River experience

Brian Williams of DRBA explains paddling basics to youth at the epic river cxperience event.

The Dan River Basin Association provided more than 50 youth from Danville and Pittsylvania and Caswell counties with an epic river experience at Abreu-Grogan Park on the Dan River. DRBA offered two, one-day events in June and July.   During the events, youth rotated through stations learning about the river, paddling and water safety. The events were funded by a grant through the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region.   

“Providing youth in the area with a safe and memorable learning experience is our goal,” said Kathy Milam, executive director of the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region. “We provided support because we believe that when youth personally enjoy the river in their own community, they will be proud of it and want to share the experience with others.”

DRBA partnered with Danville Parks and Recreation to provide the two Epic River Experiences. The City of Danville also provided the kayaks as in-kind towards the events.

“The youth loved paddling on the Dan River,” said Maggie Brown, outdoor recreation coordinator of Danville Parks and Recreation. “For many of them, it was their first experience with being on the water so learning how to paddle and to always wear a life jacket was important.”

Four stations were provided that focused on river ecology, water safety, paddling, and water quality testing. The stations gave hands-on learning opportunities that aligned with DRBA’s mission of preserving and promoting the natural and cultural resources of the basin through recreation, education, and stewardship.

“After both events, the youth reported feeling more confident, more engaged in their community, excited to take on new challenges and more motivated to become advocates for the protection of natural resources,” said Krista Hodges, education manager of the Dan River Basin Association. “Our goal was to provide them this experience so they can enjoy the river, and then want to protect it.”

The Dan River is the source of drinking water for the City of Danville and parts of Pittsylvania County.

DRBA helps plan and construct trails, parks, river access points, and provide environmental education programming in the 3,300 square miles of the Dan River Basin watershed. To learn more about DRBA and its recreation, education and stewardship programs that protect and preserve our local natural resources, visit www.danriver.org.

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