Spring has Sprung!

Spring 2020


Spring River Clean-Up -  CANCELLED
March 28th, 9AM - Noon
Pick-a-Park and come on out! Here's your opportunity to get outside, and do some good! The annual  FOLAR Spring River Clean-up will be held on March 28 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.  With an investment of just three short hours, you'll feel invigorated and renewed knowing you've helped your community, FOLAR and the beautiful Appomattox River! 
April 4th, 9AM  
The Prince George County Parks & Recreation Department, which oversees operation of the Appomattox River Regional Park, will showcase the park and facilities with a "5K Trail Run" on Saturday, April 4th beginning at 9 a.m. A Children's Fun Run will also be held for ages 14 and younger. Participants at all levels 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 and couples registration is $30. Students will be assessed $12 through grade 12.  The event will be held rain or shine.

2nd Annual State of the Trail Stakeholder 
More than 50 participants from all six localities that border the lower Appomattox River as well as from The Cameron Foundation, Crater Health District, Crater Planning District Commission (Crater PDC), Fort Lee, James River Soil & Water Conservation District, the John Randolph Foundation, Plan RVA, PHOPS/Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Virginia's Gateway Region, met together with the Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR) for the second time since the release of the Appomattox River Trail Master Plan
Heather Barrar, FOLAR Regional Trails Program Director, discussing trail safety with Community Police Officers.
in February 2017. The day-long meeting provided an update
of trail projects and progress on building the 20+-mile long Appomattox River Trail system. It  also served as an introduction to a new series of regional forums titled COLLECTIVE IMPACT ON THE APPOMATTOX RIVER to  be convened through the year by FOLAR and the Crater PDC with the help of a team of facilitators from the University of Virginia Institute for Engagement & Negotiation. The forums are made possible through funding from the Virginia Department of Forestry Urban & Community Grant Program. 

2020 - Scenic River 50TH Anniversary 
The lower Appomattox River is one of 33 designated Scenic Rivers in Virginia! It was designated for its outstanding aesthetic, natural, historic and recreational features through a legislative process that began at the local level and ended with a signature by the governor. FOLAR is actively participating in the celebration of the 50TH Anniversary  of the program administrated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Watch for updates on activities through the year and visit your Scenic Rivers!

Leadership Changes: New Board Officers Elected

The members of the FOLAR Board of Directors elected a new slate of officers to lead FOLAR in 2020. Pictured above left to right: Mike Golden from Chesterfield County, who was serving as Vice-chair has succeeded Ken Newman as Chairman; Sam Hayes from Dinwiddie County is the newly elected Vice-Chairman; Debbie Newman from Prince George County is Treasurer; and Betty Estes from Colonial Heights is Secretary.  
     Mike is the retired Director of Chesterfield County Parks & Recreation where he oversaw a $10 million operating budget, and a $30-$40 million, five-year Capital Improvement Plan. He led major expansion of greenways, conservation areas, and programs. Sam is a transportation  engineer with Moffat & Nichol who retired from VDOT in 2017 where he served as the Project Manager of the Virginia Capital Trail project. Debbie has served as the FOLAR Treasurer for four years and Betty is a real estate broker and owner of Rockwater Realty. 
     We are fortunate to have such tremendous expertise on the executive board and look forward to a successful year of  work toward achieving the vision of a pristine Appomattox River and a world-class trail. 

Retiring Chairman Ken Newman Honored
At it's December 2019 meeting the Board of Directors honored retiring Chairman, Ken Newman (Pictured right with Mike Golden) for his leadership and accomplishments in support of FOLAR and the region. Ken was elected chair in 2016, succeeding long-time leader Wayne Walton. During Ken's chairmanship FOLAR achieved significant accomplishments including the development of the Appomattox River Trail Master Plan, construction of the Hopewell Riverwalk Phase 1, signage in Hopewell and Petersburg along the river, Pocahontas Island improvements with regional Rotary Clubs, development of the Petersburg Patton Park Master Plan, land acquisition and transfers, hired Regional Trails Program Director, added new members to the board, establishment of the FOLAR Environmental Stewardship Scholarship with support from the Victor and Reiko Liu Charitable Fund, new GIS mapping, and many more. Ken thanked all of FOLAR - board members, volunteers, staff, and funders and donors for their help in making it all possible.

John Randolph Foundation Provides Support for Strength and Sustainability
FOLAR Executive Director, Wendy Austin, receives award from John Randolph Foundation Trustee, Brad Kaufman. Photo by Adrienne Wallace for The Dinwiddie Monitor.
FOLAR was honored to receive a grant from the John Randolph Foundation (JRF) at their
47th Community Partners Grant Awards in January. "We are very grateful to the Foundation board and staff for their ongoing support and their commitment to  providing grants to community partners that help build long-term capacity and effectiveness for the work in which we are engaged," said FOLAR Executive Director Wendy Austin. "This support has allow FOLAR to take on the complex task of completing the Appomattox River Trail - in collaboration with many partners - as a path to wellness and prosperity for our region." FOLAR was one of 19 community organizations to receive a total of $410,600 from the Foundation.

WestRock  Cares About Community
 We at FOLAR are proud to have the local WestRock Company in Hopewell as a corporate partner. Pictured is James Osborne, General Manager of the Hopewell facility presenting Wendy Austin, with a contribution to FOLAR. WestRock's longtime support helps FOLAR prepare for challenges and allows us to better plan for the future.
Volunteers  have been the strength of FOLAR throughout our 20 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, our volunteers embody the dedication, enthusiasm and care for our environment.  Learn how you can get involved!

Financial support by our local corporations and foundations has enabled the current progress in the river's preservation and use. Their support has enabled FOLAR to make a difference by organizing conservation efforts like streamside clean-up projects; developing park, trail, and water access; and delivering environmental stewardship programs that engage individuals, schools, communities, and businesses to work side by side. Now, FOLAR needs those of us who are a part of the communities our river touches to join in support.
Thank you to our many sponsors who help support   FOLAR's work!
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 0.05% 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.
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