THE STATE OF THE JAMES RIVER HAS IMPROVED!
For the first time since the James River Association started publishing its biennial "State of the James" report, the condition of our country's founding river has merited a B-minus grade. Not only that, but also the river's quality will probably meet its 2017 Chesapeake Bay clean-up plan goals. It's clear that Virginia's investments in our environment are bearing fruit, especially in the area of controlling wastewater pollution. Of course, there is more to do, and we all have a share in this enterprise. Read more here: www.jamesriverassociation.org/stateofthejames/soj.pdf
A FUN WAY TO SUPPORT THE FRIENDS
The Midlothian Friends Meeting (Quakers) have selected the Friends of the James River Park as the beneficiary of proceeds from sales at their thrift store, the Thrifty Quaker, during the month of November. (Each month the store raises funds to support the work of mostly local charities.)
Please consider a donation of gently used household items or clothing to the store and plan a shopping trip there this month. Location: 13567 Midlothian Turnpike at the corner of Coalfield Rd., Midlothian VA 23113 (corner of the 'L'-shaped shopping center).
INAUGURAL SEASON OF OUTDOOR ADVENTURE & ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS
This past summer, two park staff members launched the inaugural season of outdoor adventure and environmental education programs for the JRPS. Designed to improve the quality of access to the park for city residents, these programs paid special attention to low-income individuals who face greater obstacles to enjoying outdoor recreation opportunities. The staff ran adventure camps for children in 12 city community centers during the week, incorporating environmental education lessons and exposing the participants to as many different areas of the park as possible.
Adults engaged in such activities as "Salamander Salutations," a weekly outdoor Yoga practice which has transitioned inside to the Reedy Creek headquarters building for the winter months. Also enjoyed were Thursday evening whitewater kayak clinics. Weekends were devoted to family-oriented programs, including the very fun-filled "paddle and potluck picnic" on a sandy island. A total of 700 people were involved in these outdoor recreation and environmental science activities between June and September.
LOOKING FOR SOME GOOD ENVIRONMENTAL FILMS
If you are a filmmaker or know someone who is, the RVA Environmental Film Festival will be showcasing local and national films next February 1-7 at several locations. As always, this event will be free and open to the public. Follow up here: www.rvaenvironmentalfilmfestival.com/
TWO ORGANIZATIONS OF INTEREST TO US NATURE LOVERS
A project within the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is the Natural Heritage Program. The focus is "science-based conservation to protect Virginia's native plant and animal life and the ecosystems upon which they depend." You can visit the Facebook page or go to the website to learn more: www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/. A nonprofit that may be new to some of our readers is the Virginia Environmental Endowment, whose mission is "to improve the quality of the environment by using its capital, expertise and resources to encourage all sectors to work together to prevent pollution, conserve natural resources, and promote environmental literacy." In May of this year, the VEE announced grants of over $240,000 to eligible nonprofits whose values and objectives align with this mission. Read more here: www.vee.org/.
FUNDS FOR ENVIRONMENT PROJECTS
Recently, a number of grant recipients received $3.2 million--which they are required to match--to fund efforts to restore the health of streams and the Chesapeake Bay. A total of $7.4 million will cover 12 projects undertaken by universities, local governments, and such environmental groups as Maymont and the James River Association. Learn more at: www.richmond.com/outdoors/article_5a8934b3-1ba7-5959-a9d4-256f5b11f35c.html
SOME PARK INVENTORY
In case you haven't seen them, the JRPS now has two water fountains, one in the Reedy Creek parking lot and one at the entrance to the North Bank parking lot.
Additionally, there are now five bike repair stations in the park: at the top of the 21st St. entrance, in the Reedy Creek parking lot, at the bike skills park on Belle Isle, along the Capital Trail at Great Shiplock Park, and on the western side of Brown's Island.
JROC Volunteer Effort | Saturday, November 21, 9 a.m.-noon
This month volunteers will return to the same spot as in October: the western summit of Belle Isle. Plan to meet there by taking any path to the top of the island and walking to the western end. Please bring work gloves and a water bottle. In order to accommodate more than one bicycle and/or hiker at a time, the boardwalk demolished last month will be rebuilt during this volunteer activity.
Almost any Saturday you have free time, you can help keep the James River watershed clean by going to www.meetup.com/RVA-Clean-Sweep and finding a location that needs your strong back and warm heart.
Your green keeps us green!
Research proves what we already know: our park makes us happier! All the more reason to support it! Read about the benefits you can receive from a visit to the park at www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25682368.
And think about supporting our park with a visit to: www.jamesriverpark.org/be-a-friend/support-the-park.php where you can:
- Become a member
- Make a donation
- Get a park license plate
- Buy a T-shirt
- Contribute to the Preservation & Protection Fund
AROUND THE PARK AND RIVER
Virginia Climate Fever | Wednesday, November 11, 7 p.m.
Steve Nash, Environmental Research Scholar at the University of Richmond, will present on "How Global Warming Will Transform our Cities, Shorelines & Forests" at the Sierra Club Falls of the James Group meeting. Free. Jepson Alumni Center, University of Richmond, 28 Westhampton Way, 23173.
Guided Hike | Saturday, November 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Naturalist Mark Battista will take participants on an exploration of the 262-acre Brown & Williamson Conservation Area owned by Chesterfield County along the James River. Traveling about 4 miles for almost the entire boundary, this hike will include a vernal pool along the southern border, Big Hollow, a stream, and a bluff above the James River. Meet at the parking lot in Henricus Park/Dutch Gap Conservation Area (251 Henricus Park Rd) to van-pool down to the site. Free but reserve your spot by contacting Jane Myers (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 804-745-3110.
Looking for more events and activities?
There are more and more things happening in the park! The JRPS global calendar is your go-to source to find where and when the events and activities you enjoy are happening in the park. Check the schedule at: www.jamesriverpark.org/calendar.