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Construction Under Way at Pleasure House Point

Construction of CBF’s Brock Environmental Center is under way at Pleasure House Point!

The building is expected to be completed and open in late fall 2014.

Watch the videos below for a look at our progress. 

Watch a fly-over video | Watch a time-lapse video | Take a virtual tour of the new building

Fly-Over Video: August 2014, provided by Hourigan Construction


OxBlue Onsite Camera Time-Lapse Video:
To watch the time-lapse, click the PLAY button image of play button in the top right of the screen

Virtual Tour Video


We're Looking for Tour Guides!

We are now recruiting for the first Brock Environmental Center Tour Guide team.

Become part of the team to educate others about green, sustainable building in one of the greenest buildings in the world.

Volunteers will be thoroughly trained and ultimately designated official BEC tour guides. Ideal applicants will be outgoing and able to commit to tour guide shifts during weekdays (though we will also have some evening and weekend tours).

Primary Training Session and Lunch:
Saturday, October 25, 2014
10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Abridged/Follow-up Training
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
5:30-8:30 p.m.

To register or learn more, please contact Tanner Council, rsvp@cbf.org or 757.622.1964.


Continued Drive to Obtain Salvaged Materials a Success

The salvaged materials collection program that CBF began earlier this year to help construct the Brock Environmental Center has been a great success. Community donations of all kinds have arrived to help the center meet the Living Building Challenge (LBC) standards and become the greenest building in Virginia and among the most sustainable buildings in the world. CBF has collected kitchen sinks, lockers, doors, mirrors, champagne corks, and countertops from the Hampton Roads community. Salem Middle School in Virginia Beach even donated old wooden gym bleachers (pictured), which will be used as interior trim around windows and doors at the Brock Center. Used ceramic tile repurposed from a previous CBF building project will be reused for bathroom walls. Fallen trees from off site also will become a part of the Brock Environmental Center and help contribute natural shapes and environmental forms in the lobby woodwork. And reclaimed 75 to 100 year old fallen cypress trees will be used for exterior siding. The cypress trees are 100% Forest Stewardship Council certified and meet the Living Building Challenge criteria.

The completed Brock Environmental Center will even reuse rainwater to meet its net-zero water goals for the facility. To accomplish this, CBF intends to use a rainwater collection system that will reroute the collected water to the bathroom sinks for hand washing and other uses.

Using the salvaged, recycled, and reused materials is a big part of how the Brock Environmental Center will attain the LBC and LEED Platinum certifications of environmental sustainability. By reusing materials that may have otherwise been discarded, the Center will have less need for newly fabricated materials, ultimately reducing the carbon footprint of the project and saving landfill space.

Photo credit: Andrea Moran/CBF Staff

Mimosa Removal

On Friday, September 27, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and several volunteers removed eight mimosa trees from the Pleasure House Point property. The non-native trees were on the eastern side of the property, near a path recently cut by the City of Virginia Beach. After being removed, the mimosas were taken away by trailer.

Mimosa trees originate in tropical Asia and are listed as an invasive species by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. The department maintains that “invasive exotic plants threaten native species and natural communities by altering ecosystem processes and interfering with [vegetation] communities.” 

CBF is improving the site at Pleasure House Point by fostering the growth of native plant species to populate the habitat. CBF Hampton Roads Senior Scientist Chris Moore said that the need to be vigilant for more mimosas remains, but the removal of these eight trees was a significant start to supporting the site’s native species.

Photo credit: Chris Moore/CBF Staff

Native Grasses Moved to Safety

In late September, CBF staff and volunteers transplanted native grasses away from the Brock Environmental Center construction zone at Pleasure House Point.Transplanting the grasses to nearby areas will maximize their potential to grow and serve as valuable natural buffers and filters for the adjacent Crab Creek and Lynnhaven River. Native grasses are a vital part of the area’s habitat as they enhance the absorption and filtration of polluted runoff, protecting nearby waterways and wildlife habitats.

Volunteers and CBF staff also worked to remove plants deemed as invasive species by the Native Plant Society. Removing invasive plants will help rebalance the area’s natural habitat by allowing native species to thrive. Seeds from the native grasses will be collected for future planting after Brock Environmental Center has been completed.

Photo credit: Chris Moore/CBF Staff

Barrier Installed to keep Terrapins Safe during Construction

In May, CBF installed a small but effective barrier around the Brock Environmental Center construction site to keep nesting diamondback terrapins out of harm’s way at Pleasure House Point. Diamondback terrapins, a species of turtle native to the Atlantic coastal regions, usually nest close to the water’s edge. The Brock Environmental Center site lies 200 feet inland but in possible range for the terrapins. The barrier should ensure no terrapins wander into the construction zone in the early summer, when they normally lay eggs.
CBF enlisted the help of volunteers to assemble the 1,100-foot-long barrier, made of six-inch corrugated black tubing, around the construction zone. Chris Moore, CBF Hampton Roads Senior Scientist, said that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has successfully used barriers of this type to keep diamondback terrapins away from areas of human activity. Once the barrier no longer serves a purpose on the site (replaced by erosion and control fencing) volunteers will help remove it and it will be transported to Fisherman's Island for turtle protection by US Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Photo by Chris Moore/CBF Staff

Tree Transplant Update


Photo by Chris Moore

Earlier this year, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation transplanted trees  and shrubs  at the site  of the future Brock Environmental Center at Pleasure House Point. The first phase involved the use of a tree spade to move the larger live oaks and red cedars from the construction zone to other areas of the property. During the second phase, CBF staff enlisted the help of volunteers and staff from Hourigan Construction and the City of Virginia Beach to transplant over 150 smaller trees and shrubs on CBF’s portion of the Pleasure House Point property.

Photo by Andrea Moran

The native plants, including live oak, pine, red cedar and high tide bush, were in areas that will be disturbed by Brock Environmental Center construction, which begins later this summer. CBF enlisted the help of local arborists and restoration specialists for their expertise in maximizing the plants’ potential for successful transplanting.  In their new location, the trees and shrubs will serve as important habitat for a variety of birds and other animals and will also filter runoff  before it reaches Crab Creek and the Lynnhaven River. 

Photo by Chris Moore

After a post-transplant survey of the trees and shrubs on May 15th, CBF is happy to report that the plants have adapted quite well.  The vast majority of the plants displayed new spring foliage and are thriving in their new locations.  Even the plants which were relocated to areas containing concrete rubble are doing well in their new locations.  CBF staff will continue to monitor the plants throughout the year. Many thanks go out to all of the volunteers who made it happen.


Photo credits: (top) Chris Moore/CBF Staff, (center) Andrea Moran/CBF Staff, (bottom) Chris Moore/CBF Staff

Variety of Species Found During Virginia Beach BioBlitz

Using a 25-foot long beach seine, CBF Hampton Roads Senior Scientist Chris Moore makes several "sweeps" in Crab Creek to catch and release fish and other critters during the BioBlitz. Photo by Kristyn Moore

The Pleasure House Point site recently hosted a BioBlitz in order to help survey the numerous plants and animals that are currently present on the property.  Organized by the City of Virginia Beach, the main goal of the BioBlitz was to determine what species are using the property or its adjacent waterways and marshes, their numbers, and where they are located on the property.  Volunteers and students from nonprofit organizations, state agencies, academic institutions, and wildlife groups participated in the BioBlitz, which took place from 7 a.m. Saturday, May 4, to 7 a.m. Sunday, May 5.  This 24-hour time period allowed volunteers the opportunity to survey both diurnal and nocturnal birds along with a host of other animals, fish, insects, and plants.  Signs were placed at the entrances to the property to inform visitors of the event and reduce human disturbance during the BioBlitz. 

CBF Hampton Roads Senior Scientist Chris Moore participated in the BioBlitz during the afternoon of May 4.  His efforts focused on catching and identifying fish species  in the tidal waters that surround the site.  Using a 25-ft long beach seine (pictured), he made a number of “sweeps”   to catch fish and other animals that where present along the shoreline.  His catch for the day included an impressive variety of species, including mummichogs, menhaden, croaker, striped killifish, bay anchovies, and silversides.


Photo by Kristyn Moore

Salvaged Items will Make Green Building even Greener

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is in the midst of the ultimate recycling project for its planned Brock Environmental Center at Pleasure House Point.  Construction plans call for using as many recycled or salvaged materials as possible to help the center meet the “Living Building Challenge” — a set of strict environmental standards that requires the facility to have “net-zero” impact on the environment. 

CBF staff, Hourigan Construction staff and CBF volunteers recently salvaged interior wood doors, cabinets and other materials from an old Hampton Roads Sanitation District building in Virginia Beach that will soon be demolished.  Photo by Andrea Moran/CBF

CBF staff, Hourigan Construction staff and CBF volunteers recently salvaged interior wood doors, cabinets and other materials from an old Hampton Roads Sanitation District building in Virginia Beach that will soon be demolished.  Rather than ending up in the landfill, these materials will be get a new life in CBF’s Brock Environmental Center.  Re-using these and other materials saves energy and natural resources that would typically go towards manufacturing and transporting new building materials.  Our facility will be greener than green!

Photo by Andrea Moran/CBF Staff 

Tree Transplanting and Site Activity

In the last few weeks you may have seen some changes at CBF’s property at Pleasure House Point.  In order to begin preparations for CBF’s Brock Environmental Center construction, we have been moving trees and shrubs from within the construction area to habitat restoration areas around the site.  We have accomplished this in two phases, the first of which worked with interested volunteers to move small trees and shrubs and the second using equipment to move larger trees.

The site has small live oaks and pines that were good candidates for moving with the help of volunteers.  These trees were small and in most cases not located in areas well suited for long-term growth.  In addition, there were numerous shrubs that were good candidates for transplant by hand as well.  In most cases these shrubs, commonly referred to as high tide bush, can be trimmed and transplanted with minimal care.

In order to give the larger live oaks the best chance of survival after their move, we have moved them using equipment commonly referred to as a tree spade.  The piece of equipment will allow for preserving as much of the root system of the tree as possible.  This is especially important given the sandy soils present at Pleasure House Point.

For more information about future volunteer events and any other questions you may have, please contact Christy Everett or Chris Moore at CBF’s Hampton Roads office at 622-1964 or at ceverett@cbf.org or cmoore@cbf.org.

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