James River Leadership Academy


The James River Leadership Academy (JRLA) is a year-long leadership program for rising 10th and 11th grade high school students who are interested in advocating for the future of the James River. The goal of JRLA is to engage, develop, train, and inspire participants in preparation of taking personal and community-wide action to address issues facing the James River.



Program Impacts

Since 2015, JRLA has influenced positive change throughout our 10,000 square mile watershed.

  • 46 students engaged
  • 13 schools and 7 counties represented
  • 264 community service hours completed
  • 70 + volunteers engaged
  • 15 + professional mentors engaged
  • 3 bird nesting platforms built
  • 25 acres of riparian buffer zone restored
  • 5 education and outreach materials of various media generated
  • 3 art installations created

JRLA Program Overview

Participants commit to JRLA for one academic year during which they participate in four Leadership Sessions. The activities during these Sessions include discussions, team building exercises, environmental ethics, and outdoor appreciation.

JRLA participants will be required to implement a “community-based action project” outside of the Leadership Sessions. JRLA staff will help students meet project goals by matching them with a professional mentor to create project objectives and timelines. In addition, JRLA staff will provide an ongoing list of events and opportunities throughout the watershed so students stay engaged with community-based environmental awareness.



Richmond Area
James River Leadership Academy

Session I — June 18 – 22, 2018
Session II — November 10 – 11, 2018
Session III — January 12, 2019
 Session IV — May 4th, 2019

Williamsburg Area
James River Leadership Academy

Session I — July 16 – 20, 2018
Session II — Nov. 3 – 4, 2018
Session III — Jan. 26, 2019
Session IV — May 4, 2019

Program Information Packet

JRLA Richmond Information Packet 2018 (PDF)



JRLA Application 2018 (PDF)

Program Information Packet

JRLA Williamsburg Information Packet 2018 (PDF)


For more information

If your group or organization would like more information about the James River Leadership Academy, please contact Charles Johnson, Environmental Educator, (804)788-8811 ext 220 or cjohnson@jrava.org.

James River Leadership Academy