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.

Get involved in our Watershed Restoration program!

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.

Get involved in our Education program!

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.

Discover ways to connect!

Advocate for your river.

Our Action Network made up of thousands of advocates contacts legislators, attends public hearings, researches policies and regulations, and helps us recruit others to speak up for the river.

Get involved in our Advocacy efforts!

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!

Get the details on our RiverRats program!

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.

Get involved in our Water Quality Monitoring program!


Ready to volunteer?

If you are interested in our volunteer programs, contact Volunteer Coordinator, Ben Hawkins, at (804) 788-8811 ext 204 or bhawkins@jrava.org.

Also, check our calendar for upcoming volunteering events and training sessions.

Be Aware of River Conditions

Before you hit the river this weekend, be aware of river conditions! By Victoria Williams, Water Quality Intern Summer is nearly here! What does that mean? Fun times spent by the James River with family and friends. Whether it’s fishing, swimming, boating or lounging...
Read More

Volunteering for the James

Meet Anne Bloomsburg who lives in Richmond, VA. She is an Editor & Regulations Analyst for the Commonwealth of Virginia. She became a James River Association River Rat in March 2017. Read below what volunteering for JRA means for her! "The James River is the best...
Read More

Volunteering for the James

Meet RiverRat Daphne Cole, 63, from Blackstone, VA. Daphne is a retired educator who taught Kindergarten through 11th grade for 38 years! When she is not on the river, she loves birdwatching, playing tennis, running, biking, gardening, and reading. Recently Daphne has...
Read More

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.

Deep Bottom Volunteer Event

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