“It’s a fun process learning about how home landscapes used to be maintained. The resource I started with was Rodale’s All New Guide to Organic Gardening. I’d recommend starting with a rain barrel. From there it’s addictive.”

Robert Monteiro

Robert Monteiro is a River Hero Home and Registered Nurse in Richmond, VA. In the early 2000’s Robert spent a fun summer volunteering on cutting trails on the Goat Islands in the James River Park System. Tools would be left for him at the park office and then off he’d go. Nowadays he tries to get on the river at least 3 days a week. “Whether it be by kayak or bike, trail running with the dog, fishing, or post night shift coffee down at Pipeline; I love my time on the James.”

He thinks the most important thing that he does in his yard to help the James River is skipping the fertilizer and herbicide and instead focusing on building a healthy soil base. He manually weeds his garden every couple of weeks, no longer uses fertilizers and instead dresses his garden with small amounts of chicken manure each year. “Only about one quarter of my backyard is turf and it’s been a pretty tough challenge bringing back a healthy base. I knew last spring, when the robins were going crazy in the dirt, that it was finally balancing out.” His future garden plans include adding one more rain barrel to the front of his house because “Hauling buckets of water gets tiring,”