Volunteer for the James
Join our effort to protect and restore America’s Founding River
How can you help the river?
At the James River Association we love our volunteers. Your hard work and dedication to the organization help us reach our mission to promote conservation and responsible stewardship of the James River. We couldn’t do the work we do without people like you! Below are key ways you can help make a difference.
Get your hands dirty.
Volunteers plant trees, remove invasive plant species, clean up trash, assemble and install rain barrels, build rain gardens, and more.
Educate the next generation of river stewards.
Trained volunteers assist with educational events, in-class lessons, and work as a certified First Mate on our education vessel.
Connect Virginians to their river.
Volunteers help by leading our interpretive paddle programs, assisting with outreach at events, constructing boat launches and exploring local waterways to assess river access.
Advocate for your river.
Patrol your river.
Our RiverRats program, now with over 200 volunteers, involves extensive training. RiverRats carry out at least three river patrols and one community action project per year. Action projects range from simply attending James River Association outreach events to tagging and tracking Atlantic Sturgeon with VCU researchers!
Monitor water quality.
Volunteers undergo training and follow our rigorous sampling protocol to upload river data (e.g., bacteria levels and turbidity) directly to our James River Watch website, which provides users with nearly real-time citizen-sourced data on river conditions from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year.
Whether it’s getting your hands dirty with one of our Watershed Restoration projects, acting as a voice for the river through our Advocacy efforts or helping out with office tasks, there is a job for everyone to play a part in making a cleaner James River.