Monday, June 23, 2014

Water Week at Adventure Central

What’s new with the River Steward Interns? Adventure Central summer camp!

Last week, our summer team spent four days at Adventure Central with 125 summer day campers and a stellar camp staff. River Stewards facilitated “Water Week” themed activities, led tours of the RiverMobile and enjoyed every second spent with the nature loving campers!
Stephen, 2016 Cohort, explains the benefits of being a responsible river neighbor. 
This was our fourth year working with Adventure Central, but the RiverMobile’s first time on site. Older campers toured the RiverMobile Tuesday and left with a set of water related vocabulary words (aquifer, watershed, downstream neighbor).  At the end of the day, many campers tested out their new river knowledge by leading RiverMobile tours for parents and siblings.

Casey, 2016 Cohort, explains how to make
an edible aquifer.
Campers paddling a welcoming Wolf Creek

On Wednesday and Thursday each group kayaked on the Wolf Creek, completed water quality testing, created river pledges and indulged in edible aquifers. The week’s events emphasized why the Wolf Creek is an asset for Adventure Central and our watershed.

Curious about the Wolf Creek's water quality? Ask an AC camper. 

        Campers completing a quiet reflection exercise
 before completing a personal river pledge. 
As usual, our week with Adventure Central was full of high fives, youth driven insight and river love. Temperatures pushed 90 degrees, but that didn’t stop anyone from playing outside and especially not from getting wet! The hot weather reminded all of us why we love and benefit from our clean, cool Dayton water.
           Allie Brizzi, a UD Semester of Service student,  poses with her hyped up campers!
Cheers to edible aquifers, summer camp silliness and the great outdoors. 
Visit Adventure Central’s website or Facebook page to learn more about why we love to partner with them! 

(2015 Cohort)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Adventure Central Summer Camp Staff Training!

The Rivers Institute Summer Staff went out to Adventure Central on Thursday to lead the fourth day of AC’s summer camp staff training. After some brief introductions and a short reflection on the common goals of Adventure Central and the Rivers Institute, the staff loosened up with some fun icebreaker activities and a few large group teambuilding activities. The staff members were excited to partake in and learn a few new icebreakers, teambuilding activities, and small group games to use during their summer camp programs.

After splitting into two teams (The Carrots vs. The Beets), the group took to the Wolf Creek to clean the creek of trash and try to out-collect the opposing team. In the end, both teams collected a large amount of trash and felt excited and proud of the fact that they would have a clean area of the creek for their campers to experience this summer.

The staff walks the banks of the Wolf Creek, cleaning up litter and debris washed up from the recent rain events. 

The group then split into their summer teaching groups and learned more about different topics they could teach at the creek, such as macro invertebrate sampling, water quality testing and biodiversity activities. 

Alex teaches one of the groups about the importance of Macro Invertebrates and their role in determining the quality of the creek's water. 
One group found a Water Penny Larva, a macro invertebrate that requires very high water quality. It was the first time that the we had found a Water Penny Larva in the Wolf Creek!

Our final activities focused on kayaking and water safety, as well as small group management and teambuilding. The staff was happy to participate in many of the same activities that their campers would experience during Adventure Central’s Water Week with the Rivers Institute next week.

Adventure Central Staff modeling their safe and always fashionable Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs).

 As the day came to an end, we closed out our program with a great discussion and reflection on the Wolf Creek and its role in Adventure Central’s summer camp. In addition, staff and stewards considered how the Wolf Creek intersects with Adventure Central and the Westwood neighborhood. It was very apparent today that the staff members of Adventure Central truly are the Stewards of the Wolf Creek, and it will be exciting to see how they reach out to the neighboring community to lead people to get out, play, and connect to the amazing Wolf Creek. 

- Andrew

Friday, March 28, 2014

Dayton Climate Adaptation Messaging Campaign

Hello Stews!
Here are links to some of the stuff I'll mention today in our Climate Adaptation presenation.
We'd love to hear your ideas for a climate messaging campaign in Dayton, and for you to get involved and help create something for our region. If you're interested, please contact me at Katie.Norris at

Dayton High School Student Poetry Slam

The Future.

Don't just stand there. Stand there and help keep tahoe's water clean.

The video Ashlee didn't have time to show:
And here are a few others:

Other Climate Initatives:
State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force On Climate Preparedness and Resilience
Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience - Paula Brooks, Franklin Co. Commissioner
Climate Change in the Ohioan Mind

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

As It All Comes Together...

Hello Everyone!

I spent all of last semester co-oping at GE Aviation in Cincinnati. While it was a great experience and I enjoyed learning how to apply my mechanical engineering skills in a real world situation, I never got the chance to come back in time for mini course or a lot of the volunteering opportunities, and I missed out on all the fun adventures my cohort got to go on without me.

So this semester was a great time for me to jump back into things and do everything I could do to get caught up on what my cohort was planning for our project, what the seniors had decided to implement for their cohort project, and what the baby stews had learned from their first semester attending mini course. I especially loved being involved with the River Summit for the first time, and I got the chance to see a lot of our community partners again and make more connections between the beautiful city we live in and the campus life I experience every day. I also ended up taking SEE 402 this semester. This class is currently taught by Dan Fouke and Kelly Bohrer, and I am getting the chance to work with wetlands! I was so excited when I found out this was a possible topic, because it so easily relates to so many things I have learned through my experiences as a river steward. Through this class project, we are essentially creating tools that will inform and educate the general public along with zoning inspectors about the benefits of wetlands to the community. We are looking at it from many angles, including human health and safety, economics, flood control, waste water treatment, or drinking water cleanliness. This class and all the information I’ve found through mandatory class articles and personal research for the project has just solidified everything I learn and try to share about the importance of our valuable water resource.
I have started participating in a part of the senior project, which has enabled me to get to some of the establishments in the Dayton area that I hadn’t previously heard of or gotten the chance to experience. I have also brought some of my friends with me, so they have experienced some more of what Dayton has to offer and broken out of that UD bubble a little bit.

Lastly, I have made it a personal goal to make it to all of the metro parks and document my experiences at each one! I know this is a small task for some, but I personally find it difficult to find time to make it off campus, especially leaving enough time for a good hike. I always try to bring a friend or two, sharing the experience and trying to increase the amount of people that can get excited and spread the word about everything our city has to offer.

I’m sure the rest of the semester will go well and I have high hopes for the senior project my cohort has been working on creating and implementing!

River Love,

Monday, February 24, 2014

A LONG Bicycle Trip

“The best way to prepare for a long bicycle trip is to just go on a long bicycle trip.”
Bro. Philip Aaron

The quote above is spoken words to me during a personal interview with Brother Philip Aaron, one of our inspiring Marianist brothers in Dayton and an experienced world traveler. Brother Phil is an ex-engineering professor, a founder of the ETHOS program and the creator of the Center for Social Concern (including the International Immersion Trips).

Though I met with him for a short time to gain some insight on his many experiences in Africa (since I will be journeying there this summer!), I was able to hear about problems he faced and how community building in certain places helped him to implement some successful water projects.

During this discussion, I reflected on how we as River Stewards aren’t restricted to just be stewards of the river, but how, more importantly, we are called to be stewards of this Earth! *This includes both the land we live on and the people we encounter.*

As I continue to prepare for my adventure this summer for Zambia, I will remember these insights shared from Brother Phil. His enlightening stories reminded me that I am a River Steward wherever I travel, whether on a long bike ride with my fellow Stews to the Huffman Dam, or to a poor village in Africa. His advice (quote above) motivates me to have full trust in God while I am getting ready for this trip halfway around the world. And it is most exciting to find out why God needs a River Steward on that trip to serve the people and the African land!

To serve, to build community, and to recognize the beauty of His creation in ALL.
This is what being a River Steward means to me.


Bryan Westerlund
2016 Cohort

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Outdoor Adventures

Throughout my time as a student at UD, I have realized how important it is to get off UD’s campus and “break the bubble”.  As a River Steward, I have realized that it is even better to get off campus and seek the serenity of the forests and parks.  The forest is somewhere where I feel calm and relaxed while enjoying the scenery, the smell of the leaves, and the cool breeze on the trail.  Not only this, but I can enjoy the company of many of my fellow stews.  Throughout last semester, we went on a variety of adventures.  Some of these adventures included hiking in John Bryan State Park while also rock climbing, cave exploring, and swimming in the river.  Other adventures included riding on the bike trails to Huffman Dam and to the local festival, Midwest Outdoor Experience.  And even in the cold days of winter, we bundled up and went hiking in the snow at Possum Creek MetroPark.  
Bike trip to Huffman Dam
Through all of these activities, I have learned about the great sense of adventure of River Stewards, and their awesome attitude towards trying new things.  I have also learned about how hanging outside in this beautiful place we live makes me to truly appreciate the beauty of nature.  I remember one of the speakers from minicourse this semester said that in order to protect the rivers, you have to respect them.  I think that getting out and interacting with the forests, parks, and the rivers will make us better River Stewards and more willing to protect the environment in which we live.  In getting out into nature, we grow to appreciate the beauty around us and discover that it’s our duty to protect it.  I encourage you to get outside and enjoy yourself; it’s pretty cool out there.

River Love,

Dan Striebich

2016 Cohort

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

River Steward takes on Honduras!

This pass January I had the opportunity to travel to southern Honduras with Saint Louis University students who are apart of a program called Global Brigade. They were broken down into nine different brigades and I went on the Water Brigades. On this trip several different universities and colleges and community members participated in this mission. Our project was to build a water system for one community. We had to dig about one mile of trenches, move boulders (no joke!), and glue PVC piping. I was completely amazed how much work was put into water system. It was hard work! They are hoping to finish this project by the end of this month. Before they even started this project, they created a Water Council. This council consisted members of the community and leaders of Water Brigades. Together, they discussed on the best sustainable solution for their community. The universities and colleges come in take that idea and produced the product.

Another part of the brigade that was very important was the education fair. This fair was mostly for the children but the parents also participated. The purpose of this education fair is to teach the community about hygiene, water storage, and household sanitation. I believe that education is the key to develop a more sustainable community.
We ask a question about water storage and water sanitation and the kids are throwing duct tape balls to the correct answer.  
  At the end of this trip I realized that back at home, I am very lucky for the water systems that we have. My semester as a River Steward, I learned about where our water comes from and who takes care of it. I learn to appreciate the workers at the Waste Treatment Plant and Water Treatment Plant. Going on this trip, I realized that WOW, I am very fortunate. People in Honduras do not have the proper water treatment. They could be searching for water for days. I met one man around 3pm and he told me that he has been looking for water all day. He looked exhausted. Back at home, I can go to the kitchen sink and get a glass of water. I don’t have to think about not having water because we never had that problem. After this trip, I will never take water for granted. This trip allowed to see how a community comes together to work on a common goal and how they help improve their situation in the future from a different perspective. This project would not have accomplished without the water brigades or without the community. Together, this community will have drinkable water for a long time.

Maggie Rohs
Cohort 2016