The James River flows right beside our campus and through the heart of our city, making it a crucial economic resource, a living laboratory, and a hub of recreation. Many organizations in greater Richmond are working with the river in a variety of capacities, ranging from conservation and recreation to historic interpretation and art to technology and innovation.

  • Campus Connection

    Here are some organizations and opportunities on campus that you can connect to and get involved with.

    • GreenUR: GreenUR is the University of Richmond’s student sustainability board. They advocate for the maintenance of environmentally-friendly practice both on and off campus. You can find out more on their Facebook page.
    • University of Richmond Outdoor Alliance: Great resource to learn more about the outdoor and green programs available for students at the University. You can find out more on the Office of Sustainability’s URSA page.
    • The River City Project: The River City Project aims to integrate sustainability across the curriculum. During the two-day workshop, core concepts of sustainability including the environmental, social, and economic pillars of sustainability will be introduced and participants will be guided through the process of linking these ideas to a course they teach. You can find out more on the Office of Sustainability’s River City Project page.
  • Learn

    Here are some resources and classes that dive deeper into the issues surrounding the James River.

    • BIOL 111 Marine Biology of the Chesapeake Bay: Introduction to the ecology and biological diversity of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. Environmental issues facing the bay will be explored through direct data collection, observation, and hands-on activities. This is a service-learning course and students will join local 5th-grade classrooms to help teach elementary students about the bay. Will not serve as basis for further work in science nor meet entrance requirements for any health profession. Three lecture and three laboratory hours per week.
    • ENVR 315 Landscape Ecology: Applied science that focuses on the development, consequences, and management of environmental patterns. These patterns include the spatial distributions of species and the environment resources upon which they depend. Attention is paid to the importance of scale in natural resource management. Landscape ecology also emphasizes the role of humans in the environment.
    • GEOG 215 Geography of the James River Watershed: Study of the local environments and protected areas within the James River watershed. Explores the natural and human connections that define the resource challenges and opportunities within this urban watershed.
    Students can also apply to be a part of the Earth Lodge Living Learning Community. Founded in 2005 as the Outdoor House, Earth Lodge provides students interested in the outdoors the opportunity to live and study together, promoting interdisciplinary engagement and discussion.

    For more information about the different ways to study the James River at UR, please contact Dr. Todd Lookingbill at tlooking@richmond.edu.

  • Community Action

    Want to get a more hands-on experience? Here are some organizations and groups that are actively working on these issues and with which you can engage!

    • City of Richmond Office of Sustainability: City of Richmond Sustainability Office is working to meet the current environmental, social and economic needs of the Richmond community without compromising the ability of future generations to meet those same needs. Part of their mission is to emphasize and promote sustainability among Richmond residents, families, and businesses in order to make the community more viable and attractive.
    • Envision the James: Envision the James is an on-going conservation initiative that works with communities and partners in the James River watershed to plan and implement projects that sustain and enhance the region’s natural and cultural heritage, local economies, wildlife abundance, and outdoor recreation assets for present and future generations.
    • James River Parks System: The James River Park System, a unique part of Richmond’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, includes over 550 acres of shoreline and islands in the capital of Virginia, extending in 14 sections from the Huguenot Bridge in the west to a half mile beyond the I-95 Bridge in the east. It includes most of the fall line of the James River. Rocks, rapids, meadows, and forests make for an area of unspoiled natural beauty, a little bit of wilderness in the heart of the city. James River Park system is an ongoing source of citizen support for the conservation, enhancement, and enjoyment of the James River Parks and their natural and historic environments.
    • James River Association: The James River Association is a non-profit in downtown Richmond that works to promote conservation and responsible stewardship of the James River and its abundant natural resources through its five core programs: watershed restoration, education, outreach, river advocacy, and its RiverKeeper program.