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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
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.
Mollusc Lecture on May 5, 2016!
Science in the Park is pleased to present -- Molluscs (snails, slugs, clams, oysters, squid, octopi, and their relatives): Their role in Art, Economics, Fashion, History, Literature, Music, Pop Culture, and more... on May 5 from 7-9 pm at the Nature Center/Park Headquarters (4001 Riverside Dr., Richmond, VA 23225)
Dr. Art Seidenberg is the speaker and he will bring many mollusca for examination. Space is limited; to register, email Anne Wright.
Our Animals are now on Facebook!
The game cameras in the James River Park System are catching park wildlife so often that we've created a Facebook page so that you can see the latest as these candid photos and videos become available. Check out Urban Wildlife JRPS on Facebook.
Coyote in the Park!
Have you been waiting for video proof of the coyote? We have it, finally caught on camera in January 2016. Check it out!
If the term "vernal pools" is new to you, they are pools of water in the woods or grasslands that appear in the late winter or spring but usually dry up as the summer heat progresses. Because they are ephemeral, they usually contain no fish, which means that amphibians and insects can deposit their eggs there with less fear of predation. Vernal pools do appear within parts of the James River Park System; please be careful and do not step on egg masses inside them!
If you are on Facebook, consider liking the page Vernal Pools VA to see some great photographs of what some of our state's pools are harboring now.
New ot the site in 2016 is our section on the urban forest. The trees in the James River Park System provide valuable services to us. The section will grow, with a lesson plan coming soon. Start by watching our video and learn how our JRPS trees are a critical part of our urban infrastructure. Visit the Urban Forest section.
New Audio Tours
Explore 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:
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.