The James River Park System - Richmond, VA

Science in the Park

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Plants

The plants and animals that live in and visit the James River Park System present year-round opportunities for your observation and study. A wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic habitats are woven throughout the park, and it still delivers surprises – such as Richmond City’s first documentation of a vernal pool crustacean, and sightings of an ancient species of fish, thought to be long-extirpated from the James River! Keep your eyes open and cameras ready as you roam the park in search of its flora and fauna ...

Field Botany

Newt and Jo in a speedboatNewton Ancarrow (1920-1991) was a boat builder who located his business on the south bank of the James River in Richmond in 1962. In 1965, he opened a large boat ramp for his business and public use, and quickly discovered the river's poor water quality. Ancarrow was enraged when oily, polluted water and sewage coated his ramp and the bottom of his boats after a heavy rain. He began a crusade to force city, state, and federal authorities to clean up the James, the legacy of which still resonates with us today. Ancarrow's Landing is his original boat dock in the James River Park System and was named in his honor.

As Ancarrow prowled the banks of the James looking for raw sewage outlets, he discovered wild flowers and began learning photography and botany. He knew he could persuade people to his conservation cause with beautiful images of flowers. He photographed all parts of the plants, and photographed them in all seasons. Ancarrow was a popular speaker on the topics of restoration and conservation of the James River. He developed Flower Show #2, with over 300 images, lengthy narrative to describe each flower, and a sound recording of his talk. The digital archive is a presentation of Flower Show #2, along with other content from the Ancarrow archive.

gold arrow Visit the Ancarrow Online Digital Archive, presented by VCU Libraries in conjunction with the VCU Rice Rivers Center and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

gold arrow Explore the Archive

gold arrow Related articles:

wildflowers, ancarrow's notes


Plants of the Rock Pools

rockpool plantsPlants that thrive in and around rock pools are uniquely adapted for their unusual and challenging setting.

gold arrow Explore these fascinating specimens with our Plants of the Rock Pools guide.



The plants and animals that live in and visit the James River Park System present year-round opportunities for your observation and study. A wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic habitats are woven throughout the park, and it still delivers surprises – such as Richmond City’s first documentation of a vernal pool crustacean, and sightings of an ancient species of fish, thought to be long-extirpated from the James River! Keep your eyes open and cameras ready as you roam the park in search of its flora and fauna ...


Field Botany

Each summer Dr. Dianne Jennings and Jill Reid, Assistant Professors of Biology at VCU, lead a course in field botany. Students participate in team-based instructor-led fieldwork, photographing and filming specimens in the James River Park System, and then posting their findings as an online field guide.

gold arrow To explore the various plant specimens documented, visit their online field guide.