Webinar Series

Learn more about your River!

With the continuing uncertainties of COVID-19 and our current social distancing landscape, we have launched a new monthly webinar series highlighting a variety of different topics featuring our beautiful James River! Hear from JRA staff and local expert guests on everything from recreation to conservation to history throughout the year. If you are unable to join us for a live event, you can always watch the recorded webinars below.

Past Webinar Recordings

Senator Tim Kaine and JRA Discuss Walk, Ride, Paddle & Canoeing the James

In his memoir Walk, Ride, Paddle, Senator Tim Kaine shares his epic 1,228-mile journey into the “faraway nearby.” On a quest to find the best in himself and in all of us, Kaine hiked 559 miles on the Appalachian Trail, cycled 321 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and paddled 348 miles on the James River—creating the Virginia Nature Triathlon in the process.

Walk, Ride, Paddle is a field guide for the soul and a moving testament to the optimistic spirit of America.

River Hero Homes Webinar: Living Shorelines

Living shorelines are nature-based approaches for shoreline protection and are the preferred stabilization method for tidal shorelines. Join the James River Association’s Coastal Restoration Team to learn more about living shorelines. This River Hero Homes webinar will explore the importance of living shorelines in building resilient communities. Webinar viewers will also receive information on how to get involved in supporting living shorelines.

River Hero Homes Webinar: Local Ecotype Plants

Local ecotype plants are varieties of native plant species that have adapted to specific environmental conditions within a particular region or locality. Join JRA as we welcome Bill Shanabruch and Stacey Moulds of Local Ecotype Richmond Natives (LERN) to learn about local ecotypes.

This River Hero Homes webinar will explore the important role that local ecotypes play in conservation landscaping and provide participants with guidance on how to incorporate these plants into their landscapes.

Shaddle Up With Experts Webinar: Recovering American Shad in the James River

In JRA’s 2021 State of the James report, American shad scored the first ever 0% in our biennial report, dating back to its inception. American shad are one of many indicators we use to describe the health of the James River, and as a species, they have significant ecological, historical, and commercial value to our river and Virginia as a whole. In 2022, JRA worked with the Northam Administration to secure funding in the state budget for a Recovery Plan to guide efforts to revitalize this important species.

In this webinar (recorded on December 13, 2023) we hear from three experts on the state of American shad in the James, the development of A Framework for the Recovery of the American Shad (Alosa Sapidissima) in the James River, Virginia, and where this recovery plan takes us next in our long term efforts to restore this species that is all but extinct in the James River. A Q&A session follows the presentation.

Healthy Home, Healthy James: River Hero Homes

Whether you’re inspired to create a greener home, you’re a big fan of bees and butterflies, or you simply want to protect our waterways, JRA’s River Hero Homes program is the community for you! Join us virtually to find out about how you can be a hero for the river. In this webinar, hear from Jenn Clarke from the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities/RVAH20, Ryan Duckett from the Virginia Chapter of the US Composting Council, and Laura Greenleaf from the James River Park System Invasive Plant Task Force alongside JRA team members Justin Doyle, Jamie Brunkow, and Erin Reilly

State of the James Part 3 An American Shad Tale

American shad was once one of the most important fish species in the James River, known for spring spawning migrations that were abundant and celebrated in Virginia. But – decades of overfishing, pollution, industrial water intakes, and construction of dams that block migrations have severely hurt the James River shad population. The webinar includes the following presenters and special guests: Warren Taylor, Natural Resource Manager for the Pamunkey Indian Tribal Resource Office Charles Gowan, Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology at Randolph-Macon College Jamie Brunkow, James RIVERKEEPER and JRA Senior Advocacy Manager.
This is the final free webinar in a three-part series being offered by the James River Association leading up to the much-anticipated 2021 release of the State of the James. in November.



State of the James Part 2: The Impacts of Climate Change

We’ve seen stories on the news about massive wildfires, heat waves and storms, but how will Climate Change impact the James River Watershed? From heat to flooding and everything in between we’ll have a discussion of climate change impacts in our region and what that means for the health of the James and the people living in its watershed.

This is the second of three free webinars being offered by the James River Association leading up to the much-anticipated 2021 release of the State of the James.

Benefits of a Healthy James Part 1: Riverside Parks

As the health of the James River improves, people are turning to it more and more for enjoyment, relaxation, and connection. Join us on Thursday, July 29 at 12:00 pm for an online conversation with JRA Community Conservation Manager, Justin Doyle, and JRA Program Director, Shawn Ralston, about how the improving health of the James has also helped to fuel outdoor recreation at riverside parks on its banks across the watershed. We’ll welcome special guests including Bryce Wilk, Senior Superintendent-South District of the City of Richmond’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities.

This is the first of three free webinars being offered by the James River Association leading up to the much-anticipated 2021 release of the State of the James.

Riparian Buffers at Virginia Tech’s Catawba Sustainability Center

Join Amber Ellis, the James River Association’s Senior Watershed Restoration Manager, to hear about why riparian forest buffers are so important for the health of the James River and the riparian buffer research that our partners at Virginia Tech’s (VT) Catawba Sustainability Center (CSC) are doing. CSC is a 377-acre farm in the Catawba Valley in the Upper James watershed. It serves as a living laboratory to advance environmental stewardship and community engagement. It provides a learning environment for the research, teaching, and demonstration of sustainable practices in agriculture, forestry, and land management. Our guests from VT include John Munsell, Professor and Forest Management Extension Specialist, and Adam Taylor, Manager of the Catawba Sustainability Center.

Federal Policies and America’s Founding River

Want to know how actions at the nation’s capital are impacting America’s Founding River? Join us May 10th at 5pm to learn about JRA’s federal policy priorities and how the decisions in D.C. affect the health of our river and our watershed communities. From environmental justice, to clean water funding, and the future of infrastructure, our special guests from the Office of Congressman A. Donald McEachin and the Choose Clean Water Coalition will help us catch up on what’s catching attention in Congress.

Camping Along the James

From the Alleghany Highlands to the Chesapeake Bay, the James River basin is home to a variety of outdoor recreation activities. Camping along the James and its tributaries is a popular activity during the warmer months of the year. Join JRA staff and friends to learn about some of our favorite places to camp. From primitive campsites to cabins and glamping options, we discuss a variety of camping options and hope to inspire webinar participants to explore new places along the James this year. Participants also learn about the James River Leadership Expeditions, a year-long education program for high school students, and tools for planning your next camping adventure.

Flexing our Mussels on Restoration

Tucked in between the rocks of our rivers and streams are some of the most interesting animals in our watershed—Freshwater Mussels. Freshwater Mussels are masters of disguises, camouflaging themselves to look like rocks and fish, while they filter algae, bacteria, and nutrients from the water. Join us to learn about the mighty mussel and the efforts of JRA, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to restore populations of these important animals to the James.

Birding on the James

Virginia sits in a critical position along the Atlantic Coast for birds. 481 species have been identified in the state with 214 actively breeding. Twenty five percent of these breeding species are wholly or nearly confined to water or water associated habitats. The James River provides critical habitat and is a demarcation point between mid-atlantic and southern habitats. We will walk through birding the James River by season and location highlighting some important species and sites, as well as, talking about what we expect to see happen to birds in our watershed over the next 20 years. 

Policy, Politics, and a Pandemic: What to Expect During the 2021 General Assembly and How to Get Involved

Virginia’s legislative season is usually a fast-paced blur of hallway conversations, marathon committee meetings, and last-minute negotiations in a race to finish business before time runs out. But this year, our state legislators face a new challenge: ensuring public participation and transparency when a pandemic prevents us from meeting face-to-face.

Join us as JRA’s Policy Analyst, Anna Killius, takes you through a preview of what to expect over the next thirty days, how you can get involved, and why your voice makes a difference, especially during these unprecedented times. We’ll also welcome Delegate Betsy Carr as a special guest.

Virtual Classroom: How to engage students during Covid-19

Join us for a unique virtual learning opportunity as JRA Senior Education Manager, Nat Draper, highlights how JRA is partnering with local school systems to help engage students through online platforms. Several examples of virtual learning curriculum will be featured, and we’ll also be joined by guest speakers from Henrico Public Schools and Richmond City Schools to answer your questions about educating students during these challenging times.

Ecotherapy in Action: James River Rx and Wildrock

The uncertainty and pandemic that has hit us in 2020, has been leading people to seek the support of the natural world. Ecotherapy is an emerging field that helps us to understand how our wellbeing is intertwined with nature. In this webinar, explore simple practices for cultivating a nourishing, reciprocal relationship with the natural world. Two local ecotherapists, Amber Ellis, JRA’s Senior Watershed Restoration Manager, and Carolyn Schuyler, Wildrock’s Executive Director, will introduce you to this field and guide you through an ecotherapy exercise from your own home. Our hope is that you leave the hour with some tools to add to your toolbox that will bring you closer to nature and yourself. Link to Ecotherapy Presentation Slides.

Living Shorelines for Homeowners

Interested in living shorelines? The Living Shoreline Collaborative shares options for protecting your shoreline from erosion. During the webinar, we’ll cover: signs of shoreline erosion, options for stabilizing an eroding shoreline, how living shorelines can improve water quality and habitat in our local waterways, and where to go for assistance and advice, including financial assistance.

The Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon Webinar

With a history dating back to the age of dinosaurs, Atlantic Sturgeon are living fossils that hold significant importance to the James River. These ancient creatures have faced population decline due to overfishing, habitat loss and pollution, but show signs today of making a great return to the river. Learn more about these fish, research by the VCU Rice Rivers Center, and our partnership to promote conservation efforts. Led by Jamie Brunkow, our James RIVERKEEPER®, and Matt Balazik, Ph.D. and VCU Research Assistant Professor.

Water Quality of the James River

Interested in local water quality? Learn more about how JRA monitors the health of the James through the James River Watch program and the importance of water quality when it comes to safe recreation. Led by JRA’s Jamie Brunkow, James RIVERKEEPER® and Erin Reilly, Staff Scientist.

Best Spots for River Recreation

Get the lowdown from regional experts on the best places along the James River for hiking, biking, and paddling. Led by JRA’s Rob Campbell, Upper James Community Conservationist; Justin Doyle, Community Conservationist Manager; Emily Hinson, Lower James Regional Outreach Manager; and featuring guest speaker Greg Velzy, Senior Recreation Programmer at Chesterfield County and Chair of the Historic Falls of the James Scenic River Advisory Committee.

America's Founding River

Explore stories about how the James River has shaped the history of our region and the nation and why Congress named it America’s Founding River. Led by Bill Street, CEO and featuring guest speaker Bob Deans, author of The River Where America Began.

Two Fish Tales

Learn why population numbers of two of the most important fish in the James River are going in opposite directions and how JRA is managing these challenges. Led by Jamie Brunkow, Senior Advocacy Manager/James RIVERKEEPER® and Aaron Buchard, Master Captain and Environmental Educator and featuring guest speaker Albert Spells, Fish Biologist at US Fish and Wildlife Service.