James River Advisory Council recognizes ‘Stewards of the River’

April 28, 2016

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VIRGINIA — Four individuals and a nonprofit organization were recognized today as the 2016 James River Advisory Council’s Stewards of the River.

Established in 2006, the annual awards go to people or groups who’ve made measurable, positive impacts to the James River and surrounding communities. The awards were presented during JRAC’s spring meeting at the Walkerton Tavern in Henrico County.

Photos of awardees are available at the links below.

Education Award
Sister Jean Ryan,
SBS FrancisEmma Inc.
Ryan manages the gardens and grounds of the 2,200-acre St. Francis de Sales and St. Emma properties on the James River in Powhatan County. She works with more than 100 volunteers to develop recreational trails, identify flora and fauna and provide environmental educational opportunities at the site. Ryan is known for engaging as many people and organizations as possible in the many projects she manages. She is ensuring future generations will continue to admire, respect and care for the James.

Communication Award
Heather Myers
Volunteer, HandsOn Greater Richmond
Myers is an asset to the James River through her role as volunteer leader for the James River Park System. She recruits volunteers for monthly park cleanups and instills in them the

importance of serving their community. Her efforts have helped the park reach a larger volunteer base, making it one of the region’s top places to volunteer.

Community Partnership Award
Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR)
FOLAR is a regional nonprofit organization that does an amazing amount of work for the Appomattox River, a tributary of the James. FOLAR’s partnerships and efforts provide for cleanups, stream restoration, water-quality monitoring, environmental education, litter prevention and the development of the Appomattox River Heritage Trail, all of which contribute to people’s enjoyment of the Appomattox. FOLAR’s positive influence can be seen throughout the Tri-Cities and Richmond.

Guardian Award
Nathan Burrell
Manager, James River Park System
Burrell commits his professional and personal time to enhancing Richmond’s crown jewel, James River Park. He knows a healthy river is essential to providing outdoor recreation opportunities for all. He started his career as an intern working on park trails and has developed several trials in the city, including those at Larus Park and the 14th Street whitewater takeout. As a member of several boards and commissions, he is devoted to bringing the region together to support the James.

Exceptional Service Award
Mike Golden
Retired Director, Chesterfield County Department of Parks and Recreation
During his 24-year tenure as the county’s parks and recreation director, Golden was instrumental in acquiring new parks and protecting land along the James and Appomattox rivers. These lands total more than 2,300 acres and stretch along nine miles of river. He promoted community engagement through programs such as Outdoor Adventures, which introduced the public to summer camps, hiking, sailing and kayaking. He has been a steadfast supporter of JRAC since its inception and is truly an advocate for the James River.

The James River Advisory Council’s mission is to promote and protect the James River as one of Central Virginia’s greatest assets and one of America’s unique rivers. JRAC brings people from throughout the region to a common table where representatives from local, state and federal government, businesses and industry, community organizations, as well as citizens, share ideas and talk objectively and constructively about river issues and education.