decipher what goes in the curbside bin on collection day and what should be recycled elsewhere. For instance, plastic bags can and should be recycled, but they are not accepted at the curb. Instead, look for a recycling bin at your local grocery store or convenience center and drop your bags off there on your next shopping trip.

At, we're all making the green life easy. Recycling is one simple way to do something good for the environment, without having to leave your own home. Repeat after us - "recycle more, trash less ... recycle more, trash less."

Leaks - How to Find 'Em and Fix 'Em!
The average household's leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year - enough to wash nearly 10 months' worth of laundry. In fact, 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. It's time to mark your calendar and do something about it during "Fix a Leak Week," March 20-26, an annual reminder to check your household plumbing fixtures for leaks. Here are some quick facts on leaks and easy tips to help you find them and make repairs!

------ Find 'Em  ------
Common types of leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaking showerheads.
A good method to check for leaks is to examine your winter water use. It's likely that a family of four has a serious leak problem if their water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month.  Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.

One way to find out if you have a toilet leak is to place a drop of food coloring in the tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, you have a leak. (Make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank.)

------ Fix 'Em ------
Leaky faucets can be fixed by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary.
Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench.
If your toilet is leaking, the culprit is often an old or faulty toilet flapper. It's usually best to replace the whole rubber flapper, which is a relatively easy and inexpensive do-it-yourself project. If you do need to replace the entire toilet, look for the WaterSense label.
For more facts and info, take a peek at this  helpful video
Work Smarter, Not Harder in Your Yard 
With a little planning, you won't have to spend your spring and summer busting your chops in the yard! Follow our easy tips for working smarter, not harder when it comes to lawn care and outdoor watering.
Test your soil before applying fertilizer.

Use compost and mulch in flower beds to retain moisture.

Install a rain barrel to capture rain for outdoor uses.

Use a rain gauge and only water your lawn when there's less than one inch of rain per week.

Looking for a "green" speaker at your next community meeting? 
Just ask! Email your request to .
Keep on being green
in 2017!