Dear Friends of the James River Park,
I hope you are all getting out and enjoying these last few weeks of nice weather before the cold arrives. The Park is full of color and life this time of year and it is my favorite time to be outdoors. As we prepare for winter projects, I thought this would be a great time to update you all on what we have been up to.
Probably the biggest development of the past few months is that we have formally become the fiscal sponsor for Friends of the Pump House and the RVA Environmental Film Festival. Both of these groups were impacted by the Enrichmond closure and needed a non-profit to provide fiscal sponsorship so they could continue to grow. We provide financial oversight and administrative support that allows these groups to continue to develop.
These two organizations have a mission that aligns with ours and we felt it was important their missions stay alive right now. These organizations now function similarly to how the Invasive Plant Task Force has operated as a part of FOJRP for years. I am proud that we are able to provide the infrastructure for these groups to do their work to support the James River Park System.
In October we provided Capital Region Land Conservancy with a $25,000 grant from our Protection and Preservation Fund to support the addition of 3.5 acres to the Park and conservation easement. This grant will be used to pay for the due diligence work necessary for a piece of private property to be donated to the James River Park System. That piece of now permanently protected property is located immediately west of the Nickel bridge on the South bank of the James River. It is the first piece of what is commonly called “Buttermilk West”.
Coming up in future projects – we are in the design phase for a new set of directional signage to be placed throughout the Park. These simple signs will be placed at important trail intersections and help people better navigate our beloved Park. We are also in the process of designing a way to separate vehicle and pedestrian traffic near the Park’s Reedy Creek Visitor’s Center.
River safety has garnered a renewed focus for many of the stakeholders that work in/around the James River this Summer. FOJRP is in a good position to help spread awareness about how to stay safe while recreating in the James, and since the primary access to the James in Richmond is through the Park, I think that work fits nicely as part of our work to protect, expand, and enhance the JRPS. Our Board of Directors recently approved a change in our budget to allow for a major increase in spending on river safety awareness initiatives. You can learn a bit more on our River Safety Page. Stand by for some really exciting announcements about those projects in a few weeks.
We have also been hard at work seeking out new corporate partners to support the Park. Corporate donations to support the JRPS are a great way for a company to show the community and its employees that they are invested in the things Richmond loves. Recent corporate supporters include Carmax, CSX, Legend Brewing Company, Dominion Energy, and CoStar. These companies have all supported FOJRP’s mission and we are grateful for their involvement. It does not take much to make a difference in the Park, and if your business would like to learn more about what sorts of things Corporate groups can help with please reach out to me at [email protected].
The Wood River Run will return in 2023! Our flagship annual event will take place on April 15th 2023 at Pony Pasture Park. Proceeds from this year’s event will support the mission of FOJRP, the Christian Wood Scholarship program at Passages Adventure Camp, and the programming of the JRPS Education Team. I hope that you will join us to continue to grow the legacy of Christian Wood and support this fantastic event.
Erica Lyon, a research intern from George Mason, has been in the Park since July working on a paper that is looking at snake fungal disease. She recently took this picture of a Ringneck Snake on Belle Isle. I thought it was too cute not to share.
The last thing I will talk about here today is that we are heading into the end-of-year giving season. FOJRP is proud of the work that it did in 2022 and we are excited to hopefully earn your support again this year. I welcome any of our recurring or prospective donors to reach out to me if you have any questions about how your financial support is being used in service to our mission. I am happy to go for a hike and talk about the difference you can make by supporting FOJRP this year. Please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] if you want to connect. If you don’t need any additional convincing you can make your gift today by visiting jamesriverpark.org/donate.
Thank you all for your ongoing support of our work! I will see you in the Park.