James River Association Staff

Bill Street, CEO of JRA

Bill Street

Chief Executive Officer
Contactbstreet@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811, ext 201
Bill Street was born in Richmond, Virginia and grew up camping at the mountain headwaters of the Cowpasture and Jackson Rivers and spending summers on the Chesapeake Bay. As a child, he remembers following his father as he waded in lush underwater grass beds dipping for soft shell crabs. But by the time Bill came of age, those vital grass beds were gone because pollution wiped them out. Now with two sons of his own, Bill’s personal mission is to ensure that his sons are able to enjoy healthy Virginia waters that are closer to what his father experienced growing up than the degraded ones of his own childhood. Prior to serving as CEO of the James River Association, Bill worked for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, as well as Malcolm Pirnie in Newport News, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Duke University Wetland Center, and the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia. He is a double Hoo and a Dukie too with degrees in commerce and urban and environmental planning from Virginia and environmental management from Duke.

Christina Bonini

Communications Coordinator
Contact:
cbonini@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811, ext 211
As a Richmond native, Christina has close ties to the James River. She grew up in a family that spent their time camping, hiking and enjoying weekends on the Chesapeake Bay. Her interest in turning over rocks eventually led her to VCU for a Masters in Environmental Studies. As Communications Coordinator, Christina has the privilege of combining her writing skills with her love of science and enthusiasm for the outdoors. She works hard to increase the public’s awareness of the James River Association and its mission to protect and restore the James River. Christina is truly optimistic that achieving a cleaner James is possible and wants to help others believe in the James River Association’s mission as well.

Jamie Brunkow, Lower James Riverkeeper

Jamie Brunkow

Lower James Riverkeeper
Contactjbrunkow@jrava.org; (757) 634-4541
A native Virginian, Jamie grew up in Stafford County exploring backyard streams, taking canoe trips, and hiking the Appalachian Trail. These boyhood experiences undoubtedly helped lay the foundation for a career working to protect nature. Jamie got his start as an environmental educator working with teenage youth, and went on to work at Friends of the Rappahannock leading restoration, education and advocacy projects aimed at improving the health of the Rappahannock.  Jamie served as the Sassafras Riverkeeper on the Eastern Shore of Maryland prior to joining the James River Association in 2012, and has focused his career on water issues and the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Jamie earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech, and is pursuing a Masters of Natural Resources from Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability. Most of all Jamie wants to help inspire citizens to be a voice for the health of the James River, so that we have a resource that is treasured and protected for generations to come.

Georgia Busch

Lead Educator
Contactgbusch@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811, ext. 214
Georgia grew up north of the James River watershed in Hanover County, Virginia. Throughout her childhood, she joined her dad for many of his work-related excursions as a wildlife biologist, sparking her interest in wildlife and the outdoors. That interest followed her to Randolph-Macon College where she received a BS in Environmental Studies. Since joining the James River Association in 2012, Georgia has been fortunate to be a part of the ever busy Education Team, whose hard work is rewarded with spending a lot of time on the river. Conservation and teamwork has always been some of her greatest passions, in addition to paddling, eating Mexican food, and spending time with her friends and family near the James!

Pat Calvert, Upper James Riverkeeper

Pat Calvert

Upper James Riverkeeper
Contact: pcalvert@jrava.org; (434) 964-7635
Pat Calvert has made the James River and its tributaries his home since relocating to Virginia. Born and raised in North Alabama’s Tennessee River Valley, Pat experienced firsthand camping, hiking and exploring the haunts of the southern Appalachians, eventually earning the Eagle Scout award. Rapid conversion of agricultural and forested lands to urban and suburban uses near his home created a conscientious awakening that natural resources and health rely on human stewardship. Following graduation from Auburn University focused in Environmental Science, Pat taught environmental education for a small nonprofit organization. In 1997, Pat was offered the opportunity to co-lead the Virginia Watershed Education Program of Chesapeake Bay Foundation where he led thousands of students and teachers in on-the-water training experiences in central, northern and western Virginia and the Chesapeake until 2011. Recognizing the critical importance of education
and action to protect our shared waterways, Pat was hired as Upper James RIVERKEEPER to spearhead the opening of the James River Association‘s Upper James River office in Lynchburg. Pat continues to reside with his family in central Virginia and to guarantee the right to float, swim and fish every accessible creek and river for future generations.

Rob Campbell

Upper James Community Conservationist
Contactrcampbell@jrava.org; (434) 944-7975
Rob Campbell joined the James River Association in October 2013 as Upper James Community Conservationist in the new Lynchburg office. Rob, a native of the Lynchburg area, grew up in close proximity to the James River and has spent a considerable amount of time boating the river and its tributaries. Prior to joining
the James River Association, he spent five years with the James River Float Company where he served as a head raft guide and manager. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from Randolph College in 2013. Rob currently resides in Amherst County on his family farm adjoining the banks of the Piney River. In his free time, Rob can be found canoeing or rafting as many Central and Western Virginia rivers as he can, as well as hiking, climbing and camping in the one of a kind Blue Ridge Mountains.

Justin Doyle

Community Conservation Manager
Contactjdoyle@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811 ext 212
Justin’s passion for conservation began at a young age. He grew up in a suburb of Washington, D.C., where he witnessed the rapid conversion of fields and forests to sprawling residential and commercial development. He pursued a career in conservation to protect precious natural resources like the James River and became the James River Association‘s Community Conservation Manager in April 2013. He works to promote conservation and responsible stewardship of our natural resources in the James River watershed and manages the James River Association‘s Community Conservation Program. Before joining the James River Association he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from the University of Mary Washington in 2008, a Master of Urban & Regional Planning (MURP) degree from Virginia Commonwealth in 2012, and spent five years working as a planner in Henrico County. He is a 2015 Fellow of the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute. He currently resides in Richmond’s Church Hill neighborhood with his wife and Schipperke, Henry. In his spare time Justin enjoys exploring the James River on his kayak, traveling, hiking, cycling, and snow skiing.

Nat Draper

Nat Draper

Education Manager
Contactndraper@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811 ext 218
Nat joined the James River Association in April 2015. Before that, he was a public school science teacher in Henrico County for 16 years, serving both JR Tucker and Deep Run High Schools. He taught both Earth Science and AP Environmental Science and has always believe in hands on learning. Nat’s interest in science sent him to Randolph Macon College where he received his degree in Environmental Studies. He then went to Virginia Commonwealth University for his Masters in Education. As the Education Manager at the James River Association, Nat has the opportunity to present environmental education at the James River Ecology School on Presquile National Wildlife Refuge. He also works with many science specialists throughout the watershed to create Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences for their students. He strives to teach the younger generation to be advocates of the the James River.

Amber Ellis

Watershed Restoration Manager
Contactaellis@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811, ext 205
Amber grew up in Powhatan County with the woods, creeks, and James River as her playground. The outdoors has always been where she feels most at home and is why she has grown a passion for protecting it. She earned a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Virginia Tech where she discovered ways to create spaces that not only are enjoyable for people, but also serve to enrich our natural environment. Prior to joining the James River Association she worked as a Landscape Designer at Timmons Group, a local architecture and engineering firm. At the James River Association Amber inspires others to take action towards a cleaner James River through her involvement with Watershed Restoration efforts. She is a Professional Landscape Architect in Virginia and a Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional.

Ben Hawkins, Volunteer Coordinator

Ben Hawkins

Volunteer Coordinator
Contact: bhawkins@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811 ext 204
Originally from Henrico County, Ben grew up witnessing the transformation of historic farmland to suburban development. Optimistically, his work has focused on social-ecological conservation. Ben attended VCU, earning a degree in International Business and swimming in the James nearly every day with his dog, Oz. While in school, he worked as technician on a variety of ecological field studies including wildfire fuels in the Mojave Desert, elephants in Botswana, and wolves in Alberta, Canada. Finally, Ben earned a Master of Science in Conservation Leadership from Colorado State University, studying Samburu herders in northern Kenya and their involvement with conservation institutions. Ultimately, Ben has always hoped to work with the people and places of the James River. As Volunteer Coordinator, Ben is energized to connect the knowledge, experiences, and passion of Virginians to our world-class natural resource.

Adrienne Kotula

Government Affairs and Policy Manager
Contactakotula@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811, ext 206
Originally hailing from the Potomac River watershed, Adrienne is proud to now call the James River watershed her home. She moved to Richmond to pursue her passion for environmental planning with a position for the Commonwealth of Virginia and to finish her Master’s Degree in Environmental Planning at VCU. After completing her degree, she came to work for
the James River Association as the organization’s Government Affairs and Policy Manager.  When she is not fighting the good fight for stronger water quality regulations, you will find her exploring what the Commonwealth has to offer with her husband and son – hiking in the mountains, kayaking down the James, or relaxing on the beach.

Annie Markwith

Lower James River Educator 
Contactamarkwith@jrava.org
Annie Markwith was born and raised in Gloucester, Virginia and is a graduate of UNC Wilmington where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Biology.  She is the granddaughter of a lifelong waterman, and has spent a large part of her life playing and working on the Chesapeake Bay.  She studied Marine Biology along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and also worked in the aquaculture field growing Cobia on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. Before returning to the Tidewater area, she was an educator with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation where she taught the importance of ecological preservation and conservation of the Bay. Annie is excited to share her love for the environment and its wildlife with others.

Brooke Newton

Brooke Newton

Upper James River Educator
Contact: bnewton@jrava.org; (910) 262-6690
Brooke is a Lynchburg, Virginia native and has spent a great many hours studying and enjoying the upper and lower reaches of the James River. Brooke graduated from UNC Wilmington with a degree in Environmental Science and has over 10 years of experience teaching outdoor education as the Manager of the Virginia Canoe Program with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Brooke has taken thousands of students and adults out to enjoy many of Virginia’s tidal tributaries through daily and weekly excursions since 2005. Her major passions are to create new experiences with students and help immerse them into their outdoor world while learning about the importance of their local river system. After many years living elsewhere, Brooke and her husband are very happy to finally call Lynchburg home again!

Jen Perkins

Jen Perkins

Director of Development
Contactjperkins@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811, ext 213
Originally from Middleburg, Virginia, Jen grew up with a love of nature. She began riding horses at a young age and continues to enjoy exploring the countryside on the back of a horse. Her love of the outdoors set Jen on her path to the James River Association. After graduating from Sweet Briar College and receiving a Masters in Public Policy from Duke University, Jen worked for the Virginia Outdoors Foundation as a Conservation Easement Project Manager, protecting land throughout the northern Piedmont.  From there she joined the development team at the University of Virginia, traveling around the country raising funds for all aspects of university life. At the James River Association, Jen is able to combine her skills and background with a cause about which she is truly passionate. In her spare time, you can find Jen exploring all that Richmond and the Commonwealth has to offer.

Shawn Ralston

Program Director
Contactsralston@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811, ext 208
Growing up in North Carolina on the banks of a lake that provided drinking water for her, Shawn became interested at a very young age with how her daily actions affected the water that her family depended on.  During her childhood and into college, Shawn was an avid swimmer who spent hours a day immersed in water.  After graduating from UNC-Wilmington, Shawn worked several years for the Department of Environmental Protection in Charlotte, NC conducting water quality monitoring on streams, lakes and rivers.  From there, Shawn returned to school and received her Master of Marine Affairs and Juris Doctor from the University of Rhode Island and Roger Williams School of Law respectively.  After spending close to nine years in Wilmington, NC leading environmental programs and managing planning for New Hanover County, Shawn relocated to Richmond with her family to the city in which her husband was raised – and to the river that is ingrained in his family and now hers.  For the James River Association, Shawn brings experience in each of the 5 programs she oversees and works with a talented and passionate team to further the James River Association’s mission and goals.  Through her work with the James River Association, Shawn’s hope is that her children are able to experience and interact with the James as her relatives, and so many others, have for generations.

Beth Roach

Grants Manager
Contactbroach@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811, ext 210
Originally from Surry County, it was often difficult to coax Beth out of the brackish river water in her hometown. She attended James Madison University, where she combined her gift of gab and her love for all things Virginia into a Public History degree. Being a country girl at heart, Beth found a home within Virginia State Parks. Over the course of nine years, she served as a volunteer, conservation intern, park ranger, chief ranger, and environmental program manager. Beth left parks to gain more skills in interpretive planning, proposal writing, and nonprofit accounting. Now as Grants Manager for the James River Association, Beth is eager to secure support for the programs that she believes will undoubtedly promote positive behaviors toward her beloved river.

Chelsea Tickle

Chelsea Tickle

Administrative Assistant/Bookeeper
Contactctickle@jrava.org

Chelsea grew up just north of the James River watershed in Hanover County. Her summers were spent fishing on the James and exploring the shores of the Chesapeake Bay with her family. She understands the importance of healthy ecosystems as she has watched the shoreline erode over the years at her family’s cottage on the bay. Chelsea earned a degree in Health Sciences from James Madison University, where she also met her husband. Her passion for science eventually led her to the James River Association when she joined the team in June 2016. Though most of her time will be spent behind the scenes, she looks forward to the opportunity to support the mission of a protecting and restoring the James River. In her spare time, Chelsea enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and kayaking with her husband and dog.

 

Sherrie Tribble

Sherrie Tribble

Director of Special Events & Major Gifts
Contactstribble@jrava.org
Sherrie Tribble began working for the James River Association as a Lee Davis Business Exchange Student in 1987. She has held many positions within the organization and currently serves as Special Events and Major Gifts Officer. Sherrie’s years of experience and history with the organization have allowed her to develop a great number of positive relationships with members, board members and partners. She values and treasures all of the amazing experiences and opportunities that have been provided to her. Sherrie holds a BA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and brings a passion for the history of the James River as well as enthusiasm for the great work that the James River Association does to protect America’s Founding River.

Ben Watson

Environmental Educator
Contact: bwatson@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811, ext 215
Born and raised in Richmond, Ben spent his early years rock hopping on the James River with family and friends. His appreciation for the outdoors, instilled from a young age, led him to a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Watershed Management from Virginia Tech. After college, he thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail before completing a Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin studying climate and vegetation change. During his time as a tutor and teaching assistant, he came to fully realize his devotion and dedication to science outreach and education, which are attributes he now hopes to apply to a familiar community he cares deeply about. As an Educator with the James River Association, Ben is thrilled to teach about the importance of the ecology, conservation, and restoration of the James to the citizens of its watershed.

 

Angie Williams

Database and Web Coordinator
Contactawilliams@jrava.org; (804) 788-8811, ext 209
Angie has enjoyed being outdoors since she was a child. Growing up in Mechanicsville, VA she spent the majority of her time outdoors; chasing chickens, riding horses and building forts in the woods.  Her love of horses took her to Virginia Intermont College, where she received a degree in Equine Studies and Business.  After several years as a riding instructor, Angie switched her focus from teaching to protecting and started working for the James River Association in 2007. Even though she now spends the majority of her time behind a desk, she enjoys connecting others with the James through events and social media.

It takes a team approach

We protect what we love!

Staff retreat, September 2015

JRA staff on canoe trip

Like our mission? Join our team!

If you are interested in working at the James River Association, check the employment page for job openings or send us a note. We are always looking for passionate river advocates!

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