VCU Rice Center

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News and events
Jan. 28, 2014

VCU Rice Rivers Center sturgeon research the focus of top-prize film

Melissa Lesh has done it again: She is receiving the top prize at the Fourth Annual RVA Environmental Film Festival (RVA EFF) for her film, “James River Sturgeon”.

Featuring VCU Rice Rivers Center researchers, Matt Balazik, Ph.D. and Anne Wright, the film details the exciting progress of sturgeon research and restoration efforts in the James River and beyond. Albert Spells and Cyrus Brame of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services also help to tell the exciting story of this work that is vital in stabilizing and restoring an ancient and beloved species, the Atlantic sturgeon.

“James River Sturgeon” was produced by Anne Wright through a NOAA B’WET grant, “Rivers in Real Time – Migration!” and is scheduled to be screened on Sunday, Feb. 9 at The Byrd Theater.

Lesh has a growing body of scientific films that are receiving recognition, including “Fairy Shrimp,” which was featured in the Sixth Annual Imagine Science Film Festival in New York City in 2013. The VCU Rice Rivers Center congratulates Ms. Lesh and is grateful for her work.

The VCU Rice Rivers Center would also like to thank the RVA EFF and The Enrichmond Foundation, Falls of the James Group-Sierra Club, Capital Region Land Conservancy, EarthCraft Virginia and the James River Green Building Council for their hard work on this exciting event. It promises to deliver many insightful films designed to raise awareness of environmental issues relative to all residents of our planet — and to Richmond citizens in particular.

For more information on the festival, including sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, visit