Program teaches students leadership and love of James River

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 4:34 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - In case your children enjoy getting outside, there’s a program bringing their love of the outdoors together with building leadership skills.

James River Leadership Expeditions is now accepting applications for high schoolers interested in advocating for the James River watershed. A major part of the year-long program is a week-long 40-mile paddle on the river, where students learn about water quality testing and other issues that impact the river’s future. During that trip, students will learn technical skills, like how to canoe and camp overnight. The program wraps up with a capstone project that students present to the community.

Nat Draper, director of education for the James River Association, says the capstone project could be on a wide range of topics and be completed by an action that helps preserve the James River’s future. Those could include a sign at a park about water quality, planting trees to help reduce sediment erosion, or helping with a trash pickup at a busy park. The goal is to help ensure the James River watershed is a healthy place and encourage students to become stewards of the river.

Students from across the James River watershed, including Buchanan and Lynchburg, are encouraged to apply. 30 students will be accepted. The James River Leadership Expedition Program is made possible in part by support from the Luck Companies Foundation Fund.

The program includes four sessions running from July 2023 through May 2024.