The Issue: Benefits of Green Spaces in Communities
During the past decade, Virginia has lost an average of 16,000 acres of forestland every year—1 acre every 33 minutes—according to data from the Virginia Department of Forestry. These spaces have been paved to build houses, shopping centers, and roads. Yet replanting in neglected green spaces can provide a wealth of benefits for citizens, according to a lecture by Dr. Susan Barton at the University of Delaware. The increased beauty can help reduce stress and crime, create wildlife habitats, protect local waterways from pollution, and attract more businesses to the area.
The Campaign: Transforming a Vacant Lot into a Green Space
If 50 people donate $10, then Newport News Green Foundation can purchase plants to revitalize a vacant urban lot. This project will transform the unmarked property at 2903 Marshall Avenue, where frequent dumping and littering has marred the natural space. Volunteers from the community will complement the champion white oak that currently exists on the property with a selection of small plants, finishing the project with the installation of a decorative fence to help protect the site from future littering. Each additional $10 raised will go toward maintaining the landscape throughout the year.
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Newport News Green Foundation
The Newport News City Council established the Newport News Green Foundation in 1998 in response to the vast urban development that had overtaken the city. The foundation became an independent nonprofit soon thereafter, and began landscaping along urban corridors to enhance the quality of life for local residents. Today, the Green Foundation acquires spaces within the city and beautifies them with plants to create wildlife habitats and sources of clean air. During regular service days, volunteers come together to beautify a space—clearing, digging, plowing, and planting. Since its inception, the Green Foundation has transformed spaces throughout the community, including 4.84 acres behind the Brentwood Shopping Center and 2 acres at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and McLawhorne Drive.