Mary Reid Barrow Recognized as First Recipient of Wildlife Advocate Award

Monday, January 27, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – On Friday, January 24, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation kicked off the 10th anniversary of its Winter Wildlife Festival and announced the first Wildlife Advocate Award given to Mary Reid Barrow and named in her honor. The festival, held each January and headquartered at the Princess Anne Recreation Center, is a weekend-long celebration that brings together local professionals, wildlife advocates, and budding nature enthusiasts for a common goal of engaging in local wildlife recreational opportunities. The award emerged as a way to honor people who not only make the festival successful, but who also make Virginia Beach a great place for nature every day.

Mary Reid Barrow captivated and educated Virginian-Pilot readers for over 40 years with her columns on nature, sustainability, and healthy living. When the Winter Wildlife Festival began 10 years ago, she became one of its biggest champions and helped it grow to what it is now. She was unanimously chosen by the Winter Wildlife Festival planning committee as the first honoree and namesake. As Walter Camp from the Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Foundation put it, "Without her, most of us would know nothing about our local wildlife; she helps those of us who are just curious become people who are in the know."

The award was presented at the keynote event Friday evening at the Zeiders American Dream Theater accompanied by a proclamation by City of Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer. The award will now be given annually to someone who exemplifies the model of stewardship and conservation in Virginia Beach and works to educate citizens and encourage more sustainable and eco-conscious practices that aid the preservation and appreciation of all wildlife and all natural areas.

For more about the Winter Wildlife Festival, visit​.

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About Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation strives to promote healthy lifestyles and protect the City's coastal environment, as well as to ensure all residents – regardless of their physical, social and economic circumstances – can access Parks & Recreation programs. The department's vision is to be the national leader in providing enriching and memorable lifelong experiences. Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is accredited by CAPRA, the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association. For more information, visit or call (757) 385-1100 (TTY: 757-711 Virginia Relay). Sign up for Parks & Rec email newsletters at Find us on Facebook at



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