Tom & Melodie Middlebrooks Volunteer to Lead Two Great Programs All Summer Long
On a late Thursday evening, a small child runs up to volunteer, Melodie Middlebrooks, and shouts, "I found a mermaid's purse!" while a teenager adorns herself with a whelk necklace found in the surf andtakes a selfie on the beach. Later in the evening, the same child gasps in wonder as she looks throughTom Middlebrook'stelescope to gaze at the starsfor the first time and the teenager suddenly wishes she hadpaid attentionto the astronomy unit during science class.
For Virginia State Park volunteers, Tom and Melodie Middlebrooks, moments like these during the Thursday nightSunset Beach Stroll" and "Stargazing" programs, remind them of the joyous wonder each child can experience in the outdoors.
You can take photos of the sun setting over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel
from the park's shoreline
During Melodie's "Sunset Beach Stroll"learn whata"mermaid's purse"is, why horseshoe crabs have blue blood, if the pirate Blackbeard hid his treasure nearby, and how the Chesapeake Bay was formed by millions of years ago. Tom's "Stargazing" program introduces visitors to the delights of the night sky and how to identify summer constellations.
One of the unique things about First Landing State Park's Chesapeake Bay shoreline is that it is oriented north and is one of the only beaches in the area where you can take a walk along the beach and watch the sunset to the west so grab your camera and bug spray and head to the park. Tom and Melodie have been volunteering at the park for over 20 years. They know the ins and outs of summer nights on the beach and the one main thing they want you to do when you come to their programsis "Bring some bug spray!"
Tom and Melodie Middlebrooks have volunteered for over 20 years
The "Sunset Beach Stroll" meets at the Gazebo behind the Chesapeake Bay Center and has three parts–a touch table/show-n-tell; a stop on the boardwalk for a quick talk about the Bay;and a stroll on the beach to find your own treasures.
The "Stargazing" program meets at the Amphitheater on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay Center behind the campstore and visitors can come and go as they like. You are welcome to bring your own telescope, a smartphone with a stargazing app, or really strong binoculars.
These back-to-back, come-n-go programs are a great family friendly event where you can get outdoors insand andthe surf under the stars and the sun.
A rare find on the beach, some visitors have found whole whelk shells
Both of these programs are on Thursday nights. The"Sunset Beach Stroll" usuallystarts between 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. depending on the sunset time and "Stargazing" usually startsbetween 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. depending on the conclusion timeof the "Sunset Beach Stroll" program.
You can callFirst Landing State Parkat 757-412-2300 to find out the exact time, but you can also show up early and buy some bug spray at the campstore if you forget yours. The campstore also sells cold drinks, snacks, and souvenirs.