Every time it rains, fertilizers, herbicides, bacteria from pet waste, and chemicals flow from our properties into local waterways. This pollution can make it unsafe for people and wildlife. The James River Association created the River Hero Home program to celebrate individuals who take steps to improve their home, pledge to take action for the James and become a hero for our community and our river. Becoming a River Hero Home is a simple way to help protect the James River to ensure its health and enjoyment for future generations.

We are highlighting our River Heroes so that you can #MeetOurHeroes and hear firsthand how they’re making a BIG difference for our river!

Even as an apartment dweller, there are actions I can take to help protect the James River. My fiancé and I keep a garden on our balcony, and we use a rain barrel/gravity-fed irrigation system to help water the plants. When we experience pests, we abstain from pesticides and harsh chemicals — instead, I put a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s biodegradable soap and a dash of hot sauce in a spray bottle, then fill with water and spray the affected areas of the plants. It keeps the aphids at bay without damaging the health of our garden ecosystem. Lastly, we have a rescue dog that we both adore, and we always take extra bags, so we can pick up his waste — and any other dog waste we see along the way. These practices are easy, simple ways to help take care of the watershed whose health we all depend on.

- Genevieve Wall

JRA River Hero Home Member