Mark and Sally Wittkofski live in Henrico, Virginia with their son Nick. All three are garden enthusiasts and love Richmond’s James River Park System. Mark is semi-retired and describes himself as self-employed in Residential Garden Maintenance. Sally is a Landscape Architect/Landscape Designer. Their son Nick is currently a Fellow at the Allegheny Mountain Institute learning about organic gardening and permaculture.
The Wittkofski household is a certified River Hero Home. They decided to become a River Hero Home because they have been practicing organic gardening for a number of years, but wanted to be connected with others in the community who can provide information and resources to help them become better stewards of the James River.
Nick is interested in sustainability and permaculture. He encouraged his parents to install more river-friendly practices and eliminate most of their lawn by planting native plants in its place. There are two rain barrels at their house that collect about 70% of the rainwater from their roof. The other drain flows into a series of ditches, berms and rain water collection ponds to keep the water in the yard, rather than flowing into the sewer. Since most of their lawn is gone, the rain water is soaked up by native trees and shrubs.
The Wittkofskis want to encourage their friends and neighbors to eliminate the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides in their yards. These chemicals are dangerous to wildlife and have negative effects on the health of the James River. Instead, they encourage everyone to become a River Hero Home. Positive individual actions can result in a safer, cleaner environment for everyone. By installing river-friendly practices to prevent chemicals, bacteria from pet waste and sediment from entering local waterways, we can keep our river safe for recreation and clean for drinking water.