CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Oct. 22, 2015 – The Elizabeth River Project, a nonprofit that leads environmental efforts along the Elizabeth River in Southern Virginia, will welcome local children to a new playground in Paradise Creek Nature Park, thanks in part to a donation from CITGO Petroleum Corporation.
The CITGO Terminal in Chesapeake donated $10,000 to “The Elizabeth River: A Kids’ Paradise” playground to support the construction of an outdoor drum set and encourage Chesapeake and Portsmouth families to experience and enjoy the restored river.  An estimated 200 students will visit the park each week on field trips led by historians and educators from the Elizabeth River Project, the Children’s Museum of Virginia and Norfolk Naval Shipyard, in addition to outside visitors.
The Elizabeth River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay and is known as the largest natural harbor in the world. The area was first explored by Captain John Smith in the early 1600s and is home to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the oldest Navy yard in the United States. The Elizabeth River is representative of the region’s rich ecological and maritime history. The Elizabeth River Project was founded in 1991 by concerned citizens committed to revitalizing the environmental health of the river.
Beginning in 2009, the Elizabeth River Project took on Money Point, one of the most contaminated areas of the river. Since then, nearly 36 million pounds of severe contamination, or “goo,” from former wood treatment plants in the area have been removed from the river bottom.
The Elizabeth River Project recognizes homes, schools and businesses that voluntarily reduce pollution and participate in wildlife habitat projects through its River Star rankings program. The CITGO Chesapeake Terminal has received a Model Level River Star, the highest level of pollution prevention and habitat support, annually since 2009.
“The CITGO Chesapeake Terminal has completed significant environmental projects, including the construction of a green roof on their Chesapeake office and loading rack, the conservation of wetlands and instillation of native plants, the voluntary reduction of VOCs, and the recruitment of others into our program,” said Pam Boatwright, River Star businesses program manager at the Elizabeth River Project. “CITGO has been an exemplary River Star with a variety of environmental efforts that are revitalizing the broader Elizabeth River.”
CITGO is dedicated to giving back to the communities it serves through support of local nonprofits like the Elizabeth River Project. The company’s donation to the new playground is part of this year’s environmental stewardship initiatives, such as CITGO Caring for Our Coast, which sponsors programs that boost natural habitat restoration and science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) education efforts.
“We at CITGO are excited to participate in a project that both restores a valued wetland and historical landmark and improves the lives of children through education and play,” said Rick Esser, CITGO vice president of supply and marketing. ”As part of its community efforts, our CITGO Chesapeake Terminal has been a strong supporter of the Elizabeth River Project, as well as other local organizations, to serve the community of Chesapeake.”

For more information on the Elizabeth River Project, please visit: To learn more about CITGO Caring for Our Coast and the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship, please visit: CITGO also encourages those interested to help raise awareness for wetland restoration by tweeting #plantadune on Twitter. Each Tweet using this hashtag plants a plug of dune grass on a virtual beach at and helps spread the word about environmental protection and restoration efforts. 

About the Elizabeth River Project
Begun in 1991 by four citizens around a kitchen table, the Elizabeth River Project has grown to become the best-known environmental group in America for practicing a model of collaboration rather than confrontation.  With a mission of restoring the Elizabeth River to the highest practical level of environmental quality through partnerships with business, government and citizens, Elizabeth River Project is noted for unique relationships, best illustrated through River Star Businesses.  The River Star Businesses program was started in 1997 for industries that voluntarily reduce toxics and create or conserved wildlife habitat.  Since then, River Stars have documented the reduction of 312 million pounds and the creation of conservation of 1,390 acres of wildlife habitat enhancement.

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit