September 22, 2017

Nat Draper
Education Manager
James River Association
(804) 267-9236

All Sixth Graders in Richmond City Public Schools to Receive James River Education Over Three Years

The James River Association, City of Richmond Public Schools, the James River Park System, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hosted an event today at Great Shiplock Park in Richmond to announce $445,000 in NOAA funding awarded to support field-based environmental education focused on the James River.

During the month of October 2017, approximately 1,600 sixth grade students from all eight Richmond Public Middle Schools will participate in the Students Investigating Urban Parks program. Students will explore what role urban areas play in the health of the James River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds. These field-based investigations will utilize real world data, mapping, and hand-on experiences to challenge students to examine the complex ecological, economic and human systems that depend on and impact the health of the James River. Funding also provides science teachers with professional development focused on sixth grade science Standards of Learning.

This funding is a multi-year grant that will provide these experiences for sixth graders for the next three years.

“By providing meaningful outdoor experiences, the James River Association hopes to enrich the STEM curriculum of the schools and empower these students to take positive action for our most vital nature resource – water,” said Bill Street, CEO for the James River Association. “Increasing environmental awareness and inspiring the next generation of nature stewards is at the core of our mission.”

“The James River Association–one of the nine projects receiving a total of nearly $1 million in NOAA funding that we celebrate today–will work with Richmond public schools to deliver high-quality watershed educational experiences for middle school students,” said Sean Corson, Acting Director of the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office. “NOAA’s Bay-Watershed Education and Training grants support experiences that will stay with students for a lifetime as they develop into the next generation of scientists and Chesapeake Bay stewards.”

“I constantly fight for clean waterways for the sake of future generations. Now thanks to funding from NOAA, members of the next generation will get a hands-on look at why clean waterways are so important. I’m pleased to see that all sixth-grade students will have the opportunity to learn about the importance of a healthy James River, our treasured Chesapeake Bay, and its watersheds,” said Congressman Donald McEachin (VA-04).

“This is an exciting opportunity for our sixth grade students that aligns with our STEM curriculum,” said Thomas Kranz, Interim Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools. “Not only will this hands-on learning experience engage our students, but it will also further encourage their active involvement in taking better care of our environment.”

For more information contact Nat Draper, Education Manger for the James River Association, at or (804) 267-9236.


ABOUT JAMES RIVER ASSOCIATION:James River Association is a member-supported nonprofit organization founded in 1976 to serve as the guardian and voice for the James River. Throughout the James River’s 10,000-square mile watershed, the James River Association works through its core programs – Education, Community Conservation, Watershed Restoration, River Advocacy and the Riverkeeper Program – to help people of all ages enjoy, appreciate and protect the beauty and health of the James River for future generations to enjoy. For more information visit