Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rivers Institute Video

Let's share this video with friends, especially those that we want to recruit.

The Rivers Institute at the University of Dayton from Kenny Mosher on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

UD's Greening of the Curriculum

Here is a link to a great article recognizing a few of the University of Dayton's environmental initiatives, the Rivers Institute and the SEE (Sustainability, Energy & Environment) initiative/minor. Sarah Peterson, a junior River Steward and intern for the Rivers Institute, is highlighted in the article as a Sociology major who recently picked up the new SEE minor this semester. Sarah's work with the Rivers Institute has primarily been assisting with the River Leadership Curriculum development, a three course sequence focused on learning about our rivers through an interdisciplinary lens and developing the necessary leadership skills related to these topics. Recently Sarah presented with the Rivers Institute, in Washington DC at the AAC&U annual meeting, and again last week at SOCHE's "Greening of the Curriculum" conference. A big thanks to Sarah for taking the time to share her experiences as a River Steward, with leaders of other colleges & universities.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Holy Angels Week 4

Friday the 19th was the fourth week of River Explorations with Holy Angels Catholic School. The topic was the flood of 1913 and how Miami Conservancy District. We were extremely fortunate to have Angela Manuszak from MCD come in and speak with the students. She was a wonderful addition to the curriculum and also gave students a greater understanding of what the Miami Conservancy District is. We will have one more lesson in the classroom and then finally a fieldtrip to MCD, Five Rivers Outdoors, and Riverscape.

Again, big thanks to Angela and her partnership with the Rivers Institute!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Holy Angels Week 3

Friday the 12th, we spent our third week with the students of Holy Angels. The lesson's focus was common water and how water users impact a shared source. Students interacted hands-on taking roles as various water users from time periods throughout history. A basin of water acted as Dayton's aquifer and students soaked up water with sponges and food coloring. The water slowly turned a 'muddy' color as the amount of water users increased. The overall lesson, potrayed to students that water is a finite resource and how it can be reused naturally and through treatment plants.

Thanks to Emily Klein, Grace, Maggie McKenna, and Leslie for their help!

This Friday will be another week with the students, look for an update soon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Part One of Documentary

So, you can watch this in class whenever you want. I hope you enjoy. I cannot put it onto youtube because Windows Movie Maker will not allow me to save the file as anything other than a .wmv file, which youtube won't accept (computers are freaking annoying!). Also, my camera records video in a .mov file, which I had to convert in the first place to import into Windows Movie Maker! (I hate you too, Microsoft!) Does anybody have another video editing software that allows one to save movies as mpeg4's? Could you perchance copy the disc and send it to me, please? It would really help with future videos. (Windows Movie Maker is very limited. But what else can I use for free that isn't loaded with viruses?)

Thanks, playaz.

Look for the next episode in the coming weeks.

River Love,



Thursday, February 4, 2010

Week 2 Holy Angels

This week at Holy Angels, students experienced visitors from another time period! How did this happen you ask? Gretchen and Franz Berkemeier took on roles as "Running Water," a Native American and Israel Ludlow, Dayton's first land surveyor. Through their skit, students were able to form arguments for a debate to take place in class on floods. The subject of the debate being, "Should people settle on the floodplain?"

Another great oppurtunity awaits as next Friday we will meet again with the students of Holy Angels.

Thanks go to Franz, Gretchen, McLean, Ann, and Maggie for all of their hard work!

Check out their great work!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This is scary

Plans for the third largest hydroelectric dam in the world have been approved. Where's it going to be built? Brazil, on a tributary of the Amazon river, right in the middle of the rain forest. More than 70 more other dams are planned for the Amazon's tributaries.

Obviously the environmental impact of such a project will be massive, according to the article as much as 200 square miles may be flooded, this we know. What I find most interesting are the ethical questions that this damming project entails. Brazil is a country with an exploding population and this dam will be able to supply electricity to the homes of roughly 23 million people. This will allow for a more modern quality of life for the people of the region, at the cost of further development of the rain forest. Nobody will disagree that the loss of that much rain forest will be catastrophic, but who are we to say that these people don't have the right to endeavor to improve their quality of life. In general Americans and Europeans have grown accustomed to high standards of living, why should people in South America, Africa, and the Middle East not feel entitled to do the same.
It is a scary question to ask, but are we approaching a point where there are simply too many people? Has the human population exceeded the earths carrying capacity. Will earths natural wonders be able to survive alongside an increasingly advanced and numerous human population. So far the answer seems to be no. In my mind I want to draw this out to the sci-fi extreme where we have essentially engineered the planet to maintain our survival. If the global population continues to grow could this ever be the case; will we be able to accept that we may need to curb our lifestyles and live more simply. I think it would be like living in Europe during the dark ages in the shadows of the extinct Roman empire, or perhaps during the great depression. It would be very strange if everyday you encountered things which reminded you of a time when life was more complex and expectations higher. To look up at an aqueduct as you struggle to haul water from a well, or trying to sell apples at the foot of the office building where you used to work. Could it happen to us now, or in the near future? A collapse of the modern lifestyle. I think it is easy for those of us living comfortably to think in terms of the long term impact of damming tributaries of the Amazon. Those people in Brazil who will have a steady supply of electricity for the first time; I wonder how they feel. We did dam the Colorado during the Great Depression.

Please pardon my rambling.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Holy Angels Week 1

Last Friday, the River Stewards started a six week curriculum with Holy Angels Catholic School. For the next six weeks we will be teaching 5th and 6th graders about the Dayton's rivers. Friday, we discussed the Great Miami Watershed and the aquifer. The students were enthusiastic and had great questions. I would like to thank Jenny, Leah, and Tommy for all of their help!

This will be a great opportunity to be involved in the next 5 weeks!