FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Erin Hillert, Marketing & Communications Manager
James River Association
(e): firstname.lastname@example.org (p): 608.239.2644
Greening Richmond’s Bellemeade Community
Conservation Organizations Collaborate on Green Infrastructure & Education Efforts
Richmond, Virginia – On Friday, November 5th, the James River Association (JRA) and Groundwork RVA will be welcoming volunteers to plant trees along Minefee Street in Richmond’s Bellemeade neighborhood. This street tree planting is supported by the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Virginia Trees for Clean Water program and is the next step in the Bellemeade Green Street, a project made possible through a partnership between JRA, Groundwork RVA, and the City of Richmond. A total of 12 street trees, including American sycamores and River birches, will be planted.
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Groundwork RVA to improve the resilience of the Bellemeade community through the installation of green infrastructure along Minefee Street,” said Justin Doyle, Community Conservation Manager with the James River Association. “This street tree planting will complement other greening efforts underway on Richmond’s southside.”
The Bellemeade Green Street project is part of the Bellemeade Walkable Watershed plan, a plan that integrates the flow of people and stormwater in the community. Since the completion of the plan in 2012, JRA has worked with consultants at 3north and Timmons Group to create plans for the green street project on Minefee Street and has engaged residents of the Bellemeade community through trash clean ups, storm drain art installations, and rain barrel installations on homes. In 2019, JRA and Groundwork RVA teamed up with volunteers to plant over 30 street trees along Minefee Street. Both organizations worked alongside contractors to install a bioretention filter, two Filterra boxes, and eight planter beds on Minefee Street earlier this year. These green infrastructure practices work together to capture and filter stormwater before it has an opportunity to runoff and pollute Albro Creek. In time, the trees planted along Minefee Street will expand Richmond’s urban tree canopy and help mitigate the local urban heat island effect.
“Groundwork RVA is deeply committed to helping bring community-based climate resiliency strategies to fruition throughout Richmond. The Bellemeade Green Street project has been an amazing opportunity for our young people to “learn-by-doing” as a larger scale green infrastructure project has moved from dream, to plan, to planted and working!” said Rob Jones, Executive Director for Groundwork RVA. “At every step, Groundwork’s youth leaders have been at the table and contributing. We are particularly excited about the Minefee Green Street as it is both a physical and programmatic link between our Bellemeade Community Bike Shop, our work on the Charae Farms mini-farm in Hillside Court and our next-level green infrastructure apprenticeship program. We know our partnership with James River Association, the Friends of Bellemeade Park and the Virginia Dept. of Forestry will continue to “hold water” for years to come!”
The next phase of the green street project calls for the installation of a 0.4-mile bike lane to improve bicyclist safety between Hillside Court and Bellemeade Park, a route students use to get to and from Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School.
During the 2021-2022 school year, JRA environmental educators will work with 4th grade teachers at Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary and Cardinal Elementary, to lead in-class lessons followed by student field experiences which will take important concepts covered during class out into nature. Through a day of hands-on learning at Bellemeade Park, and joined by volunteers from the Friends of Bellemeade Park, students will examine habitats and ecosystems that depend on a healthy James River, and engage in interactive educational opportunities including rain garden tours and nature hikes.
Bellemeade Park is a six-acre public park and outdoor learning campus connected to Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School. It features walking trails with educational signs, labeled tree specimens planted by the Richmond Tree Stewards, a pollinator garden, and a rain garden that emphasizes the importance of controlling stormwater runoff. Albro Creek, a tributary of the James River, flows through the park and offers opportunities for students to learn about water quality and benthic macroinvertebrates.
The Commonwealth of Virginia supports the James River Association through financial and administrative assistance provided by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
To volunteer to plant trees on Friday, November 5, with JRA and Groundwork RVA, visit https://form.jotform.com/211404428625955 to sign up.
For more information about the Bellemeade Green Street Project, visit: https://thejamesriver.org/bellemeade-green-street-project/.
The Bellemeade Green Street Project is supported by funding from Altria, Chesapeake Bay Trust, City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities, Virginia Department of Forestry, United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 3, Baltimore City’s Office of Sustainability, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
This project has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreements CB96336601 and CB96358501 to Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency, nor does the EPA endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in this document.
ABOUT THE JAMES RIVER ASSOCIATION: The James River Association is a member-supported nonprofit organization founded in 1976 to serve as a guardian and voice for the James River. Throughout the James River’s 10,000-square mile watershed, the James River Association works toward its vision of a fully healthy James River supporting thriving communities. The James River Association believes that “when you change the James, the James changes you”. With offices in Lynchburg, Richmond, Williamsburg, and Scottsville, the James River Association is committed to protecting the James River and connecting people to it. For more information visit www.thejamesriver.org.
ABOUT GROUNDWORK RVA: Groundwork RVA is a community-based non-profit working to transform the natural and built environment of Richmond, VA. We work on community supported initiatives towards the goal of a greener and more resilient Richmond that works for all. Through inclusive, meaningful community engagement and cross-sector collaboration, Groundwork RVA creates learning and hands-on skills-based opportunities for a greener, more sustainable future that includes youth voice and emphasizes the needs of historically disenfranchised communities. Learn more at www.groundworkrva.org.