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Hills & Heights

James River Association’s ‘Kids in Kayaks’ program aims to establish a lifelong love for our waterways

The James River Association (JRA) will once again be providing their annual ‘Kids in Kayaks’ programs to get students in the Middle and Lower James River Watershed on the water for several days of adventure, appreciation, and education.

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The James River Association (JRA) will once again be providing their annual ‘Kids in Kayaks’ programs to get students in the Middle and Lower James River Watershed on the water for several days of adventure, appreciation, and education.
The program began at the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and Baltimore National Heritage Area in 2015. In 2018, Fort Monroe created a new chapter in collaboration with the James River Association and National Parks Conservation Association.

Kids in Kayaks exposes a diverse group of middle school-age students to kayaking while they also learn environmental topics covered in the 8th Grade Virginia Science Standards Of Learning (SOL). This program gives students practical life skills, and encourages them to enjoy their surrounding environment.

“It is essential for students to have hands-on experience within a wetland to truly understand the beauty and science that happens daily.” says Katie Ferrell, JRA’s Lower James Senior Environmental Educator. “We want students to have these opportunities to become responsible environmental stewards that value the James River. It is of utmost importance to teach our students the importance of keeping our waterways safe, clean, and viable for many generations to come; teaching our students to love the James River is our number one priority because if you love something you nurture it into the future.”

Student participants will experience a variety of fun activities that connect them to the river and teach them about the importance of natural resources. These activities include paddle trips, seine netting, an exercise called ‘Wetlands in a Bottle’ that drives home the infrastructure and importance of our wetlands, and several lessons based around watershed education.

“The James River Association is so excited to partner with Newport News Parks and Rec, James City County Parks and Rec, Newport News Public Schools, and Hampton City schools for another great year of kids in kayaks!” Ferrell continues. “This is a great way to safely get kids outdoors this summer. We cannot wait to get back on the water!”

Programs will be provided through Hampton City Schools, Newport News Parks and Recreation, Newport News Public Schools, James City County Parks and Recreation, and the Richmond Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club.

Ken Samuel, Education Manager for the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, reflects on past Kids in Kayaks programming: “A majority of the students had an absolute blast. They had a great time in the canoes racing against their friends. They enjoyed the pontoon boat and being able to handle different varieties of fish, and also being able to hold the crabs and know whether they were male or female. They also talked about lazily floating along the river, seeing the houses along the banks, and feeling the peacefulness of the water. It was a new experience for many of them and their confidence and stamina grew as the week went on.”

As part of the program, JRA is also partnering with the Richmond Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club to provide free pontoon boat trips for families on Saturday, May 15. JRA educators will facilitate the trips and teach participants about current issues facing the James River, and efforts to improve its health.

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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Rezoning Request for a Mixed Use Building at Dunston and Westover Hill Boulevard

The rezoning – Planning Meeting (virtual) is scheduled for May 17th at 1:30pm and the request is to change from R-5 Residential.

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Spotted on Forest View Neighborhood Facebook posted by Ashley

The rezoning signs have gone up for the Old Christmas Tree Lot that’s across from the Valero. The developer is applying for a Special Use Permit (R-63). It’s currently a R-5 Residential.
The rezoning – Planning Meeting (virtual) is scheduled for May 17th at 1:30pm. https://richmondva.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx I understand that you can submit comments ahead of the meeting.
The developer (whom I have no association with- just sharing what I know) is planning on building a mix use building.
– 3 Story Building
– The third floor will be SIX Apartments ( Four 1 bedroom apartments and Two 2 bedroom apartments).
– The second floor will be office space
– And the first floor will be retail
– Trash service will be a dumpster with a privacy screen
– UPDATED: 9 spots parking spots + 1 handicapped parking spot = 10 parking spots behind the building but expected street parking will be used
– At least a year lease for the apartments / targeting young professionals

The images were distributed at a Forest Hill Neighborhood Association Meeting.

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Community

South of the James Community Festival Morphing into Mile of Music at Forest Hill Park

On Saturday, June 12th you’ll be able to walk around Forest Hill Park and enjoy some sweet sounds.

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In previous years the Richmond Symphony would set up their really big tent and host music. This year they’re still playing music but it’s a little different. On Saturday, June 12th you’ll be able to walk around Forest Hill Park and enjoy some sweet sounds.

South of the James Community Festival

While we are encouraged by the progress being made in the state of Virginia, the Richmond Symphony has decided to take a different direction with the South of the James Community Festival this year, primarily due to COVID and still needing to maintain social distancing protocols, etc. With that in mind, we are moving forward with an alternative approach.

Please join us at the new event, Mile for Music: https://fb.me/e/1eT2qOcJt

Over the course of two hours, Mile of Music will have several performing groups set-up along an approximate 1-mile route within Forest Hill Park – you can take your time to enjoy music in the park from 2-4pm! Hope to see you there!

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Richmond BizSense Reporting: Nonprofit Little Hands that Clothes Babies Moves Into Stratford Hills

The nonprofit takes donated clothes and other items and distributes them to children.

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From Richmond BizSense.com:

Little Hands opened a new office at 7101-L Forest Hill Ave. in the Shops at Stratford Hills in early April. The nonprofit collects donated new and like-new clothing, diapers, soap and other items for children up to 3 years old and then distributes the donations to children referred by its partner network.

“We provide essentials to young children in need in the greater Richmond area,” founder and executive director Taylor Keeney said. “That (age range) is in particular a time when kids are growing and constantly needing new clothing and gear.”

Little Hands launched out of Keeney’s garage in 2019, and by the fall of that year moved into a classroom at Second Baptist Church in Henrico. After heightened demand spurred by the pandemic, the nonprofit relocated again.

Details from Little Hands Instagram on how you can make a donation.

We are opening the doors to our new office on Wednesday! Come see us this week!

Our new office is located at 7101 Forest Hill Ave., Suite L, Richmond, VA 23225. It is in the Shops at Stratford Hills, right in between Publix and Target.

All donations must be brought to the back door. When you pull into the shopping center, drive around to the back (either around the Publix or Target). There is a sign on the Little Hands door! Ring the doorbell and a volunteer will meet you at the door.

For a refersher on the items we accept, and what must be new versus gently used, visit www.littlehandsva.org/how-to-help.

We will be posting our regular hours for the spring later this week, including some Saturday hours coming up in April. See you soon!

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