Volunteers play a huge role in helping the James River Association achieve its mission. Much of our work would not be possible without the knowledge and dedication of our volunteers. Whether it is a trash cleanup, water quality testing, invasive species management, restoration plantings or help with office tasks, volunteers give us a direct connection to the diverse communities we work with throughout the watershed.

Meet Craig Metcalfe, volunteer RiverRat and retired elementary school principal. Craig first became familiar with the James River Association at our annual RiverFest event in Williamsburg in 2013. When he learned that completing our RiverRat training would allow him to volunteer simply by patrolling the creek that he lives on, it was a no brainer. As a RiverRat, Craig realized he could do more good in protecting Powhatan Creek and the James River, in turn helping the overall quality of the Chesapeake Bay.

Craig submitted this photo of a catfish with small lesions from one of his recent RiverRat patrols on the James.

Craig currently lives along Powhatan Creek and monitors the river right from his dock. He boats, water skis, tubes, fishes, and spreads the good word about our river everywhere he goes. Craig has also spearheaded a RiverRat Action Project with Virginia Master Naturalists and James City County to create a field guide for the public about the local flora and fauna of Powhatan Creek.

Craig volunteers because he enjoys meeting new people who have the same passion for preserving our waterways and improving habitat for wildlife, marine life, and plant life. He enjoys his regular river patrols and attending our annual RiverRat retreat.

Why volunteer for the James River Association? “Many hands make for lighter work,” says Craig. “The more folks that get involved means more work that can be done to help meet the James River Association’s goals.” Thanks for everything you do, Craig!

Interested in becoming a RiverRat to help make a difference in your community? Check out the RiverRat page and consider attending an upcoming training. Questions? Contact Sophie Stern, Volunteer Coordinator, at sstern@jrava.org.