CYTs Head to Portsmouth

The second Conservation Youth Team Event of the summer occurred on Wednesday, August 8. The Virginia Zoo’s group of 41 CYTs traveled to the Elizabeth River Project’s Paradise Creek Nature Park. The park, located in Portsmouth, is an 11-acre, restored urban river and wetland habitat that is open to the public.

The CYTs began their day at the park by learning about climate change and sea level rise in the Hampton Roads area. The team rotated through stations where they tested the water quality of the river, determined the amount of carbon stored in trees, and learned about the causes and effects of sea level rise through demonstrations from the Elizabeth River Project.

After lunch, the CYTs began the service-learning portion of their day. They started by gathering soil samples to determine the characteristics of soil in the park. The CYTs then removed invasive plant species, planted native plants and mulched the area to slow the growth of invasive plants in the park. Finally, they had some time to walk the two miles of trails and explore the park before returning to the Zoo.

The Elizabeth River Project does a lot of great work in our community to improve the health of the Elizabeth River and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the CYTs were eager and excited to have helped make a difference by working with them. Everyone who participated had a great time learning about climate change and what can be done to help local habitats like Paradise Creek Nature Park!

If you would like more information about the Elizabeth River Project, please check out their website at