Virginia Beach retirement community becomes area’s first ‘Pearl Neighborhood’

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – When it comes to taking care of the Lynnhaven River, the Atlantic Shores Retirement Community is a real “gem.”

Specifically, the community has been certified as South Hampton Roads’ first official “Pearl Neighborhood.”

Established by the Lynnhaven River NOW partnership, this special designation is given to residential communities that care for the environment and create programs that help restore and protect Virginia Beach waterways such as the Lynnhaven River.

More than 30 percent of Atlantic Shores residents have committed to make their residence a Pearl Home — pledging to live responsibly to help protect natural resources. Within their homes, they are installing programmable thermostats, sealing ductwork, using biodegradable products and reusable grocery bags, and switching to reusable water bottles.

Outside their homes, they are “scooping the poop,” replacing turf grass with mulched beds and native plants, reducing pesticides and fertilizers and installing personal rain barrels and rain gardens to reduce storm water runoff.

The rain barrels convert roof run-off into a water source used to irrigate courtyard gardens in Atlantic Shores’ Harborway Assisted Living and Seaside Health Center facilities.

Residents also plant and tend 65 garden plots within Atlantic Shores’ Victory Garden, and share the produce grown with the community at large.

The process of certification began in January 2018 with the support and direction of the Atlantic Shores Green Committee — a group of residents dedicated to making a positive impact on the local environment. After completing a comprehensive educational program, a series of initiatives were created for the community, followed by commitments by residents and staff to support them. The program was officially launched on May 31, with a celebration on the Atlantic Shores campus.

According to Atlantic Shores Green Committee spokeswoman Donna Hudgins, “We are thrilled to be the first retirement community in the area chosen for this important program. We’re passionate and committed, both as a group and as individuals, to do what we can to preserve our planet. This will only become more important as time goes on, so we know this legacy will be carried on by future Atlantic Shores residents.”

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