James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 8.03'
Flow: 17300 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 2:00am
Low Tide: 9:00am

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Pedals power JRA’s new ecology school

April 12, 2013 3:08pm

A few weeks back I wrote a post about the James River Association‘s new ecology school on Presquile National Wildlife Refuge, an island 20 miles south of Richmond in the tidal James. I didn’t get a chance in that post or in the Times-Dispatch column I wrote about it to mention one of the school’s coolest features. And since the grand opening of the entire complex is tomorrow, I thought I’d mention it now.

Credit: JRA

Credit: JRA

A local non-profit named Energy Cycle has built and installed a pedal-powered energy producing system that will run the water pump for the James River Association ecology school bunk.  Simply put, there are two bikes beneath the bunkhouse, where school groups can stay overnight. Students will pedal on one of two bicycles and the energy produced will be harnessed to provide power for the water pump that provides water to all the sinks and showers in the bunk house.  So, students won’t be able to shower without a friend down below them pedaling a bike. The idea is to show kids that power doesn’t just magically appear when you flip the light switch on. It takes real effort to produce electricity.

If you’re looking for something to do with the kids tomorrow, go check out Energy Cycle’s pedal-powered pumping system and the rest of the ecology school complex. The grand opening is free and open to the public. Click here for all the info.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?