Wednesday, November 3, 2021


Erin Hillert, Marketing & Communications Manager
James River Association
(e)  (c) 608.239.2644

Governor Ralph Northam Among Group to Receive a
“James Changer” Award

Announcements will be made during the James River Association’s Annual Meeting and Oyster Roast

The James River Association (JRA) will be awarding several “James Changers” a very special honor at their 2021 Annual Meeting and Oyster Roast, taking place at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s West Creek location in Richmond, Virginia, on the evening of Wednesday, November 3.

Recipients of JRA’s yearly James Changer Awards are individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to the James River watershed, including those who protect the James, connect people to the James, support the James and volunteer for the James.

Governor Ralph Northam will receive an award in recognition of his outstanding commitment to protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Throughout the Governor’s Administration, he and his Natural and Historic Resources Secretariat have made the Chesapeake a top tier issue, advancing policies and programs tailored to realizing cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable waterways. Under their watch, Virginia has invested over $787 million in water quality programs, the highest four-year total of any governor over the last two decades, with another $313 million to be allocated within the Governor’s outgoing budget.

Richmond Public School teachers, Victoria Scott and Patricia Sessions, will be awarded for their outstanding efforts working with JRA to teach their environmental science class at Huguenot High School during the pandemic. Both educators showed outstanding support engaging students and being open to new curriculum as JRA implemented virtual learning to their 9th grade classes.

The Virginia Environmental Endowment will receive an award for their James River Water Quality Improvement Program (JRWQIP), which has significantly contributed to improving the water quality of the James River and its tributaries. Support through the program has been instrumental for JRA’s  progress toward their vision of a Grade A healthy river supporting thriving communities, especially in the realm of riparian forest buffer development along the banks of the watershed. 

The Fred and Muschi Fisher Volunteer of the Year award will recognize JRA RiverRat volunteers who have been active with JRA over the last 10 years, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the program. RiverRats are trained to patrol the James and its tributaries and report their sightings, documenting potential pollution sources and their effects while also reporting natural patterns in river hydrology and wildlife sightings.

“JRA is incredibly grateful for the partnerships that make our work possible, and providing these awards each year allows the organization to convey our appreciation for exceptional efforts keeping the James River clean, healthy, and accessible,” said Bill Street, JRA’s Chief Executive Officer.  “We are thrilled to be able to welcome all award recipients, including Governor Northam, in person at the event this year.”

Ticket sales for JRA’s Annual Meeting and Oyster Roast are closed, but you can still support a healthy river by taking your own James Changer action here.

ABOUT THE JAMES RIVER ASSOCIATION: The James River Association is a member-supported nonprofit organization founded in 1976 to serve as a guardian and voice for the James River. Throughout the James River’s 10,000-square mile watershed, the James River Association works toward its vision of a fully healthy James River supporting thriving communities. The James River Association believes that “when you change the James, the James changes you”. With offices in Lynchburg, Richmond, Williamsburg, and Scottsville, the James River Association is committed to protecting the James River and connecting people to it. For more information visit