Parks and Recreation Department hosts Winter Wildlife Festival

On Saturday, January 20 the gymnasium of the Princess Anne Recreational Center crowded with people, young and old to learn about wildlife of the area.
Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation in conjunction the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries held the event in order to promote “exploring the natural areas of our community,” according to the Virginia Beach City government website.
The exhibit hall was open exclusively on Saturday; vendors set up camp and sold environmentally friendly products, displayed native animals and shared insight on environmental petitions.
There were 20 vendors according to Jeff Staples, the Community Outreach Coordinator of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots environmental organization, who attended the event. Some vendors were large organizations like L.L. Bean and local vendors like Captain Cindy’s Photography.
“Ways to enjoy, preserve and protect our environment which includes winter wildlife in Virginia Beach,” was the purpose of the festival, according to Staples.
Over the course of three days, various sessions were held around the city including nature walks and fishing trips.
Sessions like birdwatching workshops and seal spotting were created to “learn what it takes to properly observe and identify wildlife in their natural settings,” according to VBGov.
Although the festival did have vendors and sessions for adults, activities for children were organized as well. Smokey the Bear was a hit amongst the kids– and adults.
“The most interesting part of the festival was when Smokey the Bear signed our petition,” said Staples regarding the Sierra Club’s Turn Not Burn petition.