James River Virtual Reality Experience

For more than 40 years, the James River Association  has been working to restore the James River to full health. We were founded when a group of concerned citizens banded together in 1976 to restore and protect the river at the time that toxic chemical contamination led to the James becoming known as one of the most polluted waterways in America.  We have grown over the last four decades to include watershed restoration, student education, advocacy, and community conservation efforts that have helped improve the overall health of the James from a grade of D- to a B- in JRA’s biennial State of the James report.  This remarkable improvement garnered the river international recognition through winning the 2019 Thiess International Riverprize

What is the purpose of our virtual reality experience?

Despite this progress, our work is far from being done. One of the most effective ways to continue this progress is to help people envision and truly understand what has been lost in the degradation of the James River and the impact of achieving a Grade A James. We hope to achieve this with our new James River Virtual Reality Experience. This virtual experience was created in part through funding from the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office.

In the span of just over three minutes, the Experience takes you underwater in the James, beginning with the pristine state of the river that existed before English settlers colonized Jamestown. The water is clear, the river is teaming with aquatic life, and grass beds are thriving and abundant. The video then advances to the mid-1970’s as the river turns brown, murky, and devoid of most organisms. It paints a vivid picture of a polluted and neglected James, and sets the stage for why it was so necessary to focus a concerted effort on restoring James to a fully fishible, swimmable, and drinkable river for all. The video then brings the viewer up to today’s river, much improved from the 1970s but still not back to its earlier pristine health, and ends with a call to action to help protect and connect people to the river by supporting JRA’s work.

Go underwater in the James!

On Wednesday, June 17, 2020 offered a limited access live webinar launch to unveil the James River VR Experience. During the webinar our CEO, Bill Street, our James Riverkeeper and Senior Advocacy Manager, Jamie Brunkow, and Capital Interactive Founder & VR Video Producer, Joey Cathey give an overview of how and why the video was produced, and includes 

Sign up below to receive a link to the webinar and a link to view the 360-degree 3D video.