Limited programming, public tours in lead-up to Spring Grand Opening
Norfolk, Va., November 7, 2023 – With construction of the new Ryan Resilience Lab just months from completion, the Elizabeth River Project is opening the one-of-a-kind facility to limited public tours and an exciting list of upcoming events.
The non-profit environmental group’s Pru & Louis Ryan Resilience Lab, 4610 Colley Avenue, is slated for a spring grand opening. But with many aspects complete, the “Ryan Resilience Series” will kick off on Nov. 17 with an inaugural art exhibition, “all water has a perfect memory, “ opening in the site’s Macon and Joan Brock River Room. The show will remain open through spring.
The series continues Nov. 30 with a Virginia Symphony ensemble performing an original piece composed by Norfolk’s JJJJerome Ellis tracing the anticipated upland migration of the site’s restored wetland as the river rises.
A panel of diverse experts will conclude the symphony with a “climate conversation,” reflecting the Elizabeth River Project’s intent to marry art with science. “Otherwise, climate change and sea level rise can get dreary fast,” says Marjorie Mayfield Jackson, Executive Director, Elizabeth River Project.
The Elizabeth River Project’s “Ryan Resilience Series” is intended to offer hope and inspiration as well as paths to action for protecting both humans and the ecosystem as Hampton Roads experiences the highest rate of relative sea level rise on the East Coast. Scientists predict as much as 80 percent of wetlands in the Elizabeth River may drown in the next 100 years, while as much runoff pollution is now predicted from one day of a super-high tide as historically was expected across an entire year.
The series is made possible by Virginia Natural Gas Foundation with its signature gift for 2023. “Virginia Natural Gas President and CEO and Foundation board member Robert Duvall stated, “Our Foundation is commited to fueling eco-conscious efforts in the Hampton Roads area and doing our part to help care for our waterways. We’re proud to support the mission of the Elizabeth River Project and the Ryan Resilience Series.”
Public tours are also available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to Noon and on Thursday afternoons from 4:00 to 5:30 pm, guided by former First Lady of Virginia, Pamela Northam. A science educator, Northam has joined the staff of the Elizabeth River Project to help introduce visitors to the site’s many lessons. Guests can schedule tours online at ElizabethRiver.org/ResilienceLab.
A “Sneak Peek Open House” is also scheduled on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 11 am to 2 pm.
Visitors to the Lab will find an array of resilient features, from how to capture all rainwater on site to reduce flooding – the Ryan Lab’s toilets rely on rain captured in two 5,000 gallon cisterns – to how to reduce root causes of climate change through measures such as growing “green walls” (screens made of vines that cool the building) and two EV charging stations to be made available to the public. While some features are out-of-the-box, such as a floating entry pavilion, the site emphasizes off-the-shelf practices readily duplicated in a home or small business.
The Lab will formally open with a Grand Opening planned for late Spring. For more information and a full list of upcoming events, Visit ElizabethRiver.org/ResilienceLab.