Volunteers play a big role in helping the James River Association achieve its mission. Community members that donate their time make many of our projects possible – whether it is a trash cleanup, water quality testing, invasive species management, restoration plantings or just assisting with office tasks. Volunteers put in hours of hard work to accomplish these projects, but they also give the James River Association a direct connection to the diverse communities throughout the watershed.

John Bragg, our Volunteer of the Month, routinely greets James River Association staff members by asking the question, “What can I do to help you?” John is always willing to pitch in and offer kind words. With a measured tone of encouragement, John often takes the time to tell staff individually “you are doing great work.”

John has been a reliable volunteer for more than four years and has shown that he is a jack-of-all-trades – photographer, educator, naturalist, RiverRat, and an advocate for the river. John is a retired Environmental Planner from Charles City County, and was instrumental in encouraging Charles City County staff members and elected officials to approve a proposal for a new primitive camping area to serve cyclists and paddlers at Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Park this year. An avid photographer, John captures wonderful images from James River Association education programs, outreach events like James RiverFest and James River Rundown, and has even assisted James River Association staff members by taking photographs of the river from a plane.

Small actions can make a big difference. We appreciate John’s steadfast work and the example he sets with his daily actions on behalf of the river. When recently asked why he volunteers, John shared, “I worked as an environmental professional for most of my life, and I simply want to continue that work. We have a responsibility to take care of all creation.”

If you’re interested in volunteering for the James, reach out to Sophie Stern, Volunteer Coordinator, at sstern@jrava.org or (804) 788-8811, ext. 214.