Lower James River Education Program


Join us at the Colonial National Historical Park

Our Lower James River Education Program is based at the Colonial National Historical Park administered by the National Park Service. The National Park is home to Historic Jamestowne and Yorktown Battlefield, as well as natural resources of forests, wetlands, shorelines, and streams. James River Association staff lead paddle program take place at the James City County Marina, which is adjacent to the National Park.

Our education programs are designed to further a classroom’s discipline of study through meaningful watershed educational experiences and are open to all 6th-12th grade classrooms in the James River watershed.

Education Programs

  • Ecology Day Program

    • Grades 6-12
    • 4-5 hours
    • Up to 52 participants
    • A memorable day of inquiry on the water and land around Colonial National Historical Park.Your trip could include:
      • Canoeing: Discover the plants and animals of the James River! After a paddling safety demonstration, students will depart from the James City County Marina and paddle in scenic Powhatan Creek. We will learn about the importance and function of wetland ecosystems.

      • Wetlands and Watersheds: Investigate the health of the James River with abiotic water quality testing. Students will also conduct a water filtration experiment by designing a “wetland in a bottle” that mimics wetland filtration processes.

      • Seining: Using a seine net, students will discover aquatic life in the James River. This lesson takes place at the Glasshouse Beach, which is located 1 mile from JRA’s facility.

      • Forest Survey. High school only. Students will gather and analyze data in an investigation of terrestrial ecosystems! Students will learn how to use the collection of population and biodiversity data to inform conservation of watershed habitats.

      • Invasive Species Investigation: Learn about the species living in the James River Watershed and how invasive species can impact an ecosystem.

  • River Explorations
    • Grades 6-12
    • One-day paddle trip on Powhatan Creek, a scenic tributary of the James
    • 4-5 hours
    • Up to 26 participants
  • Watershed Classroom (have an educator visit the classroom)
    • Grades 1-12
    • 45 minutes

We will work with you to create a tailor-made outdoor curriculum that fits into your lesson plans. JRA is flexible with both start and ending program times.

Interested in scheduling an education program? Fill out an application.

During your field trip with the James River Association, your students will have access to a variety of resources offered in the Jamestown area.

  • For canoe paddling field trips, we will launch out of the James City County Marina, located ~1 mile from James River Association’s Williamsburg facility.
  • For fish seining, we will use the beach near the Jamestown Glasshouse, also located ~1 mile from James River Association’s Williamsburg.
  • All other educational programs will be taught out of James River Association’s Williamsburg.

Interested in scheduling an education program? Fill out an application.

Ecology Day Trip

Powhatan Creek Exploration

Watershed Classrooms

No. of students

<25 26-50 <25 34
Cost $750 $900 $450


Duration of programming

4-5 hours 4-5 hours 4-5 hours

45 min

Description Wetland paddle*, land-based program Wetland paddle*, land-based program Wetland paddle and water quality on Powhatan Creek

In-classroom visit from a JRA educator

Interested in scheduling an education program? Fill out an application.

Meet the Lower James River Education Staff

James Abbott

Lower James River Educator
Contact: jabbott@jrava.org