You are here



When the world's turmoil distracts you from the things of true importance, refocus. Breathe deeply and turn to your love for the Elizabeth River for peace.


Share your own Elizabeth River photos, stories, poems and more. Use #LoveLiz on Facebook/Instagram or CLICK HERE

Other ways you can participate
River Activities for Kids   Stay Involved at Home

Norfolk’s Skye Zentz Performs Her River Song


River Love: Balm for this Time of Fear

From my unaccustomed new “desk chair,” a flowered arm chair in my living room, I take stressful call after call. Staff furloughs? New sick leave policies? The future of our multi-million dollar project?

I swivel to my laptop. How are other river groups handling this free fall; the time of the coronavirus? River Network offers a link to a psychologist, talking calmly. “In times of fear, the only response is love,” he says.

I think back to the first time someone told me they found healing in the presence of the Elizabeth River. Dr. Lucy Herman, growing up in Freemason, the daughter of a physician, said her father had his patients wait in the “blue room” with a river view. He believed the river helped them. So many people since have shared stories, poems, paintings and more of a two-way love; the river and us.

I recall how I quit my job to give back to this river I love, working for free for years before we had any staff. My husband and I chose our house for its sweeping river view (that’s him in my little sketch, above, with Peaches in a canoe). We left our wedding in a row boat, not a car (left, my sister in law, Kay Temme, captured the moment). I re-read a poem on my desk that my neighbor gave me just weeks ago, of the wonder of watching the river from her window. I read an older poem I found while packing up my office for home, by Alice Jaffe. (next page) I relax into her description of the “smell of the mud at low tide.”

By the time I cook soup for dinner (lots of garlic! parsley !), I am happy. Love does heal fear. Loving the river that flows through all South Hampton Roads unites us in a time when we are too separate. Share your stories, your photos, your art, your thoughts about the wonder of the river in your life: #LoveLiz. You just might help lift others out of fear.

Marjorie Mayfield Jackson

My Song of the Sea

I belong to the sea —
The rivers, the streams and the creeks
that run down to the sea,
The crash of the surf, the calm of the pond,
The smell of the mud at low tide
on the marsh
The herons, the ducks, the loud-crying gulls
And all the small life that lies
close to the shore, seldon seen;
The lace of the foam when small waves
curl onto the beach,
The crest of the big ones that sometimes
the porpoises ride,
The swell of high tide on my inlet
when it covers the reeds
at full moon;
The river that buoyed the boats past
my grandmother's door—
The tug boats with the barges, boats for 
fishing, for pleasure, for
transport; alas, also for war.
I was born by that river with its cargo
of ships and watched the ships
passing all day in my childhood;
Played at its edge on oyster shells
slippery with seaweed—the river
is tidal—
Sailed in a tin tub in my grandmother's yard
when the tide overflowed.
Wherever I go, far and wide, I return
to the sea, it's my
I belong to the sea.
Alice Rice Jaffe, 1988


Scientists have proven the health benefits of being beside water. We are sharing some of our favorite river art in hopes it brings comfort.



How do you

See how others

Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png bmp eps tif pict psd avi mov mp3 ogg wav mp4.
Share as much as you wish here—there is no limit!

The Beaver Moon

The Beaver Moon, rising over the eastern branch of the river by the Wayside Bridge on Military Hwy.

Denise Maples, November 18, 2021

Otterly Happy

A lone otter takes a swim in Olde Towne Portsmouth

Cecil Brown, Portsmouth, January 17, 2021


"One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken." -- Leo Tolstoy

Seana Wilson, Paradise Creek Nature Park, January 15, 2021

Happy New Year!

The last full moon of 2020, known as the Cold Moon, definitely was named appropriately on this cold night in December. I hope it is bringing a promise of better times ahead. Happy New Year, Liz!

Denise Maples

3 Generations

Three generations enjoying an outing on the river.

David Gibson

A Mink on the Eastern Branch

This mink came up out of the Eastern Branch within 20 ft. of our deck, where we were smoking ribs about 11 AM on Aug. 7th. It was a bright sunny morning.

This is the the first mink we've seen since moving in here about 23 years ago. We often see otters, but they never come this close.

Russell Thorne

Liz makes my day.

Mickie Nance

Evelyn's a fisher now

Tyler Vaughan, Western Branch, June 11, 2020

We LOVE the Park!

My family and I love the park! My boys have so much fun running and exploring, while the grownups enjoy the nature and silence. #loveliz

Elizabeth Hall

In Full Bloom

Purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, in full bloom in a garden near the Hague

Mary Bennett, Norfolk, VA

Juvenile Killdeer

One of many juvenile Killdeer that have recently left their nests at the Elizabeth River Project's Money Point restoration site. Two mating pairs have produced at least 1/2 doz. young this spring.

David Gibson, Chesapeake, VA

The Perfect Day

Such a perfect day! Just what the soul needed!

Kay-tee Tracey, April 29, 2020

A Beautiful Stroll

Andy Adams, April 29, 2020

Sunday Funday

Diana Mullins

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Because "we could all use more rainbows right about now."

Rodney Riddle, Scott's Creek, Portsmouth

Singing Loud!

Singing male marsh wren at the Money Point restoration site

Dave Gibson

Just 10 minutes from Paradise!

My dogs and I go to Paradise Creek Park 2-3X a week. It is so peaceful and restful–love how I hear different birds in the morning than in the evening. Such a great walk. Right now all the spring wildflowers are blooming throughout the park. Just love that it is 10 minutes from my house.

Shannon Hardwick

Happy Earth Day!

Spotted on our daily walk. Happy Earth Day! #loveliz. Chalk art by 4th grader Zoe R.

Sarah McBride

Our Treasure!

We love the speckled trout that Tom caught for our dinner! And sitting on the dock looking at reflections of clouds, as well as watching Pelicans, Ospreys , Bald Eagles, lesser green herons, night herons and egrets. It's such clean water that offers so much to wildlife...our treasure!!!

Maureen McKnight

Daily Serenity

My daily walks and bike rides in the neighborhood allow outdoor serenity, solace, and sunshine with the peacefulness of the Elizabeth River.

Anna Leigh Cross

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ted (@gournelo) on

Social distancing at its finest!

Secret Messages

Recently on our daily walk, we spotted the word “LOVE” written out of twigs and gumballs (seed pods from the native Sweetgum tree). It made us smile and inspired my daughter Ellie, age 10, to create a few of her own.

Sarah McBride

Soaring Eagle

This eagle lives close to my house and I see it on a regular basis. This is the tributary behind Philmont ave.

Theodore Winans

Working from Home

Barbara Gavin

All Smiles

Easton, age 6, with dad Rodney all smiles over their speckled trout caught on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.
Rodney Riddle

Loafing Around

Robert Holland, Scott’s Creek, Portsmouth, March 31, 2020

Spectacular Sunsets

I am fortunate to live on the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth. We get to witness some of the most spectacular sunsets around from our backyard.
Cindy Foster, Photo March 30, 2020

Returning to the River

From the bounty of the restored Elizabeth River (thanks in large part to the efforts of the Elizabeth River Project), and captured from the shores of Elizabeth River Park in Chesapeake, 3/29. To me, this photo not only speaks to wildlife returning to the river, but it speaks to community members returning and renewing their love for the river as well.

David Gibson,

Best Day Ever!

Kayaking on the river allowed us to spend a beautiful day with family, especially with my grandchildren! Being in kayaks allows us to be together and at same time social distancing. We even saw two otters or maybe mink that day!! Best day ever!

Deb Foytik

Our New Morning Routine

Every day after our new morning routine of 4th grade math and 7th grade algebra, the girls, the dog and I head outside to walk along the Elizabeth River Trail. We are fortunate to live close to this beautiful trail that winds along our Elizabeth River. We look for snails and crabs and egrets at Weyanoke Wildlife Sanctuary and we watch sailboats and cargo ships from Plum Point Park and we marvel at the beauty and importance of our river. We wave to friends and neighbors from a safe distance and we are reminded that we are all in this together

Sarah McBride

2019 Race to Cock Island on Andrews 28 Diablo

Greg Cutter

We enjoy sailing on the Elizabeth - working (but clean) rivers are fun too. This is a video from last summer's 2019 Race to Cock Island sailboat race.

The Dolphins are Back

By Robert McMillen of Portsmouth, VA

I'm sitting on the dock where the river is wide The water glassy and the night air still Faint ripples move across the surface -- moon reflections seem to dance The silence is soothing, the silence is real Moon lit, Warm, still water, no sound Like being covered in a thick blanket All feels right

Then, --  a faint sound from far away
     What is that?
I hear it again – pooush. Then another and another What is it?

Back-lit by the moon they emerge from the dark A brief moment, a glimpse of shimmering gloss backs It’s Dolphins – Dolphins are coming!

It was the sound of breathing that gave them away
     As they near the dock their breathing grows louder pooush --- pooush --- pooush So impressive - so majestic!

As they glide by and away into the dark, the sound of their breathing starts to fade It's now very faint, fading away -- then disappears The calm of the warm moonlit night slowly returns They’re gone

The Mummichog

By Robert McMillen of Portsmouth, VA

Mummichog Mumchog Gudgeons and Chubs
They stay near the shore – usually three or more When the sun is high and the water is warm They are flickering, flashing, skittering and scattering If you were one, it looks like fun

For them it's best to stay near shore
It’s really not safe to wander out more
Cranes Fishers Crabs and Fish – they are waiting Waiting on a stray to become a squiddly live snack

Mummies Dabblers Killies and Kelleys
Fundulus Heteroclitus -- now why would a Scientist pick that name?
Sounds kind of risqué - picking that as its proper name

When the sun gets low and the water turns cold They dig a hole down, deep down in the mud That’s where they stay when the water gets cold

At long last spring and the water turns warm They come up from the mud, our good ole friend That big Yeller Belly, that big Bull Gudgeon

The Mummichog

The Waters of Norfolk

By Jeanne McDougall and Bob Zentz
Photos Josie Bergstrom

A Mutual Love

It has been my pleasure for over 5 years now to help share the Elizabeth River Project story.

#LoveLiz is a mutual love. You love her and (Love, Liz) she loves you back. I am sharing some Valentines that Liz has sent over the years.

Deb Colvin, |

March of the Dolphins

I was reading in my backyard when I heard something splash out of the water," reports Luke Seibert of Norfolk. "I looked up and saw anywhere from 10 to 15 dolphins swimming through the Lafayette River. The dolphins started swimming away from our dock and towards the Granby Street Bridge, so I took my drone out to try and get a better look at them. I watched them swim up and down the river for probably 30 minutes and it was just incredible to see. It makes me really happy to see such a diverse array of wildlife in the river, and I feel extremely lucky to have been able to witness the dolphins swimming around in their pod.

Luke Seibert Norfolk, VA

Sky Rivers

Sky rivers at Paradise today.

Yolima Carr, Paradise Creek Nature Park, January 15, 2021

A Playful Pod

Every day the Elizabeth River brings a new thrill. Recently a pod of 8 dolphins have been cruising through the Eastern Branch. At least 3 were juveniles. As my husband, Keith, paddled out to watch them, they swam towards him and gave him an impressive tail smacking, in-sync diving, and snout snorting show before they waved their tails one last time and swam off towards Campostella. I wish my photo was clearer but I was a good distance on the shore.

Denise Maples, Eastern Branch

Recreational Possibilities

I captured this trio as they tubed along the Southern Branch. To me, they epitomize the recreational possibilities of a restored river.

David Gibson

A Little Nestling

A glimpse into the life of soon-to-fledge Green Heron nestling. They spend a lot of time climbing around, even jumping around the canopy interior.

David Gibson, July 22, 2020, Lakeside Park, Chesapeake

Fun on the Southern Branch

I love our home river because of the opportunities she affords me to photograph both her wildlife and her human life. Today, I had the good fortune to capture this on the Southern Branch.

David Gibson

The Circle of Life

#LoveLiz! The River gives new life. A mother Canada goose lovingly gazes at her recently hatched gosling as if to instruct it on the lessons of survival. Sadly, a week later, mother and father goose returned to the nesting site without their goslings. The circle of life can be a harsh reality to witness along the river banks. Each species has its on struggle to survive, and that's why a healthy waterway is vital to make part of the battle less complicated.

Denise Maples

First Summer

Some yellow-crowned night herons from our walk at Plum Point Park today.

According to Elizabeth River Bird Blogger Dave Gibson, the bird on the left is "first summer," meaning it was a part of last year's brood and has yet to get its full adult plumage yet like the adult on the right.

Sarah McBride Norfolk, VA

Knitting Mill Creek

We love walking down to Knitting Mill Creek (off of the Lafayette River) at sunset to see the herons hunt for their meals. A perfect way to end the day.

Jeff Stark

A Good Walk for a Good Boy!

Took Guinness on a walk at Paradise Creek Nature Park! Nice Place!

Ann Eberly Wetherbee

A Walk in the Park

Sarani Guthrie, May 1, 2020

An Artist's Hand

There's an Artist's hand that paints the evening sky using a pallet of colors beyond human conception. The Rivah, as I call her, gives. She gives peace, tranquility, excitement, joy, and serenity. She's forever changing, forever entertaining, and forever giving. #loveliz

C. Denise Maples

A Promise

This is a photo taken at a baptism our church conducted at ocean view recently. The rainbow magically appeared as we walked into the water.

Hal Hostetler, Calvary Baptist Church — Portsmouth, VA

A Carolina Wren

The Elizabeth River and environs are coming back. This Carolina Wren song might not be ringing proof, but to me, it points in that direction. Recording made at the Elizabeth River Project Money Point restoration site on 4/25/20.

David Gibson

Celebrate Earth Day!

HAPPY EARTH DAY! We went to the head of Stern's Creek today and picked a cooler full of garbage out of river!

Maureen McKnight

Original drawing by Lynn Gilbert

Elizabeth River Project staff get in on the “One Flock” fun!

A One Flock Pose from a River Star Business!

Charlie Hammer (left) and Robert Ficca (right) from River Star Business, BAE Systems!

Getting his crab on!

Ray Wicker, Owner of Wickers Crab Pot, pauses to join the flock before “getting his crab on!”

We had to get out for some fresh air.

Leslie Jones, April 18, 2020

60 minutes of activity for PE

Sylvia Wiggins, April 10, 2020

Best kayak launch near my house

Norris Skip Brown, April 12, 2020

A Stroll Through the Park

Paradise Creek Nature Park

Keith Toler, April 17, 2020

Nature Learning

Pics from our homeschooling fieldtrip…nature learning!

Carolyn Hutchings Holland, April 17, 2020

Peregrine Falcon Pairs on the Elizabeth River

Bryan Watts, Director, The Center for Conservation Biology, April 6, 2020

The Turning of the Tide

By Russell F. Flynn Jr.

It seems like only yesterday
While kayaking down the Elizabeth River
I found an open salt marsh creek
And followed its meandering ways
And as I paddled through tall grasses
Into the mazes of the fen
I found a tragic sadness
That has never left my mind

Rainbow sheens of gasoline
Painted the waters surface
A wasteland of refuse and guck prevailed
The acrid smell of creosote filled the air
Invasive phragmites reeds flourished
Dead fish floated in the shallows
Once sandy shores now oozed mud
Plastic and trash was everywhere

But standing now on a new foot bridge
I watch the life bearing tide
Flow to the wide Elizabeth River
Out of the resurrected Paradise Creek
And as I stare quite mesmerized
By the progress that’s been made
I think of things that yet might come
And I slip into a daydream

And visions come of a time long past
Of days when the river was rife with life
When oysters lounged on crowded beds
And clams lolled in sandy shoals
Seahorses swam camouflaged in the kelp
Otters scattered the menhaden schools
And fiddler crabs and periwinkles
Teemed in the sandy marsh flats

Then daydreams fade and I awake
To a new day in the sun
I sense the ebbing tide has turned
And men have learned from their mistakes
Now the people rise up and come together
As volunteers with one intent goal
To give Paradise Creek back its heart
And the Elizabeth River back its soul

Looking West

Western Branch of the Elizabeth River

Frances BeckPortsmouth, VA


By Russell F. Flynn, Jr.

The osprey waits
On number three
Her nest a twisted simile
Like a tangled castle
In the sky
Safe from sails that pass it by

Up she flies Soaring high
Till silver dances in her eyes
Then down she drops Into the sea
Grasping at opportunity

With vigorous beat
Of flapping wings
Her treasure snagged our princess sings
She works her way
Out of the foam
Straining now back to her home

Her mate stands tall
On number four
Eyeing the tasty metaphor
Up on life’s stage
For all to see
Majestic prince of liberty

To his castle high
On number three
Our prince now flies with dignity
He nods then bows
Above the sea
Then osprey dine like royalty

Calms Me, Inspires Me

The river calms me, inspires me. It embraces the city I live in, provides homes and food for the wildlife I love. I am grateful for the river’s beauty and generosity. We shop with re-usable bags, avoid fertilizer and pesticides in our yard and even grow native plants!

Josie Bergstrom

Who Goes There?

River Otter Spotted near Scott’s Creek in Portsmouth

Stephen Nelson

The Beauty of Liz

'Russell Carlock

Chow Down

Taken at Nauticus

Eric Alton, April 2020

Serenade on the Southern Branch

From Susan Smith

How I Social Distance

How I social distance. Nine bags total.
Gabrielle Molinaro

Sterns (Sterling) Creek

Western Branch of Elizabeth River

Ellen Comstock, Portsmouth

No violations

No quarantines were violated in the taking of this photo. This outing was required for health (mental) reasons.

Kendall Osborne

Serenade on the Southern Branch

From Susan Smith

The Beauty of Scott's Creek

At the end of a day I sit down by Scott's Creek and I am dazzled by the colors and peace of this marvelous river.

Steve Nelson

Majestic Moon

By Brian Ross

Seawall Seaside

By Norman Goodwin

Mixed media artwork from the collection of Gail Kirby Evett, 1998

Biking with Liz

Yolima Carr, Conservation Landscape Curator, Elizabeth River Project, rode her bike along the Elizabeth River this week and sent these photos. “Water is very important to me and my soul,” she writes.

Kayaking with Liz

Well as I assume in your family it has been a long week and half adjusting to this major change in our lives. The Rieger family has been working on figuring out how to best keep our two boys educated while both KC and I keeping up with work. We have had our ups and our downs, however yesterday provided the needed relief we need. Walter (10 years old), Lucas (6 years old) and myself jump in our kayaks and paddled the river we love – the Lafayette River.

This trip provided the happiness and escape we were looking for, and we returned in great moods. On our trip we saw egrets hunting for fish, the salt marsh coming to life after the “winter”, and the speckled tout feeding. It was a welcome site to see that the river was returning, as I know our community will soon. Get out on the river and practice your social distancing and touch the river we all love.

Joe Reiger

The Living River

By Vonnie Whitworth

From the Elizabeth River Project Art Show at the Hermitage Museum, 2002

My Hammock Spot

My hammock spot is on the Hague. But due to social distancing (a family was sitting on the bench near the only tree that works for hammocks) I was forced to relocated to Beechwood Park- Still enjoyed a nice stroll by the water!

'Twas a lovely island of peace day!


A Birdwatching Perspective

I've been asked to share what the Elizabeth River—the "new" Elizabeth River—and it's returning wildlife means to me. My mind immediately goes to Money Point and the pleasure that I get from birdwatching there. What has happened at Money Point, with the return of birdlife to that area, is emblematic of what has happened to the entire river.

I also think about how much fun it's been interviewing people about the river and the way it 's changed and then writing about those conversations and sharing those stories. I think, too, about the fun I've had taking pictures of both birds and of people enjoying the river once again.

My mind then goes back to Money Point and to a conversation I had a while back with Tim Fearington, who grew up around the Elizabeth River. I shared part of our exchange in one of my blog posts @ Here's what I wrote; Tim's words are embedded.

"The waters off the Money Point peninsula on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake, VA used to be 'one of the most contaminated stretches of river anywhere in the U.S.' Tim Fearington, who once worked at the now-defunct Republic Creosoting Co. there, told me recently that that part of the river was a 'biological desert.' Here are his words: 'Once upon a time about 51 years ago I took a summer job at Republic Creosoting Co. down at Money Point. That part of the river was a biological desert and was for many years afterward. As an enviromental specialist with VDH Division of Shellfish Sanitation, I remember a biological survey of the river in the early 80’s where no living organisms were found in the benthos there at Money Point. Lots of clean up has occurred since then. Hopefully, things have dramatically improved.' Well, things have dramatically improved. Those waters and some of the adjacent land have been restored and revitalized thanks in large part to the efforts of the the Elizabeth River Project, recent winner of a prestigious national award. Another award winner, to our north, was the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary."

I then went on to write, "To give you a glimpse of just how healthy this area is now, here’s a recent photo." That was followed by a photo of the flourishing Money Point marsh. But earlier in the piece, I'd shared a photo of a Tricolored Heron landing and preening on the rock berm there. I could share that photo again here, but I'd rather do this. I'd rather share 3 bird photos that are more meaningful to me. The first is of a rare Seaside Sparrow discovered at Money Point. Seaside Sparrows, particularly, are indicators of ecosystem health. The second and third are photos of species that came close to being wiped out but that have experienced a comeback because the river has experienced a comeback. The first is of a Brown Pelican, the Elizabeth River Project trademark, and the second is of an Osprey flying above the river near its channel marker nest.

David Gibson,

Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png bmp eps tif pict psd avi mov mp3 ogg wav mp4.
Share as much as you wish here—there is no limit!


To restore the Elizabeth River to the highest practical level of environmental quality through citizen, business and government partnerships. Join us!