Sunday, October 19, 2014

The 2015 Cohort is Nuttier Than You’d Think!

The 2015 Cohort is thinking a lot of nutty thoughts!  We have been learning about nuts, identifying nuts, collecting nuts, figuring out what nuts are the good nuts, and sorting nuts alongside our friends at Adventure Central.  Why? Well, it is not just because we are all nuts!  For our cohort project we are working with Adventure Central to help address an important issue, and that is improving tree canopy.  So, let’s delve into the what, why, and how.

What have we been up to?
Earlier this semester the 2015 cohort began working with the “Purple Group” at Adventure Central.  After a group of our cohort learned alongside the Purple Group about different native nuts and seeds of Ohio we went on a field trip with Adventure Central to help Five Rivers MetroPark collect nuts to help with their goal of improving tree canopy.

Field Trip with Adventure Central

Look at All Those Nuts!

Now, about 2 to 3 times a week a group of our cohort works alongside the students at Adventure Central.  We did a nut collection of our own at Woodlands Cemetery.  Then, we float tested the acorns we collected to see what nuts were good and what nuts were bad (the good nuts sink while the bad nuts float).  Eventually, these nuts will be planted and grown in the basement of Adventure Central so that they can eventually be planted at Wesleyan MetroPark where Adventure Central is located.

Float Test at Adventure Central - Finding the Good Nuts and the Bad Nuts

Why are we doing this?
I promise we aren't just doing this because we are all nuts!  Not only are we forming a deeper relationship with Adventure Central, who is a great community partner, we are also learning about the ‘why’.  Improving tree canopy is so important for a community because trees provide so many benefits (like helping to prevent water pollution), and with tree issues like the ash borer it is important to tackle the issue of improving tree canopy head on.    

How are we going to finish this project?
We haven’t quite gotten to the point where we can finish the answer to this question, but we are on our way!  This Saturday (October 25th) we are gathering several stewards to participate in “Make a Difference Day” at Adventure Central where we will help with seed collection and maintenance. This semester we are also planning on giving the Purple Group at Adventure Central a tour of UD’s campus and next semester we will lead a tour of Dayton by utilizing the Fitz Center Bus.  In the spring we will also be taking the Purple Group on two river paddles.  If we did not sound busy enough we have even more ideas in the works, and this is all on top of the nutty work we have already been working on!    

Living in the Limelight

I know myself to be a very reflective person, and as a senior I have had lots of time to reflect about my journey at UD.   I find myself always discovering, or entering, new roles.  What roles do I have?  Well, first and foremost I am a student.  This is a role that is essential for my existence at UD, but sometimes it is easy to forget!  I, obviously, also have a role as a River Steward.   Even though I have been a River Steward since my sophomore year I have had many different roles within the program.  In addition to my River Steward roles I also have a role that is new to this year, a role as a Resident Assistant (RA) on campus.  So, why am I rambling about the roles I have on campus?  Well, it is because even though my roles seem different they really are only different on the surface. 

As I see it, one of my River Steward roles is to act as a mentor/leader to younger Stews.  If I stop by a mini-course I should be just as attentive to what is going on, as the younger Stews are.  Right now, while I helping to complete the 2015 Cohort project, I am working with middle school and high school aged students and again, I am playing the role as a mentor/leader.  Now, when I break my River Steward roles down like this it is easy to see how my position as an RA for second year students also falls into this same mentor/leader role category. 

The relationship of my different roles on campus has an even tighter bond then the category that they exist in.  As a River Steward and as an RA I, in many ways, live in a limelight on campus.  The roles I play are very visible and transparent.  I cannot be a leader without being seen, and I cannot be a mentor without opening up about my own experiences.  I embrace this visibility because I think that being conscience of this helps to make me a better person and the way the visibility makes me behave is true to myself.  Sure, ‘living in the limelight’ has its disadvantages too, but I will take the sweat and pressure as long as I continue to see myself grow into new roles and responsibilities.  So, bring on the bright lights, I am here to stay!   

River Love,
2015 Cohort

Thursday, October 16, 2014

River Plunge

September 27th was the first ever River Plunge. In partnership with Center for Social Concern, the River Stewards put on a paddle for UD students with a discussion focus on justice.

Cue perfect weather- mid 70s with yellow sunshine, blue skies, and fall leaves. 

Add a motley group of stews working like cogs in a machine, popping up throughout the day as River Mobile crew, lunch crew, boat crew, dinner crew, music crew. Mix in a great group of UD kids- different majors, different years, different interests. Put all these incredibly cool people outside, on the river, together. Let the magic happen. 

Celebrate Dayton's resources. Talk about the problems, too. Play outside. 

Leave the day feeling refreshed. Understand Dayton’s watershed a little differently. Understand how we’re all connected: people, animals, water, Earth. The environment is not only something we enjoy, but something that sustains us. Something we must appreciate, love, respect, and take care of.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Exploring Our History at Carillon Park

Today, the 2016 and 2017 cohorts went on a field trip to Carillon Historical Park. The museum has an immense amount of Dayton history, ranging from replicas and original pieces of history to the various buildings themselves. In the Wright Bother’s Aviation Center, the walls are filled with nostalgic artifacts of Dayton’s most famous residents. They have two bikes Oliver and Wilbur built. Only three others exist in the world! They also have one of the original airplanes they flew. It is impressive to understand how much time and thought were put into every creation and how they inspired new entrepreneurs to innovate even to this day.


In addition to the various inventions Dayton is known for, the museum also discusses the Great Flood of 1913. Along with the interactive show that simulates the experience of the rain and floods, there is a hall dedicated to the disaster. The building contains firsthand accounts of the survivors and features a boat that the National Cash Register built to save the trapped citizens. It is amazing to learn how John Patterson stopped the manufacturing of his cash registers to build these boats.

 This is a true representation of understanding community assets; He had his workers operating for the city, not for him. I find this honorable and humble. This is another connection to the Rivers Institute. We, river stewards, find ways to strategize and benefit the city. Our goal is to use the water as an asset and work towards all citizens building positive relationships with our rivers. Our city’s relationship with its rivers sure has come a long way since 1913!


2017 Cohort

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