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 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Year, Same Water

Happy new year to all. 

It feels so good to be back on campus with a whole fresh semester just beginning. As the snow continues to fall outside my window I am reminded of how intriguing water is. While skydiving over break I was able to witness water in several different forms, as snow on the ground, as water in lakes and ponds scattered far below me, and as ice for all the ice skaters out there. I was also reminded of the power of water when the water main broke in Marianist Hall this christmas break.

Last semester was the start of my Junior year at UD as a mechanical engineering major. As for most majors … Junior year is one of those most dreaded times in college. This past semester helped me grow in brilliant ways and offered many opportunities across different areas. I learned about myself, grew as a leader, and had some great experiences this past semester. Some of my courses finally had direct connections to the pillars of the Rivers Institute … including my Fluid Dynamics class (the first day we talked about rivers and water flow through pipes for a quarter of the class! and we designed and analyzed pipe flow for our capstone project at the end of the semester) and the ASI 345 River Leadership Curriculum course. I really enjoyed the RLC course, learning about the 1913 Flood, exploring and investigating Cincinnati’s River Front and Combined sewer systems, and developing a proposal related to river leadership.

This semester has only just begun and I’ve already made connections to the Rivers Institute in some of my classes including Environmental Geology and my Engineering Ethics class. In our first reading for the Engineering Ethics class we’ve already started talking about rivers in relation to the design process. How the language of the design process flows and drifts just as a river changes courses over time.

While spending a lovely few weeks at home in New York I found out Buffalo, like Cincinnati, has a combined sewer system. It’s crazy how many connections we can make between cities and see how rivers really do connect us all. Over break I was also able to spend a day touring Cincinnati with some friends and even exploring the beautiful river front development:

River Love of course,
Abigail Spohn
Mechanical Engineering

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Where it is still warm: the Bahamian Islands

Hello River Friends!

I was fortunate enough to spend some time in the Bahamas during my winter break. Around so much water it was hard not to think about, well, water!  It is not new news that people everywhere depend on water (whether they know it or not), but in some places people depend on water much more than others.  On a small island in the Bahamas water both destroys and provides growth.  A reef on the coast at the island I was staying at was destroyed, not because of humans, but because a hurricane deposited sand into the reef.  On another part of the coast a hurricane took away the white sand that made up the whole beach.  For me, this was a reminder that it isn't just humans that may destroy wildlife habitat.  Although, this does not mean that humans can’t still help care for places so unaffected by humans like the Bahamian Island of Man-O-Way Cay. 

On the white sand beach and very blue water of the Bahamas a beach cleanup was organized by some local Bahamians.  Naturally, after seeing some posters (meant for locals) I decided that it was an excellent idea to crash the beach cleanup.  

Cleanup crew in the distance

Help was needed to remove this heavy rope!

Evidence of the amount of garbage collected

Obviously the view was awful (I am kidding, it's gorgeous!)

It was really great to work alongside people that care about where they live and that it stays beautiful, and refreshing to interact with people that really work with the environment that they live in.  

Thankfully, there are river stewards and ocean stewards elsewhere in the world, and if I ever see another poster to help do a cleanup while traveling I would definitely try to participate again!

River Love,