This Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting Wonder Women in our Watershed currently making history by impacting the environment and communities within our James River watershed in positive and important ways.
We’ll be featuring four women whose work aligns with the four pillars of delivering our mission – Action, Advocacy, Appreciation, and Awareness.
This highlight is all about Awareness (ensuring all watershed residents know their connection to the James and their role in protecting it) and our partnership with the amazing Krista Weatherford, Maymont’s Director of Programming and Community Engagement. Read all about how she was first inspired to protect our natural resources, her passion for connecting young women, especially young women of color with environmental opportunities, and the important ways her role at Maymont intersect our JRA’s educational programming and goals to inspire good stewardship of our River.
Tell us about your current role and how you incorporate the James River in your work.
I am the Director of Programming and Community Engagement at Maymont, which is situated along the James River. Maymont’s mission is to delight, educate and inspire. One important aspect of the Programming and Community Engagement department is environmental education with specific connections to the James River. The Robins Nature Center reopened in 2020 with a new experience, Run of the River, centered on the James River. While The Robins Nature Center has always interpreted the James River, this new experience has created more immersive opportunities to learn about the river and all of the wonderful flora and fauna that are found in and around the James. Maymont also promotes citizen science and stewardship of the James River watershed within the Run of the River exhibition as well as through general programming, citizen science workshops and monitoring programs like FrogWatch and water quality monitoring of the waterways that transect the estate and flow to the James River. Maymont also is a showcase for conservation efforts like rain barrels, rain gardens, using native plants in landscaping, and artivism (three storm drains at The Robins Nature Center will be painted through JRA’s Paint Out Pollution program; a video will be released in April of the painting process with educational content from JRA educators). The James River is such an important natural resource for Richmond and Virginia – we look for any opportunities to talk about it and the great habitats the river has for diverse wildlife.