On June 25, a group of high school students and teachers from around the state took off on the trip of a lifetime – a month-long, 340-mile expedition down the length of the James River. Led by two guides from the James River Association, the team consists of three students and a science teacher from each of four schools around the state: Open High School in Richmond, E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Bethel High School in Hampton, and Albemarle High School near Charlottesville. The journey started at the river’s headwaters in Iron Gate, VA, and will finish at the mouth of the James in Hampton, VA on July 22.
According to the James River Association, the trip will be “340-mile lesson in environmental stewardship and help create a vision for the next century of conservation of this treasured river.” A $50,000 grant from Dominion Resources is underwriting the cost of the trip.
The group will participate in a variety of activities, including water quality monitoring, river resource mapping and watershed restoration efforts. They will tour a riverside farm whose best-management practices are a model in agricultural conservation, a city working to reduce its contribution to storm water runoff pollution, a large tract of undeveloped land protected for future generations by a conservation easement, and a power plant investing in cleaner air and water.
The Expedition will also explore the rich historical and cultural traditions along the James River, traveling by canoes, bateau, rafts, and work boats, and meeting with representatives from Virginia Indian tribes and other experts on the river’s history, culture and ecology. Participating students were selected from among applicants from high schools across the James River watershed, which represents 25 percent of the land area in Virginia. One of those students is Bellevue resident Cara Chiocca from Open High School. (Caleigh Remocaldo and Kelvin Tyler are the other two Open High students). Follow the day-to-day adventures of this remarkable team on their incredible journey at www.JamesRiverAssociation.org/expedition.