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Media inquiries: Please contact Gary Waugh, gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-5045.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 08, 2013
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442, jim.meisner@dcr.virginia.gov

Virginia State Parks recognizes Earth Day with a week of events and programs

April 22 marks the 43rd celebration of Earth Day, the grassroots environmental awareness event celebrated in 175 countries. To mark the occasion, Virginia State Parks will offer programming and volunteerism events and introduce a new recycling program in all state parks during "Earth Week," April 16-22. The 35 award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Scheduled activities include self-guided and ranger-led programs as well as volunteer opportunities such as trail and shoreline cleanups.

The new statewide recycling program was developed when Dominion Virginia Power awarded a $25,000 grant to Keep Virginia Beautiful for 250 rolling recycling bins and educational signs in Virginia State Parks. Keep Virginia Beautiful also provided portable cigarette-butt ashtrays and larger disposal units to help with cigarette litter, which is unsightly, costly to clean up, and harmful to waterways and wildlife.

The program was introduced in three state parks last fall, in conjunction with Virginia Green, Virginia's program to encourage green practices throughout its tourism industry. Units will be in place statewide for Earth Week.

"Our partnerships demonstrate the power of businesses, nonprofits and government working together to make a difference," said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton. "We are committed to bringing a recycling message to our more than 8 million annual visitors who already appreciate nature's bounty in our parks and other public lands. Quite frankly, a visitor's experienced is significantly enhanced without trash and cigarette butts marring the beauty of the outdoors."

For more information concerning green attractions, green lodging and green meeting facilities, visit www.virginia.org/green.

Examples of state park Earth Week events and volunteer opportunities include:

Caledon in King George County, Hungry Mother near Marion, Leesylvania in Prince William County and Smith Mountain Lake in Bedford County, will sponsor trash-to-treasure programs, demonstrating that one person's trash could be another person's treasure or useful item.

Mason Neck State Park's Eagle Festival is a great celebration of America's success protecting the national symbol; the festival will be held April 20 at the park, located in Fairfax County.

Natural Tunnel State Park near Duffield will sponsor the 10th Annual Earth Day Rummage Sale Round-Up, April 19.

Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park in Big Stone Gap is hosting a plant sale and workshops, April 20.

Volunteers at Staunton River Battlefield State Park in Halifax and Charlotte counties will create a monarch butterfly habitat and plant a new flower bed at Sky Meadows State Park in Faquier County on April 20.

Pocahontas in Chesterfield County, Sailor's Creek near Farmville and Wilderness Road in Lee County host tree-planting events.

For more information on these and others programs, visit: http://1.usa.gov/Zqrazo, or search the events section of the Virginia State Parks website www.virginiastateparks.gov .

For more information about Virginia State Parks activities and amenities or to make reservations in one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.

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