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Friends of the
James River Park
January 2015 - In This Issue:
photo by Rich Young
The FoJRP December Volunteer Day brought folks out to scrape and repaint the 42nd Street entrance parking lot. Photo by Rich Young.

Can we place a dollar value on our volunteers? Volunteering is about helping other individuals and the community. Volunteering means working with others to make a meaningful contribution. And the how and why people volunteer is as individual as the people are themselves.

Volunteers play a vital role in the life of the JRPS. Clean-ups, graffiti removal, invasive species removal and native replanting, trail improvements, fundraising, event planning, promoting, board membership: these are all tasks performed by park volunteers. The impact of their service is evident throughout the park.

As a way to acknowledge the contributions of our volunteers, we assigned a dollar figure to the 7,177 hours given to the park in 2014. Although there are a number of ways to calculate an hourly rate, we used the Federal Government's recommended figure of $22/hour and came up with a total man-hour value of $157,894. While this total is surprisingly high, it is in the nature of volunteering where we truly find its worth. The virtue in volunteering is much deeper, much more fulfilling and much more important in contributing to a healthy and vibrant community than money can ever measure. Volunteerism is priceless!

We offer a special thanks to all of you who gave your time to benefit the park in 2014.

The Enrichmond Foundation, representing a number of environmental groups, secured the purchase of Vauxhall Island in a sealed-bid auction which closed 12/11/14. "We will be discussing our hopes for Vauxhall once the purchase process is completed," stated John Sydnor, Executive Director of Enrichmond Foundation, which serves Richmond's people, parks and public spaces. Likewise, the names of the groups funding the purchase will not be published until the final paperwork is done.

The 2.82-acre undeveloped island lies upstream of the Mayo Bridge and is adjacent to the great blue heron rookery. This purchase is a welcome outcome for this unique property.

Additional Information can be read in the Richmond Times Dispatch.

This is the question being asked of Richmond students by educators throughout the city. In a program developed by Sneed's Nursery, the students' answers are written on weather-proof paper, collected and folded into origami cranes. These cranes will then adorn trees in public spaces throughout RVA, starting in the spring.

Named The Giving Tree Project, this program honors Richmond's majestic giants and the important role they play in our existence. The base of each tree will have a plaque explaining the project and the origin of the cranes. Passersby are invited to take home a crane, which can then be used as a coupon at Sneed's. Participating classrooms will receive seed-starting kits so students may observe the life-cycle of plants. For more information:

Looking for a way to customize your car? A JRPS license plate looks good on every vehicle and lets you shout-out your support when driving or parked. And $15 of every plate purchase goes directly to fund the park. It is the perfect accessory for drivers who can't resist expressing their love for our urban wilderness.


To purchase a plate go to: 


And remember, for you Amazon shoppers, start your purchase with  (make sure to designate your support for Friends of the James River Park), and Amazon will donate a percentage of what you spend to FoJRP.  



photo by Jay McLLaughlin
Barred owl in Pony Pasture by Jay McLaughlin. 

Jay McLaughlin, a local rehabilitation counselor, Ironman athlete and photographer, has set an ambitious goal for the next year -- to learn about and photograph every living thing that's in the Pony Pasture.


In December he began posting facts and photos to a blog which he updates every Sunday evening. Join him on his journey at

dec 2014
Riverside Meadows

Riverside Meadows  


About a half-mile west of Pony Pasture on Riverside Drive is a 2-acre grassy parcel known as Riverside Meadow Greenspace. It's a small but active part of the JRPS. Groups like Riverside Outfitters and True Timber Tree Service launch rafts and climb trees here. The Richmond Fire Department practices river rescues from this meadow. Patient wildlife watchers can see bald eagles, otters, osprey and great blue herons.The Z-Dam connects the meadow to Williams Island across the river and kayakers often surf the powerful notch in the dam.

It's also common for people to set up chairs, blankets and even grills, then settle in for the day. The area is well-attended by walkers, joggers, bikers, bird-watchers, fishermen and paddlers.
The view of the James River and Pony Pasture Rapids from the meadow is unmatched. This is a walk or bike-in spot only. No parking, but nice fishing, wading, and, with Riverside Outfitters, recreational tree climbing.


With so many bikers, joggers, hikers and dog walkers in the park, the trails get a lot of use. Winter freeze and spring rains make them vulnerable to erosion and long-term damage. When there are puddles on your route it can be tempting to go around them. Realize that, by widening the path, you are adding to trail erosion and destruction of vegetation ... creating problems.


The trails are maintained by park staff and volunteers who work to balance the needs of the people who enjoy outdoor recreation and the need to maintain healthy ecosystems. Become aware how your use impacts the park and TREAD LIGHTLY!

January Volunteer Day

Manchester Climbing Wall | Saturday, January 24, 9:00 am until noon.

We are getting ready for the upcoming Dam Walk construction by cleaning up the trash in the Manchester Climbing Wall area. Park on the street behind (south side) the SunTrust building at 1001 Semmes Ave. Matt Mason, park staff, will meet volunteers there and guide them to the work area. Registration is required through HandsOn Richmond at:  


Conservation Easement Inspection help requested  

In February of each year the FoJRP volunteers are required to walk through the areas of the park protected by the conservation easement. This is to ensure there has been no encroachment into the protected areas and is required to keep the easement enforced. It also provides a great excuse to enjoy a quiet afternoon in one of our favorite places. We are looking for volunteers to help. If you are interested in turning a nice walk into a meaningful activity that helps to protect the park contact: [email protected]


December Volunteer Day Results

In December, at the 42nd Street parking lot, 11 volunteers with bucket and brushes in hand scraped and repainted curbs and generally improved a visitor's first impression of this part of the park. It was a cold day and a busy time of year, so we really appreciate all who took the time to participate in this volunteer event.

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour | March 6 and 7 (ticket sales begin 1/5/15)
Experience adventure on the big screen! The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will exhilarate and inspire you as you journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters, and climb the highest peaks. Different films each night. Adults $7 (both nights $12), 18 years and under $4 (both nights $7), ages 4 and under free. James River High School, 3700 James River Rd., 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. each night. For more information go to or contact [email protected]. For tickets call 804-748-1623.

Owl Prowl with Richmond Audubon Society | January 8 

Join Richmond Audubon for an evening with the owls. We will take a short night hike with the hopes of hearing and possibly attracting the resident owls of James River Park. The program is for all ages and will start with a short introduction into the lives of these nocturnal birds. It will likely be cold out so dress appropriately and don't forget your flashlight. Participants will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Reedy Creek parking lot, 4301 Riverside Dr. Event goes from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Ellison Orcutt at [email protected]. 


Boats & Brews Film Fest | January 10

Coastal Canoeists paddling club presents their annual Boats & Brews Film Fest, a series of paddling flicks with two exclusive full-length feature films produced by AMONGSTiT INC. At Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, 2400 Ownby Ln. Come early to enjoy food trucks, instructors, vendors and prizes (proceeds to benefit the Richmond Area Boating Community Charities). Doors open 5:30 p.m., showtime at 7:00 p.m. $10 per person, $5 for student and Coastal members. For more information visit:


Shiver in the River | January 31
Keep Virginia Beautiful presents the first Shiver in the River, a combination clean-up, river swim, and winter festival to raise funds for a great cause. Historic Tredegar, 500 Tredegar St. beginning at noon. Registration is required for the Community Clean-Up and/or the James River Jump. Participants must be 13 years or older. Parental waiver for minors required (under 17). For more information or to register, visit or [email protected].

"Waterways" | through February 2
An exhibit of James River landscapes featuring original oil paintings by Amy H. R. Donahue. For Art's Sake Gallery, Gayton Road Shopping Center, 9770 Gayton Rd., M-F 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information call the gallery at 804-740-1400 or visit

Venomous Snakes | permanent exhibit
This new permanent exhibit at Maymont features the three venomous snake species -- the northern copperhead, eastern cottonmouth and timber rattlesnake -- native to Virginia. Robins Nature and Visitor Center, 2201 Shields Lake Dr., Tuesdays-Sundays. Cost is included with Nature Center admission.

RVA Environmental Film Festival | February 2-8
Local organizations partner to present the Fourth Annual RVA Environmental Film Fest at Tuckahoe Library, VCU's Grace Street Theater, the Visual Arts Center, and the Byrd Theatre. The festival will showcase local and national films selected to raise awareness of environmental issues relevant to our region, our nation, and our planet. This event is free and open to the public. For more info go to: or contact: [email protected].

Virginia Rocks: Geologic Selections from the Collection | through June
This exhibition in the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature highlights the varied geological areas of the state and the processes that shaped the land. Focus is placed on the history and future use of Virginia's mineral and energy resources and how these resources impact the economy and environment. University of Richmond Museums, 28 Westhampton Way, Sunday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m., closed Saturdays. Contact 808-289-8276 or
Our Mission
The Friends of the James River Park is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization created by a dedicated group of citizens in 1999. Our mission is to provide an ongoing source of citizen support for the conservation, enhancement, and enjoyment of the 550-acre James River Park System and its natural and historic environments.