Open Enrollment & Voluntary Benefits

The open enrollment period for Henrico County’s core benefits (health, dental, STIP, flexible spending accounts) and voluntary benefits is coming soon! For benefit-eligible employees, Open Enrollment will be from October 1 to October 27, 2023, with coverage effective January 1, 2024.


We are excited to introduce TWO additional voluntary benefit offerings through our third-party administrator, Pierce Insurance Agency… Vision and Pet Insurance!


The Henrico County Employee Benefits Committee, in partnership with Pierce Insurance Agency, continually monitors your total benefits package to ensure access to the most cost-effective options available. Current voluntary benefit plans include Accident, Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity, Cancer, Identity Theft Protection, Legal Plan, and Life Insurance with Long Term Care. New for the 2024 plan year is the addition of Vision and Pet Insurance!


The supplemental plans provide financial protection with benefits paid directly to you regardless of any other insurance you may have.


You are encouraged to attend a voluntary benefits information session with Pierce Insurance Agency. During Open Enrollment, employees can schedule an appointment to meet one-on-one with a Pierce Insurance Agency benefits counselor to review the voluntary benefit plans and assist with enrollment. In late September, more information will be announced regarding registration and sign-up for individual meetings.


Visit for details.


There will be TWO Voluntary Benefits Information Sessions before the start of Open Enrollment. No sign-up is required to attend: 


Thursday, September 21, 2023

3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.                                          Eastern Government Center

                                                                                   Community Room

                                                                                   3820 Nine Mile Road


Thursday, September 28, 2023

3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.                                          Henrico Training Center

                                                                                   7701 E. Parham Road

                                                                                   Rooms 2029/2030


Stay Tuned for the Next Issue of the County Connection

The next issue, coming in October, will include more information about our core benefits, including medical, dental, and flexible spending. We will also update the employee website later this month (September) to include the new Open Enrollment Benefits and the current benefits.

Read More

Join us for a Healthy Eating Lunch & Learn Series

Healthy eating learning opportunities impart knowledge and skills to help employees choose and consume healthy foods and beverages.


Get answers to one of the most important questions you can ask yourself, how can I live the most extended, healthiest life possible? The Human Resources’ Fitness & Wellness Division has teamed up with Bon Secours Outpatient Nutrition to provide nutrition education programming to County employees in person and virtually. 


All nutrition sessions present contemporary scientific information on nutrition and disease prevention while building awareness of ways to preserve optimal lifetime health. From diabetes, emotional versus mindful eating, sports nutrition, macronutrients, and meal planning, you’ll go beyond the ‘fluff’ and explore how to make small and sustainable behavior changes to positively impact your nutritional health and overall wellness.


In case you missed the ‘Balancing Macronutrients’ class offered in July, you can view the whole presentation or just the slideshow online. Here is what your co-workers had to say about it:

I enjoyed the presenter’s style… the nutrition information was explained in a way that was not technical and easy to understand.  

This was great… I’m looking forward to the next class on Meal Planning.

I thought the class was very interesting and informative! The presentation was easy to understand, and she was obviously very knowledgeable and a good speaker.

The class was really good and what some of us needed. The information was very valuable, and I’m looking forward to the meal planning one. I am going to change some of the things I buy from now on.


Visit the Fitness & Wellness SharePoint site for a complete list of upcoming sessions

You can attend in person or virtually and register by emailing


Join us on August 24 for our next session all about Mastering Meal Planning!

Read More

Mastering Meal Planning

The Human Resources’ Fitness & Wellness Division has teamed up with Bon Secours Outpatient Nutrition to provide nutrition education programming to County employees in person and virtually. 

Visit the Fitness & Wellness SharePoint site for a complete list of upcoming sessions

You can attend in person or virtually and register by emailing

Read More

What’s All the Fuss About Native Plants?

In recent years, everyone from avid gardeners to those who like to fill a few flowerpots has noticed expanding areas in local nurseries for plants called “natives.” Those of us who keep up with gardening trends in the news have noticed increased articles that extoll the benefits of “less yard, more natives.” Some of us even see signs in our neighbors’ yards that signify “Native Plant Pollinator Garden” or “Native Plants Live Here.” So, what is all this fuss about native plants, and why do you keep hearing about them? A few key factors make these plants unique and, to some, indispensable. But before we consider the benefits of planting natives, let’s define what a native plant is and is not.

What is a native plant?

In simple terms, a native plant is one that occurred in the region before the time of the first English settlers. Native plants evolved with the climate, soil, and the fluctuations of the ecosystem they support. For example, our native honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) has bright pink flowers, is not too aggressive, and attracts hummingbirds and other pollinators. However, you may be more familiar with the honeysuckle vine with light yellowish flowers, which is actually an example of a nonnative plant (Lonicera japonica). Lonicera japonica is an invasive plant that can strangle and smother small trees and shrubs.  

What are the benefits of planting natives?

Because native plants evolved in certain regions (with local climate stressors), they need less water than nonnative plants and usually do not require fertilizer. In Virginia, we have native plants that do well with our clay soil while surviving the harshest of our summer days and the spontaneous freezing cold snaps we get in the winter. In gardens, native plants use fewer resources (from humans) to survive than beautiful English Roses trying to make it in a foreign land. In addition to these benefits, native plants tend to have longer and more robust root systems than some commonly used nonnative landscape plants. Turf grass is an example of one of our favorite shallow-rooted nonnatives. In the stormwater world (shout out to all the MS4 coordinators in the county), turf grass can be problematic because its shallow roots don’t create pathways in our dense clay soil. Stormwater from large and fast-moving storms doesn’t readily permeate the soil under turf. Conversely, a native plant meadow slows down water and increases the soil’s ability to absorb it. Native plants are good for watershed management.

Native plants support native wildlife.

Maybe the biggest (or at least the most fun) benefit of native plants is the fact that they support the animals and insects that make up our local ecosystems. Our local flora and fauna evolved together over time, so it makes sense that they support each other. If you visited the first annual native plant festival at Dorey Park last spring, you might have heard author and professor Doug Tallamy speak. 

One of his most cited studies involves cataloging the number of caterpillars it takes for a chickadee pair to rear their young. Shockingly, chickadees require between 6,000 to 9,000 caterpillars to feed their babies. Yikes! While some nonnative plants provide food for caterpillars, most native caterpillars only eat native plants. Native plants are critical to maintain our local food webs. If you like birds and want to support them, native plants are the way to go.  

Monarchs are in the news.

If you are familiar with the beautiful and striking monarch butterfly, you may have already realized the connection between native plants and native insects. The monarch butterfly was recently in the news when the International Union for Conservation of Nature added it to its list of endangered species. 

The monarch butterfly only lays its eggs on milkweed, which is the native plant that is host to its caterpillar. Since milkweed thrives on roadsides and field edges, which are often mowed or sprayed with pesticides, it is easy to see why the monarch population is dwindling. Therefore, planting native milkweed will support the existence of this striking insect.  

You can reap the rewards.

Certainly, there isn’t enough room in this article to explore all the wonders of native plants; there are, however, benefits to bringing these local stars into your space. It’s no secret that being outdoors and enjoying nature is good for our physical and mental health. Learning something new and knowing you are supporting our ecosystem adds a little spark to our busy days. Enjoying the plants in your space and observing the animals and insects that come along with them, can connect you to nature in ways you may not have thought of before. You may even download a free app (like Seek) that will help you identify plants or join a Land Lovers Series presentation to learn more.

You are invited!

We invite you to visit our new Native Plant Demonstration Garden, which is located on the left side of the Public Utilities Building in the Woodman Road Complex. While it is still in its infancy, you may benefit from stepping away from your desk to get a first-hand view of some of our pollinator friends in action. One of our co-workers recently asked, “When do the butterflies come?” Unfortunately, we must wait quite a bit longer for that. Last year we saw all the monarch action in late September and early October. Come by then, and you might see monarch caterpillars feed on milkweed, climb the building looking for a place to form their chrysalis, or even see a monarch emerge as an adult and dry its wings!  

More information: is a great resource to learn about native plants. There you will find free downloadable guides for most regions in Virginia. They also list nurseries in the area that sell native plants.

You can also visit the Virginia Native Plant Society at  

If in-person learning is more your style, visit the Plant Native! Festival at Crump Park on Saturday, October 21st, from 10 am – 1 pm. This festival will be presented by Keep Henrico Beautiful and Henrico County Recreation and Parks.

Read More

Eat Seasonally

Eating seasonally grown foods promotes health, supports local economies, and contributes to environmental sustainability. In addition, the advantage of aligning our diets with natural production cycles. Seasonal eating provides the freshest and most nutritious foods. Fruits and vegetables that ripen naturally and are harvested at the right time are richer in flavor, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients are crucial for maintaining a balanced diet and overall well-being.

Summer brings a seasonal abundance of delicious new foods and is the perfect time to introduce new fresh fruits and vegetables to the entire family. Try these four summer produce superstars:

  • Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries provide vitamin C and antioxidants that support immune systems and overall health. They’re also a good source of fiber – with raspberries leading the way at 8 grams of fiber per 1-cup serving.
  • Try buttery avocados by adding them to tacos, as a spread on grilled cheese sandwiches, or with eggs in the morning. They contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, vitamins E and C, and potassium.
  • Technically a fruit, tomatoes provide fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, and other important minerals. Available in various colors and sizes, their naturally high-water content makes tomatoes a hydrating choice. Slice tomatoes and serve with a bit of olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper. Add them to sandwiches or chop them up and toss them into salads and pasta dishes. Another fun idea – make your own fresh salsa.
  • Nothing says summer like a fresh slice of watermelon. This summer favorite is easy to eat and tastes great. With one of the highest water contents of any food, it’s great for keeping hydrated on scorching days. It is also packed with vitamin C and lycopene – a plant nutrient and antioxidant property. Lycopene is the pigment that gives red and pink fruits their color and is linked to health benefits ranging from heart health to protection against sunburns and certain types of cancers. Serve watermelon wedges for dessert, cut them into cubes and mix them into a fruit salad, or put watermelon chucks in the blender with ice, lime juice, and honey for a refreshing slushy drink.

As different fruits and vegetables come into season, you can explore new flavors by selecting seasonally grown produce as the main ingredient to diversify your meals. By making mindful choices about the foods you consume, you can enhance your well-being while positively impacting the local community. 

Read More

Anthem Corporate 5K

The Anthem Corporate Run is part 5k, part team building, and ALL FUN! Join Team Henrico for this post-work event that is ideal for bringing colleagues together, uplifting spirits, and engaging in some active enjoyment.  With a DJ providing the tunes, this occasion caters to all levels of activity, from avid runners – to joggers – to casual walkers.

2022 marked the first year since 2017 that Team Henrico participated in the event, and we had a blast!  Not only did everyone have a great time at the event but we reclaimed our rightful spot atop the leaderboard for the Military/Government division.  We are encouraging any permanent employee for Henrico to sign-up and help Team Henrico remain in the top spot in at least one of the divisions.  So, dust off your running/walking shoes and start getting some miles in because Thursday June 8th is quickly approaching!

Click here to register for the event and be automatically signed up to be on Team Henrico (use code TeamHenrico if prompted) AND receive the County discount ($20 off).  If you have any questions, please contact Joey Pacelli @ PAC037

Read More

Join Us for Henrico’s Life-long Wellness Fair

Henrico’s Life-long Wellness Fair: Taking Action To Live Well Now And To Prepare For The Unexpected.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 11 AM – 1 PM

Henrico Western Government Center, Administration Courtyard Fountain – rain back up first level of the parking garage

May is National Employee Health and Fitness Month and Older Americans Month. Both observances aim to improve the health of the workforce through all stages of employment and past retirement. Through initiatives and helpful programs and services, these campaigns encourage employees to make ‘healthy the norm” by cultivating sustainable life-long wellness action beyond May.

The Life-long Wellness Fair: Taking action to live well now and to prepare for the unexpected employee event is scheduled for Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 11 AM – 1 PM at the Henrico Western Government Center, Administration Courtyard Fountain (rain site: first level of the parking garage). 

The fair offers a variety of free health, fitness, and preparedness educational vendors such as

  • Blood pressure Screening
  • Free and Discounted gym memberships
  • Employee and community fitness and recreation programming
  • Virginia Extension Office, Keep Henrico Beautiful, HEART
  • Financial preparedness resources
  • Henrico’s Fire Marshall’s office and CARE
  • Bystander CPR, Safety, and AED
  • EngAge Advocate for the Aging & Eldercare resources
  • Wills/Power of Attorney/Probate

There will also be giveaways and much more!

Read More

Henrico’s Life-long Wellness Fair

Join us in the Western Administration Complex courtyard and learn about the advantages of living well and see all of the health and wellness resources available to you through the County.


Read More

Living Longer- the Blue Zone Mentality

According to world Blue Zone research, the longest-living people on earth eat a fiber-rich diet and rely on locally grown fruits and vegetables. What began as a National Geographic expedition to uncover the secrets of longevity evolved into discovering the five places around the world where people consistently live over 100 years old, dubbed the Blue Zones. Subsequent studies indicate only about 20% of how long the average person lives is dictated by our genes, whereas our lifestyle dictates the other 80%. National Geographic and the National Institute on Aging researchers found the five demographically confirmed, geographically defined areas with the highest percentage of centenarians – Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; and Okinawa, Japan. Besides having a large percentage of people that live to 100, the aging population also remains active well into their 80s and 90s and typically does not suffer the degenerative diseases common in most of the industrialized world.

The top lessons from the world’s Blue Zones on living a long, healthy life are to move naturally, have a purpose, be in the right tribe, and eat wisely. Moving naturally throughout the day – walking, gardening, doing housework – is a core part of the Blue Zones. Knowing why you wake up in the morning makes you healthier and happier and adds up to seven years of extra life expectancy. The Okinawans call it ikigai (pronounced e-key-guy) and the Nicoyans can it plan de vida. In the United States, the common term is purpose – to have intention. Finding your tribe supports human nature to search for belonging by looking for people who share commonalities or possess the traits we aspire to adopt. The world’s longest-lived people have close friends and strong social networks. The last lesson, eat wisely, combines attitudes toward food and consumption behaviors. People living in the Blue Zones areas stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full and eat their smallest meal in the early evening. They select vegetables, fruits, and whole grains or beans as the cornerstone ingredients of most meals while meats are eaten in small amounts. Finally, the enjoyment of moderate consumption of wine with friends and/or with food is widely practiced.

Creating a Blue Zones lifestyle is possible with focused intention. Moving more throughout the day can be as simple as walking daily. Finding meaningful work and intentionally aligning values to everyday actions are steps to living with purpose. When creating your tribe, looking for people ‘instantly recognizable” or who feel “deeply familiar” is a very Western idea. The downside is pushing to the side the person you don’t feel an instant affinity with. Consider including in your tribe those you resonate with and those who challenge you to see the world in a new way. Most Americans find adding fruits to their meals easy, but we struggle with adding vegetables. Add a salad. Salads are a great way to add a good amount of nutrient-rich vegetables to your diet. Let’s start with three different salad recipes from EatingWell that will fill you up and delight your taste buds.


Italian Chopped Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato and White Bean Salad

Lemony Lentil Salad with Feta

Read More