James River Center

The James River Association worked alongside The Conservation Fund and Capital Region Land Conservancy to purchase 5.2 acres on Richmond, Virginia’s riverfront. We are under contract to purchase .85 acres of the 5.2 acres with the intention of building the James River Center, an immersive environmental education facility for youth of the Richmond region. The purchase of this property will provide our environmental educators with indoor learning spaces for year-round programming and easy access to the James River for on-the-water programs in canoes, kayaks, or on a floating classroom. Our goal is to ensure every child growing up in ‘America’s Best River Town’ is introduced to the James River and enjoys a lifetime of benefits that the river can provide.

Since 2020, the James River Association has held numerous meetings with community leaders and city officials. Three virtual community meetings were held in September 2021. Input received during these meetings has influenced the design of the site plan and building. If you are interested in learning about the James River Center project and providing input, click here to complete our online survey.

I applaud The Conservation Fund, Capital Region Land Conservancy, and James River Association for working together to expand the James River Park System with the purchase of 5.2 acres of riverfront property. This significant acquisition, and plans for the James River Center, will benefit Richmonders for generations to come.

Levar Stoney

City of Richmond Mayor

Inspiring our Youth

The James River Center will be a leading-edge education center on Richmond’s riverfront and will expand our ability to engage local youth, particularly in the historically underserved East End. Youth education programs at the James River Center will focus on connecting youth with learning experiences on the James River while inspiring confidence, ecological understanding, nature appreciation, and conservation action. The James River Center will be conveniently located to the Great Shiplock Park and Chapel Island, where the James River Association currently conducts environmental education programming.

The James River Center represents a great opportunity for Richmond Public Schools students to take part in meaningful environmental science education that focuses on the issues and resources within their city. Its presence so close to downtown will greatly increase the possibility of access to high impact field experiences on the river, a crucial piece of RPS Science’s goals for place-based learning

Josh Bearman

Science Curriculum and Instructional Specialist, Richmond Public Schools

Protecting and Accessing our River

By purchasing this 5.2-acre riverfront property with The Conservation Fund and Capital Region Land Conservancy, we are ensuring the iconic “View That Named Richmond” from Libby Hill Park is preserved in perpetuity and access to the James River is expanded. Conservation easements will be employed to ensure future development is limited. The 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail will be relocated off of Dock Street, thereby improving the safety and experience of trail users.


Please direct questions about the James River Center project to Justin Doyle, the James River Association’s Community Conservation Manager at jdoyle@thejamesriver.org.