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Outdoors

Virginia Capital Trail announces new $20,000 fund to increase access to outdoor recreation, Capital Trail

The Capital Trail Outdoor Equity Fund will include the availability of $20,000 for programs that increase equitable access to outdoor recreation and utilize the Virginia Capital Trail.

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The Virginia Capital Trail Foundation (VCTF) released its Capital Trail Outdoor Equity Fund with the availability of $20,000 for programs that increase access to outdoor recreation and the Virginia Capital Trail.

The Capital Trail Outdoor Equity Fund was established in 2021 to expand Trail usage through outdoor programming that provides easy access to the Virginia Capital Trail, a 52-mile paved recreational trail that stretches from Richmond to Williamsburg. Grant funding will help non-profit organizations build and implement programs that work toward increasing equity and access in outdoor recreation. The focus will be on programs or projects that serve the BIPOC, tribes, low-income neighborhoods, and people with physical or intellectual disabilities.

“The Virginia Capital Trail is a community asset that offers protected bike-and-pedestrian infrastructure and free outdoor recreation. We believe it should be easily accessible to everyone in the community,” shares Cat Anthony, executive director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation. “We are honored to work alongside community partners to provide greater equitable access to recreational programming, outdoor experiences, and active living. I am extremely grateful to Dominion Energy and our Trail supporters for funding this opportunity.”

Last year, seven nonprofit organizations received funding totaling over $23,000 for outdoor programs that included cycling, fishing, hiking, and running. Online grant applications must be submitted by August 12, 2022. Any certified nonprofit organization or state, local, regional, tribal, educational or government entity can apply. The approved funding will range between $1,000 to $5,000 for program and operating expenditures.

Grant applications can be found here.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.

Community

Local Artists Renew Gift to Protect “The View”

“We hope these prints will continue to inspire appreciation for our living heritage and the ‘view that named Richmond’” said artist Camden Whitehead.

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Twenty years ago local artists Camden Whitehead and Matthew Robins were invited to show their work in London in the exhibit “The View”. They were invited to Richmond upon Thames to see the bend in the Thames River from Richmond Hill from which many people have associated with the “View that Named Richmond” due to similarities to the bend in the James River as seen from Libby Hill.

The exhibition in England was organized to commemorate the centenary of an act of Parliament that protects the view of the Thames seen from Richmond Hill. Proceeds from the sale of artwork benefited the £8.3 million London’s Arcadia project. The project to restore, open and enhance the view and manage all aspects of the river environment for both people and wildlife was the first implementation of the Thames Landscape Strategy.

The Thames from Richmond Hill (2002) by Camden Whitehead

To commemorate the participation of two American artists, and in honor of the special relationship established through the Sister Cities Commission since 1991, the organizers invited Whitehead and Robins to produce companion paintings from Libby Hill. In total four paintings were sold to benefit the Thames Landscape Strategy.  

Today, Whitehead and Robins have donated to Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) a limited edition of four color prints produced by Worth Higgins & Associates on archival paper (sheet size 16 1/2 x 22 in.), signed by the artists. They hope that this gift will facilitate financial contributions in support of CRLC’s acquisition and protection of the Dock Street property.

“We hope these prints will continue to inspire appreciation for our living heritage and the ‘view that named Richmond’” said artist Camden Whitehead.

James River, morning (2002) by Matthew Todd Robins

 In 2021 after decades of civic and non-profit groups working to preserve “the view that named Richmond,” The Conservation Fund, the James River Association and the Capital Region Land Conservancy joined forces to purchase the 5.2 acre Dock Street parcel for $5.2 million. More than 4 acres of this property will be donated to the City of Richmond Parks and Recreation after a conservation easement is recorded to protect the view, preserve public access as a park in perpetuity, and enhance water quality of the James River. The project will also allow for the Virginia Capital Trail to be completed along Dock Street at Great Shiplock Park and connect the east riverfront as was contemplated in the Richmond Riverfront Plan.

The Thames at Richmond, evening (2002) by Matthew Todd Robins

Contributors to CRLC who designate their gifts of $1,000 or $2,000 or more toward the Dock Street project will receive a set of prints by Whitehead or Robins respectively. Any amount will help CRLC meet a $250,000 challenge grant from The Cabell Foundation where every donation is matched dollar-for-dollar. Please help The Capital Region Land Conservancy close the gap on raising the funds.

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 About Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC):  Incorporated in March 2005 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, CRLC seeks to conserve and protect the natural and historic land and water resources of Virginia’s Capital Region for the benefit of current and future generations. Visit www.capitalregionland.org  to learn more about CRLC’s land conservation programs.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Community

Enjoy Virginia’s National Parks for Free on National Public Lands Day

On September 24th all of Virginia’s 22 national parks will be free to enter on National Public Lands Day.

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Established in 1994 and held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, National Public Lands Day is traditionally the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. It celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation, and health benefits. This year, National Public Lands Day falls on September 24, 2022.

National Public Lands Day is organized annually and led by the National Environmental Education Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service and other federal agencies. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers roll up their sleeves to help restore and preserve public lands of all types and sizes—from iconic national parks and rivers to local urban green spaces and everything in between. National Public Lands Day is special because it provides all lovers of the environment—old and new—an opportunity to show our appreciation for these unique places.

Get Involved

There are many ways to participate in National Public Lands Day. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to #RecreateResponsibly!

The most popular of Virginia’s 22 National Parks is The Shenandoah National Park which includes the Appalachian Trail.

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Downtown

Enjoy James River Week with events across the watershed next week

James River Week officially begins on Saturday, September 10 and runs through Saturday, September 17, kicking off with the 23rd year of JRAC’s James River Regional Cleanup from 9am-noon on Saturday, September 10th.

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James River Week, an annual celebration of river-based adventures, trips, educational opportunities and more – all to celebrate Virginia’s greatest natural asset, the James River – kicks off Saturday, September 10th.

Six organizations including the James River Association (JRA), James River Advisory Council (JRAC), Friends of the James River Park (FOJRP), Maymont, Central Virginia Waste Management Authority, Chesterfield County Parks & Recreation, and Chesterfield County Public Library teamed up earlier this year to plan James River Week 2022, and they have recruited partners and participants from across the watershed to make this year’s event better than ever.

James River Week officially begins on Saturday, September 10 and runs through Saturday, September 17, kicking off with the 23rd year of JRAC’s James River Regional Cleanup from 9am-noon on Saturday, September 10th. This beloved cleanup is a true collaboration spanning more than 75 miles of the James River. Walkers, powerboats, paddle craft, and hikers can all participate by registering through JRAC’s website.

“JRAC enjoys the collaboration and community engagement during this special week!” said Janit Llewellyn, Co-Chair for JRAC. “Come out and enjoy a program, event or gathering to celebrate our region’s most notable gem, the James River.”

The first day of James River Week also features the return of Hardywood’s James River Jamboree at their West Creek location in the greater Richmond area. The day will be packed full of interactive vendors, music, cold beer, and tasty food trucks, with proceeds benefiting the James River Association.

Families can participate in several kid-friendly activities during the week, including James River Story Time at Chesterfield County Public Library, Toddler Time at Maymont, and a James River Bateaus experience at Deep Run Recreation Center in Henrico County.

“James River Week is a great time for Virginians to celebrate the great river resource that flows through our state,” said Krista Weatherford, Director of Programming and Community Engagement for Maymont. “Maymont is excited to participate as a location where people can learn about the river’s ecology at The Robins Nature Center or participate in engaging activities and programs.”

Animal lovers will delight in Maymont’s Run of the River at their Robins Nature Center, as well as Animals of the River Live! at Libbie Mill Library, while recreationists can revel in several opportunities to enjoy time both on and by the water, from historic batteau trips provided by JRA in Lynchburg to Hiking the Belle Isle Loop with Blue Sky Fund.

River lovers can make a difference for the James by attending a rain barrel workshop at Broad Rock Branch library, or volunteering with Friends of the James River Park System. Richmonders can also attend several fun events celebrating the river, including a river-themed trivia night at Starr Hill Brewery, as well as the JRPS 50th Birthday Party, in celebration of the James River Park System, where participants will have the chance to try out a number of the different activities available in the park system.

“Friends of the James River Park is proud to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of the James River Park System during James River Week this year,” said Joshua Stutz, Executive Director for Friends of the James River Park. “We are excited to see so many great partnerships taking place in support of the James River!”

Perhaps one of the most anticipated events of James River Week, JRA’s The Great Return of the Atlantic Sturgeon trips give the public an opportunity to learn about this “living fossil”. Atlantic sturgeon spend their adult years in the Atlantic Ocean, but return to the rivers where they were born twice a year to spawn. They are often seen breaching, which can make for a spectacular sight!

“Is there a better way to celebrate James River Week than by watching Atlantic sturgeon splashing their way upriver to Richmond?,” said Justin Doyle, Director of Community Conservation for the James River Association. “Atlantic sturgeon make their fall spawning migration up the James at the end each summer and can be seen breaching as far upriver as Richmond in September. We look forward to welcoming participants on the Spirit of the James to catch a glimpse of this charismatic fish species that swam with the dinosaurs.”

Last but not least – back for its second year with three times the number of restaurants participating in 2021 – ‘Seafood for the James’ will feature 20+ eateries, bar & grills, wine bars, and more giving back to the river with locations all across the watershed. 10% of select seafood and fish dishes at participating restaurants will be donated to JRA to protect and conserve the James River.

For a complete list of all James River Week events and opportunities including dates, times and more, please click here.

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