We love our RiverRat volunteers! They act as the James River’s first line of citizen defense by assisting our Riverkeepers as the eyes and ears of the river and its tributaries. RiverRats come from all over the watershed, are all ages and have many different backgrounds.

Meet Roy Hyle, he is a Lower James RiverRat who lives in Carrollton, VA on Jones Creek. Roy has a Master’s degree in Biology and a PhD in Marine Science, both degrees involved research on fishes. In 2011 he retired from teaching after 41 years. During his time as an educator, Roy had the opportunity to develop and teach field courses that introduced students to organisms in habitats within the shore
zone of the James River. He’s still convinced that being in a marsh is a more meaningful experience than watching a video or slide presentation.

After Roy retired, he wanted to stay involved with the James River and conservation groups, so he decided to volunteer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and with the James River Association’s RiverRats and Interpretive Paddle programs. This has allowed Roy to continue interacting with the public and provides him with an opportunity to share his river experiences and possibly recruit SL370026others into a lifestyle that protects and improves the environment.

Roy wants everyone to consider volunteering for the James River Association. It’s a rewarding experience, always feels good and is a great way to share your talents. As a RiverRat, he has had meaningful experiences working with local governments enforcing the Resource Protection Area, or areas of land next to a stream typically 100 feet wide that protect local water quality. Roy says “every little bit counts, creek by creek, marsh by marsh, beach by beach.”