I was lucky to be at a classy event last evening at The Boathouse at Rockett\’s Landing sponsored by Rocketts Landing and the Friends of James River Park. The event was a celebration of the James River and a welcoming party for the recently added 2,000 lb. cast iron sculpture, Deepwater Sponger, by Richmonder Charlie Ponticello. The Friends are usually the ones pulling half-empty beer bottles out of the mud in the park, so it was quite nice to mingle with folks overlooking the river with wine and beer in hand and sipping butternut squash soup instead of picking up trash.

He's a real hunk!

Charlie spoke a bit about his sculpture which is installed on the waterfront next to the Boathouse and perfectly suited for clambering on and posing.  Not sure if most people who will see it realize you are standing right across from the wastewater treatment plant. Let us remember that only a few miles upriver, the water treatment plant pulls river water in for our use. A river runs through us–and the city.

Anne Wright, Assistant Professor of Biology at VCU, board member of the Friends, and self-styled “insect geek” spoke about some fascinating research finds doctoral students at VCU are finding right here in our river. Mostly good things…evidence of insects who don’t tolerate pollution living right here in the city–even some varieties that typically are found only in the mountains. They love city-living, it turns out. And regarding the sturgeon’s comeback, she had the video of sturgeon sperm to prove it.  In lieu of caviar, I think.

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