This fall the James River Association and The Steward School worked together to give their seventh-grade students a chance to connect with the James River.  We called it “Community week in and around the James”.  Approximately 60 seventh grade students were immersed with river knowledge.

We began the week with an in-class visit from James River Association educators where students were introduced to the ‘State of the James‘ report. This report helps to understand a variety of challenges that the James River faces along with scores for river’s health like a report card.

All seventh grades students then had an overnight trip to the James River Ecology School on Presquile National Wildlife Refuge, a 1,300 acre federally protected wildlife refuge in Chester, VA. The students were also able to visit the VCU Rice Rivers Center where they learned the role oysters play in the ecosystem and how they improve water quality in our waterways.

Finally, students participated in a stewardship project with the James River Association’s ‘Paint Out Pollution‘ program, back at their school. This project had students painting stencil art on storm drains to learn how trash and sediment pollution entering these drains dumps directly into our river.

The James River Association and the Steward school are so excited to continue this meaningful relationship. We see the benefits of the partnership not only as short term experience but as long term commitment to the environment and building young men and women to be the next guardians of the river.