York River Group of Virginia Chapter of Sierra Club

Celebration of Local Candidates

The Sierra Club York River Group honored local political candidates from the recent Virginia state elections who were endorsed by the Sierra Club. The celebration was held on November 20, 2019 at Sandy Bottom Park in Hampton. The Virginia Senate candidates were: Monty Mason, Mamie Locke, and Herb Jones. House candidates were: Shelly Simonds, Martha Mugler, Mike Mullin, Jeion Ward, Cia Price, and Mark Downey. With the exception of Herb Jones and Mark Downey, who ran excellent campaigns, all won election or reelection.

We greatly appreciate all the candidates, who stand with the Sierra Club for a healthy environment!

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Endangered Species Act Under Attack!

Image of Eagle in Tree

The Sierra Club York River Group hosted a talk on the Endangered Species Act on October 16, 2019 at Sandy Bottom Nature Park. The speakers were Dr. Matthias Leu (Professor and Director of the Biology Graduate Program at William and Mary) and Delaney Costante (graduate student).

Dr. Leu is a Conservation Biologist. He and Ms. Costante are doing research on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), quantifying how threats facing species have been changing over time. The ESA was enacted in the U.S. in 1973, responding to fears that many species are facing extinction. Since that time, the ESA has been … Read the rest

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Discussion on Local Issues: Endview Plantation and Riverview Farm Park

On September 18, 2019, a roundtable discussion was held by the Sierra Club York River group at Sandy Bottom Park in Hampton. Three topics were originally scheduled, but only two were covered due to time. The two topics covered – Endview Plantation and Riverview Farm Park – are near and dear to many local environmentally-minded activists.

Endview Plantation is a local historical site at the northern end of Newport News. City Council member David Jenkins and James Lawson (with “Preserve Newport News History”) spoke about a proposed housing development behind Endview Plantation. There was also a short video with historian … Read the rest

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Limiting our Waste

image of members of panel sitting at table discussing recycling

On May 15, 2019, facilitator Cheryl Ferriera led a Sierra Club York River Group program on how we as individuals can curb our waste and make recycling more effective. Ms. Ferriera introduced three speakers from the local Hampton Roads government. Together, they covered gasification and biochar as a waste management tool, the China crisis and how it affects our recycling, the “Recycle Right Campaign” to educate citizens of York County, and taking personal responsibility to reduce waste.

The first speaker was Dan Baxter, Business Recycling Coordinator in the city of Newport News. He talked about the Stoney Run landfill, closed … Read the rest

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Solar Power for Schools and Non-Profits

Image of solar panels

With a wide array of local politicians, office-seekers, city planners, environmental advocates, and concerned citizens in attendance, the Sierra Club York river Group held an informative program on how to bring solar to Schools and Non-Profits on April 17, 2019. Two knowledgeable speakers educated the crowd.

John Luker, Chair of the Sierra Club Chesapeake Bay Group, talked about how the cost of solar has been in steep decline, and how cost-effective its installation can be. This is especially true for places like schools, churches, other non-profits, and businesses. The fossil fuel industries in the U.S. are feeling increasingly threatened by … Read the rest

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The Green New Deal

Image of speakers at the Green New Deal Program

The excitement and energy in the room was almost palpable. About 50 people from all around the Hampton Roads area – nearly standing room only – attended a special March 20 2019 Sierra Club York River Group program on “The Green New Deal.” A distinguished panel described bold new and ongoing efforts to combat climate change, climate injustice, and moneyed corporate interests.

Glen Besa (former Director of the VA Chapter of the Sierra Club) served as moderator. First, Lee Williams, co-chair of the Virginia Green New Deal, introduced the program. Motivated by the urgency of reversing the effects of imminent … Read the rest

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Program on Environmental Justice

Speaker standing talking about environmental Justice

The York River Group of the Sierra Club held a special program on February 20, 2019 at Sandy Bottom Nature Park. Gustavo Angeles, the Environmental Justice Program Coordinator for the VA Chapter of the Sierra Club, led a stimulating and educational group discussion covering the important topic of environmental justice.

Just what is environmental justice? The EPA’s website defines it as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys … Read the rest

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Solar Event: How to be a Solar Patriot and Why

Solar Patriot panel discussion


On Wednesday September 19, 2018, the York River Group of the Sierra Club held a series of solar-related talks at Sandy Bottom Nature Park. Three speakers entertained the group.


Erik Curren, author of the new book The Solar Patriot, believes that ordinary citizens have the right to produce and use their own solar power, which will help create a clean energy future. Erik is a councilman in Staunton, VA. Dressed in American revolutionary garb, he stressed that solar power is a fundamental right, and in the public interest. But – like King George III from the

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York County Coal Ash

Image of Sierra Club speaker

Speaker for Sierra Club

On Wednesday, May 16, the York River Sierra Club held an evening discussion at Sandy Bottom Park in Hampton Virginia focused on Coal Ash.  Coal ash is the toxic remains of coal burning in power plants. It is full of metals and chemicals that cause cancer, developmental disorders and reproductive problems. It poisons our water and kills fish and wildlife. Guest speakers were Dean Naujoks, of the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, and Mary-Stuart Torbeck, Senior Organizer of the VA Chapter Sierra Club. 

Mr. Naujoks is an expert and committed activist on coal ash issues and has had many years Read the rest

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Air Quality Discussion in Newport News

Old piles in Newport News VA

A special program was held at Pearl Bailey Library in Newport News on September 20, 2017, in the heart of zip code 23607, which is listed as one of the 25 zip codes in Virginia with the highest air pollution.

Program Participants included:
Dr. Erica Holloman – Scientific Advisor, Southeast CARE Coalition
Angela Harris – Coalition Coordinator, Executive Committee, Southeast CARE Coalition
Kendyl Crawford – Conservation Program Manager, Sierra Club VA Chapter
Mr. Allen Harville – Safety Chairman for the Steelworkers Local 8888 at the Newport News Shipyard

Many other local activists and community organizers also joined the discussion, which Read the rest

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