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 us at (804) 788-8811 or volunteer@jrava.org.

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

James River Watch 2019: Revamped and Ready for a New Year

Do you plan to hop in a boat or take a jump in the James this summer? Then James River Watch is the program for you! James River Watch is designed to inform river users about recreation conditions in a timely fashion, and to provide the public with an additional tool...

Thank you volunteers for an amazing 2018!

RiverRats, trash collectors, storm drain painters, educators, and advocates - THANK YOU for your volunteerism in 2018! With all of the record-setting rain and flooding Mother Nature sent our way, we needed all the help we could get. Volunteers contributed over 5,500...

Volunteering for the James: Dick Wills

Volunteers play a huge role in helping the James River Association achieve its mission. Much of our work would not be possible without the knowledge and dedication of our volunteers. Whether it is a trash cleanup, water quality testing, invasive species management,...

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