Museum’s Environmental Initiatives at center of Congressman’s Visit
Newport News, VA (April 26, 2021) – In the spirit of Earth Day, the Virginia Living Museum welcomed Congressman Bobby Scott, for a VIP Environmental Tour of the Virginia Living Museum campus on Friday, April 23, 2021. Congressman Scott toured areas focused on environmental exhibits including the Goodson Living Green House, Holt Native Plant Conservatory, Floating Wetland, and the Coastal Plain touch tank where he joined families to learn about whelk, hermit crabs, and how horseshoe crabs may have helped conquer COVID19.
The Virginia Living Museum Goodson Living Green House, named in honor of the George Royden Goodson, Jr. Family is an environmental education center. Homeowners, architects and contractors see a variety of green techniques and products used to build and maintain an earth-friendly home. The exhibit demonstrates a green roof, alternative wall and insulation systems, passive heating, and solar and geothermal heating and cooling options, all in a building made of salvaged lumber and wood-like siding made from recycled paper. The museum’s Living Green House built in 2009 is the first of its kind in Virginia and one of the first anywhere in the United States.
The Holt Native Plant Conservatory and Children’s Garden, named for Museum founders Mary Sherwood Holt and her late husband Quincy, enables the Museum horticulture program and garden education programs. It expands the propagation of native plants for the Museum’s bi-annual Native Plant Sale. The Conservatory has more than 830 square feet of plant propagation, greenhouse and horticulture storage space. It is used to grow large plant material for natural exhibits, native gardens on the 23 acre campus, propagate hard-to-find ornamental native trees and shrubs, and to experiment with propagation methods for rare and endangered native plant species.
“The abundant green initiatives on this amazing campus in the heart of Newport News make it a beacon in the community. The Museum’s impact was well displayed for Congressman Scott.” said Rebecca Kleinhample, Executive Director. “We learn together here and share ways to be better stewards of our one planet. The collective health of humans, animals and our shared environment is embedded in every aspect of the Museum’s daily practices.”
The Floating Wetland, built at the Katie & Tripp Spencer Dock, by high school and college volunteers is a teen-led environmental stewardship action project on Deer Park Lake. This NOAA funded opportunity is designed to address carbon sequestration, create a new sustainable habitat to increase the biodiversity found in the lake, and to collect litter before it becomes local and global marine debris. Teens are actively engaged in weekly water quality data collecting so they can directly measure how they are helping to improve wetland habitats for native species.
Congressman Scott joined families at the Coastal Plain Touch Tank to learn about whelk, hermit crabs, and the Atlantic horseshoe crab’s blue blood. The lysate, uniquely found in the roughly 450 million year old species blood cells, detects bacterial endotoxins and is used to ensure surgical and vaccine sterility with a greater than 90% accuracy.
The Virginia Living Museum is a leader in the use of natural living exhibits (animals, plants, marine life, reptiles, amphibians, and birds) to present its mission—connecting people to nature through educational experiences that promote conservation. An independent 501c3 organization, the Museum is a successful public/private partnership with the City of Newport News and all guests. Accredited by both the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Museums, the Museum’s high standards are its hallmark, as only fourteen institutions share this designation in the country. It is a certified Virginia Green attraction dedicated to environmentally friendly practices. Located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News (I-64, exit 258-A) it is open 9 to 5 daily.
All COVID-19 safety guidelines are enforced. Masks and social distancing is required. For more information visit thevlm.org or call 757-595-1900. You can also find the Museum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.