The James River Park System - Richmond, VA

Science in the Park


Science in the Park provides science-focused educational materials about the geology, habitats, and flora and fauna of the James River Park System in Richmond, VA.

We hope to enrich the Park experience for local and regional school systems, communities, visitors and regular users of the park through web-based, self-directed explorations, guides, videos, and lesson plans. Only when people know something can they love it; only when people love something will they cherish and protect it.
Join our iNaturalist team and upload your photos and observations to our James River Park project on »

photo of underwater

Rock Pools
Urban Forest

Our project has been funded by ALTRIA. It is a collaborative effort between Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rice Rivers Center, Department of Biology, Ralph White, the Friends of the James River Park, the City of Richmond’s James River Park System, and many, many other talented and knowledgeable individuals.


Take a hike! And share with your Master Naturalist chapters and botany friends:

Botany in the Flood Zone!

Explore the riverside and floodplain habitats this Halloween with John Townsend, Botanist with DCR’s Natural Heritage Program. Our James River Park System sprawls along the Fall Line – the dynamic and ever-changing area that Richmond was built on. The James is an agent of force and renewal in this area, with plants at rivers’ edge adapted to stressful, flood-scoured habitats and those of the floodplain thriving in the rich blanket of nutrients the James lays down. Human activity and floods have had their impacts, but the flood zone contains much for the curious naturalist. This botanical walk will also touch on bryophytes, a group not ordinarily noticed or explored!

  • WHERE: Pony Pasture parking lot, 7310 Riverside Drive, Richmond VA, 23225
  • WHEN: Saturday, October 31, 2015
  • TIME: 9 am to noon
  • BRING: Camera or iPhone, binoculars
  • REGISTER: Contact Anne Wright at to sign up.

New Animals Caught on Camera!

See our game camera project in the Animals section -- we've added two new animals. In August 2015 we added videos of wild turkeys and Eastern cottontail rabbits. Check them out!

New Audio Tours

audio tour screen shotExplore the secrets of the James River Parks' unique geology with these new smart phone audio tours. Former James River Park Manager Emeritus Ralph White narrates these guided tours of the North and South bank. Follow along on your mobile device, guided by live mapping. Read the Times Dispatch article about the tours, and check them out yourself:

headphone icon Take the North Tour or the South Tour.

And don't miss the chance to take the tour with its creators: Enjoy the Belle Isle North GeoTour sound walk with Vaughn Garland, Ralph White and Anne Wright, on Thurs, Aug 20 from 6-7:30 pm. Bring your smart phone, ear buds or headphones and meet at the Tredegar St parking lot at 5:45. South GeoTour sound walk date TBA.

iNaturalist Project Continues to Grow

Become part of a worldwide team of outdoor lovers as we photograph and record the plants and animals of James River Park on iNaturalist, a website that is creating a "living record of life on Earth" Your digital photographs and sound file records will document the species in the Park, but don't worry if you are not an expert in photography or species identification. Beginners welcome and encouraged, and this is a great resource for teachers!

Check back for upcoming training.

Science in the Park Video in RVA Environmental Film Festival

The latest Science in the Park video on blueback herring and American shad spawning in our great river was a runner up selection in the 2015 RVA Environmental Film Festival and was shown on the big screen in February 2015.