Become a Champion River Star Home
As a River Star Home, you’ll soon want to do more than the first 7 steps. Here is your opportunity to do extra to help the Elizabeth River and become a Champion River Star Home in the process! Champion Homes will receive an invitation to our annual River Star Homes event, and one Champion Home will be selected by a peer review committee to be the Hall of Fame River Star Home. Get started on your gold ribbon today!
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Champion River Star Homes will complete at least 5 of these activities/projects:
- Plant a native plant (let us know which one(s) you planted). They need less water and fertilizer and provide wildlife habitat. Download our Wildlife Habitat Guide here
- Don’t use chemical pesticides or herbicides. Use only natural pesticides and herbicides to keep toxics from washing into the river and harming fish
- Pick up litter regularly. Discarded trash is detrimental to wildlife.
- Add a bird bath or bird house to your yard. Help create habitat for the vanishing song birds of the “Atlantic Flyaway!”
- Minimize use of your garbage disposal or remove it. Disposals send excess nutrients to the river (sewers can’t remove this waste.)
- Use reusable bags and water bottles. Plastic bags are found in the stomachs of 25% of shorebirds.
- Recruit a new River Star Home. Clean the river faster, with help!
- Volunteer with River Star Homes events or related programs that help clean up the river.
- Report photos of wildlife sightings or river conditions to the Elizabeth River Project Facebook or email them to us.
- Raise your mower blades to at least 3” to help shade out weeds and grow grass with deep, healthy roots.
- Only water as needed – about 1” a week during growing season to save money and to use only what your soil can actually absorb.
- Wash your car at a car wash that recycles the water instead of on your driveway to help reduce sediment and nutrient runoff into the river.
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn and mulch leaves as a free and natural way to feed your lawn.
- Keep the area around your storm drain and gutters clear of leaves, grass clippings, and other debris to keep them from going directly into the river.
Champion River Star Homes will complete at least 3 of these projects/activities:
- Replace a portion of your lawn with native plants. They need less water and fertilizer and provide wildlife habitat. Download our Wildlife Habitat Guide here
- Plant or conserve a “buffer” along your shoreline. If you’re in Norfolk or in the Eastern Branch area, find special offers on Shoreline Plantings here.
- Participate in oyster monitoring or growing. These natural filters were once abundant enough to clean the bay in a few days. Help bring them back. Contact us or visit www.cbf.org
- Install a rain barrel. Any rain barrel helps. If you’re in Norfolk or in the Eastern Branch area, find special offers on rain barrels here.
- Plant a rain garden. If you’re in Norfolk or in the Eastern Branch area, find special offers on rain barrels here.
- Use an electric or push mower. Air pollution causes as much as a third of the excess nitrogen in the river…and gas mowers emit more pollution than cars!
- At least once a week, commute by foot, bike, carpool, or mass transit. More information at www.gohrt.com or www.bikenorfolk.org .
- Get your soil tested. Save money by identifying your nutrient needs and reducing excess fertilizer into the river.
- Compost leaves, grass clippings, and/or appropriate food waste. Reduce the amount of waste you send to landfills and make great non-chemical food for your lawn and garden.
- Recruit at least 2 new River Star Homes. Clean the river faster, with help!
- Properly dispose of hazardous waste – CFLs, batteries, paint to prevent them from entering and damaging the environment.
- Replace concrete or asphalt with pervious pavers. Help rainwater soak into the ground instead of running into the river
- Redirect downspout away from pavement or sewer and toward a garden bed. Save money on water and help reduce runoff into the river.