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The Blue Heron Project

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by Gail Clifford MD (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer and photographer traveling the world, often following my daughter. Visit our site at and follow us on Instagram @ABLETravelPhoto
Published May 17th 2022
Chesapeake, Virginia, Blue Heron, Public Art, City Hall, The Chesapeake jewel
"The Chesapeake Jewel

A community's public art tells you a lot about what people value. Public art contributes to the area's beautification and can often be combined while supporting an important cause, in the case of the Blue Heron Project, education.

Chesapeake, Virginia, Blue Heron, Public Art, City Hall, exterior
The Blue Heron Outside City Hall

While visiting Chesapeake, Virginia, we had the pleasure of touring the Great Bridge Lock Park on the Elizabeth River filled with blue heron sculptures along the waterway. From the park, you can watch boats, up to twenty at a time, pass through the lock that opens at the top of the hour (during the day).

Located along the Intracoastal Waterway, this is where saltwater from the Elizabeth River and freshwater from the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal mix as the lock system does its job propelling vessels to their next location.

According to the Visit Chesapeake Virginia Visitor's Bureau and website, the City Council adopted the Blue Heron as the City of Chesapeake's Official Symbol in 2006. Since then, two herons are visible at City Hall (one indoor, one outside), with several more along this waterway and more to come.

Chesapeake, Virginia, Blue Heron, Public Art, City Hall, The Chesapeake jewel
The latest Blue Heron at the Park

Each blue heron stands six feet tall and is sponsored by an individual or organization. Check both sides of the heron (not all of the depictions are replicated). Funds raised are used for education initiatives.

Chesapeake, Virginia, Blue Heron, Public Art, City Hall, ADventure Sport Fishing
Adventure Sport Fishing in Coastal Virginia

Research for this article taught me that the Blue Heron, in North American native tradition, stands for self-reliance. The legs indicate the need to stand on one's own, no massive pillars are needed. The ability to evolve is easy to see within Chesapeake, a relatively young city especially within the Commonwealth of Virginia, established in 1963.

Chesapeake, Virginia, Blue Heron, Public Art, City Hall, Pier, Surf, beach, waves
Pier and Surf Blue Heron

One of the pivotal battles of the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Great Bridge, happened in this area as did some Civil War battles, with an anchor present on site. It's a lovely place to visit.

For more information, contact:
The Blue Heron Project
Barbara O. Carraway, Chairman
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