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2011 River Heroes Celebrated

May 11, 2011 | River Hero

The Boathouse and Friends of the James River Park announced the 2011 River Heroes!

Seven Hills Middle School for Boys — 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. They’ve been doing it now for ten years. The boys attend a series of outdoor classes and volunteer in shifts 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 providing them with an ease and awareness of living in the outdoors that is increasingly rare among the overscheduled younger generations.

Mike Ostrander — As owner of Discover the James, Mike makes 100% of his living on the James River. His business runs a combination of programs and activities on the history, wildlife, and fishing offering people different ways to discover and learn about the river. His ground-breaking kids fishing program includes exploring the ecology of the river. 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.

Passages Adventure Camp — 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. As a licensed concessionaire of James River Park, Passages Adventure Camp 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.

The River Heroes received 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 22 picnic.

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