Student of the the James

Adventures of a lifetime!

Our Education program connects youth with river-based learning experiences that inspire confidence, ecological understanding, nature appreciation, and conservation action. The James River Association provides interdisciplinary learning experiences that are correlated to the Virginia Standards of Learning. Activities are field-based and use the context of the James River to bring complex concepts to life.

We engage students through hands-on experience and student-directed investigations enhanced by technology and real-world applications. We are committed to providing a safe place for all students to learn and grow no matter their background experience or knowledge.

Our educational programs for youth and teens include:

  • Ecology School
  • Watershed Classrooms
  • River Explorations
  • James River Leadership Academy
  • James River Expeditions

Educational Resources

Check out our JRA Education Program Catalog for complete descriptions and SOL details.

Ready to get started? Fill our our School and Group Program Application


Did you know?

We also offer continuing education classes for teachers and workshops and educational events for adults. Check our calendar for information on upcoming events.

Henrico County Public Schools

Newport News Public Schools and JRA Partnership

Educational Offerings

James River Ecology School

wild celeryDuring a visit to the Ecology School at Presquile National Wildlife Refuge students will conduct Virginia SOL-correlated investigations while hiking through upland fields and forests, paddling a freshwater tidal creek, and exploring a pristine swamp habitat on our wetland boardwalk. Our outdoor classroom offers a unique place for students to connect with nature and study real-world applications of science and conservation.

  • Multi-day residential and one-day programs at the James River Association’s island education center
  • Day Program – A memorable day of inquiry on the water and land around Presquile Island
  • Wet Feet Weekend – A 2-day, 1-night trip for youth groups to learn skills and connect with nature
  • Ecology School Overnight Program – A 2-3 day overnight trip immersing students in the study of local ecosystems

Ecology School Day Program: For school groups, 5+ Hours, $750 for 34 participants

Wet Feet Weekend: Call for program details.

Ecology School Overnight Program: For school groups or youth groups, Saturday & Sunday (2 days, 1 night), $1,500 for 34 participants

River Explorations (6th-12th Grade)

students explore jamesOne-day, on-the-water explorations engage students with new skills, scientific techniques, and historical insight to better understand the James River watershed.

This program is a canoe-based investigation of the history and ecology of the human relationship with the James taking place at Deep Bottom Park in Henrico County.

Instructional themes and correlated SOLs: VS. 1, USI. 1, VUS. 1, GOVT. 1, Sci. 6.5, Sci. 6.7, LS. 7, LS. 11, LS. 12, ES. 3, ES. 9, BIO. 9.

River Explorations Paddle Program Day program for school groups, 4+ Hours, $450 for 28 participants

Watershed Classrooms (1st-12th Grade)

middle jamesEngaging lessons at your school presented by James River Association educators.

  • Watershed 101 – What is a watershed and why is it important? Students discover what watershed they live in, how watersheds function, and the effects of pollution.
  • Watersheds: Pollution Solutions – Program topics cover pollution prevention, the significance of
    wetlands and the current and future states of our water resources.
  • Interested in other topics? Contact the James River Association to discuss a lesson that works best for your classroom.

Watershed Classrooms Program: In-classroom program for school groups, 45 minutes, $150 for 34 participants

Meet the Education Staff

Nat Draper

Education Manager
Phone: (804) 267-9236

Brooke Newton

Upper James River Educator
Phone: (910) 262-6690

Charles Johnson

Environmental Educator
Phone: (804) 788-8811, ext 220

Caleigh Remocaldo

Environmental Educator
Phone: (804) 788-8811, ext 207

“What a Healthy River Means to Me” Poster Contest

The results are in from the seventh annual “What a Healthy River Means to Me” poster contest. Middle school students in the City of Richmond, City of Lynchburg, Goochland, Hanover County, James City County, Henrico County, Charles City County and Chesterfield that are situated within five miles of the James River, or have participated in our education programs were invited to illustrate “What a Healthy River Means to Me”.

This year we had 100 students submit entries that depicted what a healthy river means to them. View the top ten entries.

Discover how to protect and enjoy your river. Join the James River Association today! »