James River Ecology SchoolAt the James River Ecology School, as in nature, spring is a time of growth. Though it’s still a long way off, the Education Team is already planning, arranging, and eagerly anticipating the next round of vernal visitation. Here we’ll briefly outline what the coming spring has in store, and we’ll shed light on what to expect when planning a springtime visit to the James River Ecology School.

Let’s begin with expectations. First and foremost, visitors should expect an amazing trip in a beautiful natural setting. Spring is a transitional season, and no two spring days at Presquile National Wildlife Refuge are exactly alike. April sees the return of color to the landscape. Redbuds, monarch butterflies, and new growth paint the upland in a coat of pink, orange, and bright green that grows more vibrant by the day. In May, the wetlands bloom with yellow irises below and a golden crop of prothonotary warblers above, back from their winter retreat to Central and South America. The springtime scenery is something everyone should appreciate, but with care. Below are some considerations for springtime visitors.

  • Weather – Throughout the spring, the James River Ecology School is exposed to the changing weather for which the season is known. Check the forecast, and dress accordingly!
  • Impact – Unfortunately, we’re limited in our disposal of refuse on the Presquile National Wildlife Refuge. If you pack a meal, make sure to include a small trash bag, and help us leave no trace.
  • Safety – Presquile is rife with wildlife of all shapes and sizes, but the most dangerous animals are the smallest. If you’re allergic to bees, wasps, or anything that could cause severe allergic reactions, bring your EpiPen. For that matter, make sure to bring any prescription medication you may need during your visit.
  • Attitude – Rain or shine, there is beauty to be found in the intimate tidal wetlands and dense riparian forests of Presquile. Come with a willingness to turn off your phone and turn on your senses to the outside world. Don’t worry, your texts and emails aren’t going anywhere.

Though spring is almost four months away, our schedule is filling up fast! Thanks to the Jackson Foundation, CB Trust, donors, parents, and more, we’re excited to introduce a varied and diverse range of students to the James River Ecology School this spring. From Newport News to new Richmond partnerships, we’re expanding our outreach and engaging new people. We have already booked trips for over 1,200 students from a dozen schools, and we’re finalizing the details with four more. If you’re interested in scheduling a visit, now is the time! Coupled with our growing presence in Lynchburg, our education program is expanding upstream and down. Though we’re currently enjoying the fun and festivities of the holiday season, we’re excited for the renewal and growth the coming spring will bring!