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TCC Horticulture students give back at “Come to the Bay”

Cloudy skies and cold temperatures didn’t dampen the spirits of Horticulture students and faculty as they worked at “Come to the Bay.” The group volunteered at a planting event sponsored by the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Turfgrass Council Environmental Institute.

Andrea Tomlin, Horticulture department chair, and instructor Taylor Treadway led a group of nine TCC students as they planted American Beach Grass alongside the Lesner Bridge in Virginia Beach.

“This community service project was very rewarding,” Tomlin said. “We were thrilled to do our part to help protect, beautify and sustain our waterway landscapes in Hampton Roads.”

Participating students spent the morning hours of Valentine’s Day preparing the ground and planting the grasses. In total, 15,000 plants were added to the landscape to help with erosion control along the Bay.

“Not only do these grasses help beautify our beaches, but they are also vital to erosion control by serving as a natural defense against storm surges,” Tomlin said. “This grass helps build dunes along the beaches by extending a deep rhizome root system that holds onto the sand to keep it in place. Eventually, the grasses will fill in and reach a height of about two feet tall and can spread six to10 feet.” 

The community service event included a short kickoff program with remarks by Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer and an educational lunch with experts speaking about environmental and horticulture topics.