Set Your Course Toward Spring with FOLAR!

Winter-Spring, 2017
Editorial and Photos contributed by Ken Newman 
Message from the FOLAR ChairThis Newsletter signals the emergence of a new and active 2017 for FOLAR and all of our friends. Yes, Spring has sprung and we begin the year with exciting opportunities to actively support FOLAR and enjoy the Appomattox River. March 25th is a great opportunity to help clean-up the river! Bring your family and friends for an enjoyable morning doing conservation work along the river. Then, there's April 8th when we'll be running the 2nd Annual 5K Trail Run. This event is open to all and proceeds go toward helping Special Olympics and FOLAR continue their important work for our community. On April 29th, we'll enjoy the 3rd Annual RiverFest. This year we welcome our program co-sponsor Fort Lee. They're bringing many new activities! All that is big news, but the REALLY BIG NEWS is the release of the Appomattox River Trail (ART) Master Plan! We're looking forward to presenting it to the community.
Wow - can you feel the energy? All of these plans and progress are due to you - our dedicated members, volunteers, partners, and donors. I invite you to read this Newsletter and share it with your friends. I welcome you to join in the fun, contribute to the ever-increasing momentum, and be a part of conserving and protecting the Appomattox River for all to enjoy. - Ken Newman

The ART Master Plan is a guide to locating and prioritizing shared-use trails with a coordinated signage system through six municipalities: Counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Prince George and Cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, and Petersburg. The trail offers walkers and cyclists safe, enjoyable connections to jobs, schools, transit, recreation opportunities, and nature. The document is complete and preparation for its release is underway. T he ART Master Plan project was made possible through a generous grant from The Cameron Foundation. 
Hopewell breaks ground on City Park renovation
A groundbreaking was held on March 1st for construction of the re-imagined plan for City Park which sits on the waterfront of the Appomattox River in Hopewell. City leaders along with leaders from Virginia American Water and American Water Charitable Foundation (AWCF) and members of FOLAR and other community members gathered at the site for the official ceremony. 

The renovation is being funded through a
Pictured from left to right are Doug Woodhouse, Operations Manger for Virginia American Water; Wayne Walton, Immediate Past Chair of FOLAR; Christina Lumin-Bailey, Hopewell Councilwoman; Kathy Pape, VP Mid-Atlantic Region for American Water; Tom Gates, Manager of Facilities at Hopewell Park & Recreation; Barry Suits, President VA/MD for American Water; Wendy Austin, Executive Director for FOLAR; Aaron Reidmiller, Director of Hopewell Parks & Recreation.
$150,000 grant from the AWCF and will feature nature-based play areas, new entrance, driveway and parking area. It will connect to the planned Hopewell Riverwalk which is part of the Appomattox River Trail (ART). FOLAR initiated the creation of City Park more than 10 years ago and has provided support for improvements and maintenance
since  then. Virginia American Water has long been a strong, supportive partner to FOLAR and our community.  The company was recently recognized by the Hopewell-Prince George Chamber of Commerce for it's conservation efforts and in 2015, Christian Volk at Virginia American Water was recognized as River Steward of the Year by FOLAR .
Trail Use and Safety Reminders
Recently, FOLAR has received several citizen reports of motorized vehicles being encountered on the Appomattox River Trail in Dinwiddie and Petersburg. These vehicles have done extensive damage causing potential erosion as well as posing safety concerns to bicyclists and pedestrians.  

F or your safety and the safety of others as well as the conservation of the natural surroundings, please observe the following rules. Please also  help share and inform the community of these rules.
  • Recent damage to trail.
    All municipal park rules apply and are posted at the parks or trailheads. 
  • The Appomattox River Trail is designed for bicyclists and pedestrians. 
  • All motorized equipment is prohibited except official and emergency vehicles. 
  • No hunting or discharging of firearms is allowed. 
  • The trail is open only during daylight hours. 
Please report trail misuse in these areas to the appropriate authorities. In  Dinwiddie, contact the Sheriff's office at (804) 469-4550. In  Petersburg contact the Police at 804-863-2703.

Thank you for your help maintaining a safe and beautiful Appomattox River Trail! 

Events that Connect You to the River

Spring River Clean-Up: Come out and help!
March 25th, 9AM - Noon
Pick-a-Park and come on out! The annual FOLAR Spring River Clean-up will be held on March 25 from 9am to noon.  Volunteers are needed to help pick up trash and debris at sites in Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Prince George.   FOLAR Site Captains will be at the following sites to provide you with supplies and assistance:

* Appomattox River Regional Park* Campbell's Bridge* Hopewell City Park* Hopewell City Marina* Ferndale Appomattox Riverside Park* Rosalyn Landing Park*Lake Chesdin Public Boat Ramp (Southern Shore)*Ettrick/VSU Trail* READ MORE

Photo by Fred Stein
 5 K Trail Run at Prince George Park
April 8th 9AM
The Prince George County Parks & Recreation Department, which oversees operation of the Appomattox River Regional Park, will showcase the park and facilities at the 2nd Annual "5K Trail Run" on Saturday, April 8th beginning at 9 am. Participants at all levels (run or walk) are encouraged to come out and enjoy the festivities. All profit and donations will go toward Special Olympics and Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR).  Cost to individuals is $20, stundents to grade 12 is $12, and couples is $30. The event will be held rain or shine.  REGISTER NOW!
April 29th, 10AM - 3PM
Mark your calendar and head down to the Appomattox Riverside Park on Ferndale Road for the Lower Appomattox
Like last year, a  wonderful outdoor celebration is planned including youth fishing  lessons canoeing and kayaking for first timers, wall climbing and obstacle course with FORT LEE. for nature lovers, a Virginia Naturalist will lead an expedition along the trail. You'll also be able to see and learn about the fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that help keep the river healthy with a Game and Inland Fisheries scientist. "Buggy" tours along the historic canal will also be available.  Adding variety and "something for everyone" you'll enjoy crafters, musicians, and food from local vendors. 

 Sponsors, Vendors, and Exhibitors being added everyday!   LEARN MORE
Photo by Lorne Field
If you care about keeping our River unspoiled, beautiful , and accessible for everyone to enjoy  for generations to come , we urge you to join or renew your FOLAR membership now .  

To protect our region's most precious resource we have to work everyday to continue progress on the Appomattox River's preservation and sensible use. 

FOLAR is doing just that by organizing conservation efforts like streamside clean-up projects; responsible development of park, trail, and water access; and delivering environmental stewardship programs that engage individuals, schools, communities, and businesses to work side by side.

We can't do it alone. We need you to join us in this mission. We need your time, your advocacy, your financial support. You can make a difference.
FOLAR Chair Ken Newman, left with John Randolph Foundation Immediate Past Chair Jerry Williams. Photo from John Randolph Foundation. 
John Randolph Foundation awards $50,000 grant to FOLAR 
At its 41st Semi-Annual Grants Award Ceremony in January, the John Randolph Foundation (JRF) issued $400,000 in grants in thee major funding areas to 17 local nonprofits in the Tri-Cities. The funding areas focus on the Foundation's mission to partner with local communities and organizations to support good health and bright futures - 69.5% of the total $391,074 in grant awards went toward health programs, 19.2% went toward educational programs and 11.3%went toward quality of life initiatives.

FOLAR is honored and excited to be one of this year's partners by received its first award from the Foundation. The $50,000 grant funding will be used for operational support of development and completion of the lower Appomattox River Trail (ART), see story above. As FOLAR Board Chair, Ken Newman noted when offering appreciation for the award, "The ART has the potential to touch and impact all of us by helping to increase the culture of health and active lifestyle, conserve and protect the natural environment, and bring economic growth." A large body of evidence has shown that spending time in nature is responsible for many measurable health benefits, including improved short-term memory and possible anti-cancer effects, and that trails are stimulating economic growth

FOLAR  is also proud to partner with the John Randolph Foundation to offer the Friends of the Lower Appomattox River Environmental Stewardship Scholarship for students attending local high schools.

FOLAR Board members at FOLAR FALL FLING event in December 2016. Photo by John Rooney.

FOLAR earns national recognition 
Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR) has been recognized by the Standards for Excellence┬« Institute as having met all the requirements for the Standards for Excellence Standards Basics program. The Standards for Excellence Institute┬« is a national initiative established to promote the highest standards of ethics, effectiveness, and accountability in nonprofit governance, management, and operations, and to help all nonprofit organizations meet these high benchmarks. "The Board of Directors, staff, and members of FOLAR pride ourselves on our effectiveness, ethics, accountability, and transparency which we recognize is our responsibility to our community and our contributors. The Standards for Excellence reflects this commitment and provides the confidence in our organization that is critical in the philanthropic environment," stated Wendy Austin, Executive Director of FOLAR, who went on to say, "We are very appreciative of
The  Cameron Foundation 's g enerous support which enabled FOLAR to participate in the Standards  for Excellence program." FOLAR was also honored with the Cameron Foundation's Handy L. Logo Lindsey Award for Excellence in Organizational Management in October 2016 during the Foundation's annual ceremony. The Cameron Foundation provides support for Standards of Excellence participation as part of its overall  capacity-building program  for nonprofit organizations.

Meet 2017 FOLAR Chair, Ken Newman   
Ken Newman
Ken has been a FOLAR volunteer for many years and a Board Member for two years.  Since his retirement in 2013, Ken has been active in local nonprofits. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of Rebuilding Together - Tri-Cities where he chaired the Communications Committee and helped develop communications strategies to promote volunteerism and encourage financial support for free home repairs for low-income seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans and families with children in Petersburg and the surrounding areas.  Currently, as Chairman of the Friends of the Lower Appomattox River [FOLAR], Ken leads the Board in their mission to work in partnership with communities to conserve and protect the Appomattox River for all to enjoy.  Ken is also an avid photographer and uses his photographic skills to promote regional tourism and nature conservation - especially along the Appomattox River!
During his professional career, Ken held numerous technical and executive positions.  He is graduated from Virginia Tech with a Master of Science Degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Virginia State University.  Ken also holds eight product and design patents in the United States and abroad. 

PROGRAM: History of the Lower Appomattox River presented by the Colonial Heights Historical Society . Two parts: March 8th and April 11, 7pm at the Colonial Heights Library.
Volunteers  have been the strength of FOLAR throughout our 15 year history delivering amazing results all along the Lower Appomattox River. From building trails, to river clean-ups, to delivering special events for enjoying the river, and administrative/office support - our volunteers embody the dedication, enthusiasm and care for our environment.  Learn how you can get involved!
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AmazonSmile - You Shop. Amazon Donates!
When you shop with Amazon, please consider using  AmazonSmile  for your future purchases.  When you do, you'll be able to  select FOLAR  as your charity and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase to support FOLAR's work to conserve and protect the beautiful Lower Appomattox River!  It's easy to participate.  Just go to
 instead of and use your same Amazon login information and password.  You'll be prompted to select your favorite charity.  It's simple, it's helpful and - it's EASY! Thank you for your support.