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Earth Day Events and Fish Festival This Weekend
  
Join us at Capital Ale House Downtown Friday, April 22nd for UNPLUG: An Earth Day Event. Sierra Nevada is sponsoring this with Cap Ale from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. We'll be there with other environmental groups, spreading the word about the JRPS and letting people know how they can help take care of it.
  
Bigger and better and greener than ever, Earth Day Richmond will spread out along Hull St. between 1st and 4th Streets in Manchester this Saturday, April 23rd from noon til 7 p.m.  Lots of children's activities, food, music, and environmentally cool good times will be had. Admission is free! We'll be at the Fish Festival area, near the Floodwall, being all friendly and handing out JRPS license plate applications and selling Ralph White's informative park pamphlets and such. Find out more about Earth Day.
  
Earth Day & Fish Festival Floodwall & 14th St. Bridge
Saturday, April 23rd  12-7 (though our table will be there only until 5)
  
River Heroes Announced

 

The Boathouse and Friends of James River Park are pleased and proud to announce that Mike Ostrander of Discover the James, Passages Adventure Camp, and Seven Hills Middle School for Boys are 2011 River Heroes!!! 
  
The River Heroes will receive a $100 gift certificate to The Boathouse, a raft trip for two from Riverside Outiftters, and a year's membership to FOJRP along with an invitation to our May 22nd picnic. Thanks so much to everyone who nominated all of the wonderful candidates and to Riverside Outfitters and The Boathouse for their generosity. It was humbling to read of the good works so many people are doing for the river and park. Here's some of what impressed us so about our heroes:
  

One Friday a month, rain or shine, some 60 boys aged 10 to 13 plus faculty from Seven Hills School spend a full school day "a River Day" at Reedy Creek in the James River Park System. They've been doing it now for ten years.

The boys attend a series of outdoor classes and volunteer in shifts with Peter Bruce of the James River Park System to help maintain the Park by mulching trails, removing invasive plants, clearing brush, and tending a butterfly garden. Over a decade of River Days, 10,200 volunteer hours have been performed by approximately 600 boys.

 

 
These students have a most unusual opportunity to spend all day in the Park, 32 times over their middle school years, gaining an ease and awareness of living in the outdoors that is increasingly rare among the overscheduled younger generations. And with this awareness comes the increased probability that these young men will want to conserve and protect the James River for future generations.
  

Mike Ostrander makes 100% of his living on the James River running a very innovative business called Discover the James. His business is people's avenue into the world of the James River around Richmond which runs a combination of programs and activities on the history, wildlife, and fishing in the James. Mike provides four different river tours - Bald Eagle, Wildlife, Civil War and Captain John Smith & Virginia Indians - all offering people different ways to discover and learn about the river.

His fishing program is just as ground-breaking. The kids program is more than just about fishing. Exploring the river is a huge part of the experience. For example, before any kids can fish they have to find a certain waterbug that lives under rocks along the shoreline. These waterbugs do not tolerate pollution and will either move or die if the water is not clean. Once the bugs are found the kids know the water is safe to fish, swim and explore.· All fish caught are gently released. No barbed hooks are ever used.

Mike's got a bumper sticker on his car that simply says, "I live in the James River." He makes a case every day that more of us should do the same.

 

Each summer, Passages Adventure Camp meets weekdays on Belle Isle in downtown Richmond and teaches skills required for kayaking and rock climbing. In addition to outdoor skills, girls and boys take away knowledge of environmental awareness, how to, “ leave no trace†, the importance of recycling, and essential green strategies to protect our river for future generations. The children and camp staff  make it a habit to pick up trash everyday, and the presence of children and young adults using the park in healthy ways sets a positive atmosphere in the park.

Passages Adventure Camp is a licensed concessionaire of James River Park, helps maintain the park, and promotes a positive, healthy atmosphere. It donates a percentage of its gross revenue to the Enrichmond Foundation for city parks and urban recreation programs. In 2010, over $25,000 was donated to the foundation. Over $9,000 was donated in camp scholarships to children who attended camp for free or at a reduced rate.

Richmond Slave Trail Well-marked
Several members of Friends of James River Park took part in the solemn and celebratory unveiling of 17 interpretive markers along the 2.5 mile Richmond Slave Trail Sunday, April 10, 2011. Park Manager Ralph White led the litany for those gathered at the second marker, The Mechanics of Slavery.
  
The Slave Trail begins at the Manchester Docks area just west of Ancarrow's Landing, in the easternmost part of the James River Park System, crosses the James River on the Mayo Bridge and winds around Shockoe Bottom. Near the end of the two hour ceremony at the Lumpkin's Jail site, Jeannie Welliver, Slave Trail Commission Project Manager, lauded city of Richmond Parks & Rec employees, Ralph White, Nathan Burrell, and Peter Bruce for their tireless work taking care of and promoting the slave trail for 18 years with virtually no budget. We salute them as well for keeping a crucial part of Richmond's and the nation's history safe until the city was ready to acknowledge it properly.
  
Friends of James River Park
PO 4453
Richmond, Virginia 23220