Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ASI 345 - Week 4

For class 4, students explored more of the Great Miami watershed as well as their hometown watershed. Felicia Graham, Environmental Compliance Coordinator for the City of Dayton’s Water Department, discussed Dayton’s storm water system and what the city does to protect our rivers. The presentation stressed personal responsibility andexamined Dayton’s drinking water history. The class then had a chance to tour the city’s camera truck which is used to examine and monitor the inside of storm drains.

Sister Leanne Jablonski facilitated the second part of the class focusing on each student’s hometown watershed. The homework assignment for the class was to identify their connection to their watershed and conduct research on their drinking water source, the health of their rivers and other pertinent information. After discussing their finding in small groups, each student located their watershed on a map and shared something interesting they discovered and something they still wondered with the class. The exercise provided an opportunity for the students to learn about each other while engaging in their own watershed as well as Dayton’s.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Paddling Trip

Dayton Explorers Activity #1: Paddling

Allie giving a Demonstration

Ending at Riverscape

Monday, September 20, 2010

2012 to Troy

In mini-course this past Friday the Junior River Stewards ventured north to the city of Troy. We were greeted by Stan Kegley at the Tin Roof (Try the cupcakes- they're delicious!) We were given the opportunity to see how Troy, the Tin Roof, and Treasure Island have all utilized their stretch of the Great Miami River both in the past and present. From pre-1913 to present day, we examined the different relationships the city has had with the river and the reasons for them.

Today, Troy is a prime example of what we need to strive to create on the river to make the Ohio's Great Corridor project a success. They have created an outstanding outdoor recreation program with a strong emphasis on the river. To quote Mr. Kegley, "If you gave me 50 boats, I could fill them!" Treasure Island also offers a triathalon (held this past weekend), ghost stories around a campfire in October, and a Survivor/Amazing Race competition coming in Summer 2011. These activites and more can really pull people to come down to the river front and help them gain an appreciation for what a resource they have in their backyard. It is important that as one river corridor, as one river system, we keep our focus on the big picture - we are all connected by one river!

Friday, September 17, 2010

ASI 345 - Week 3

The third RLC class introduced the students to the science behind a river system, the aquifer, and the watershed. In preparation for class they read an ESA article entited Water in a Changing World, along with fact sheets on floods and watersheds. Dr. Eric Benbow presented on the three topics during the first part of the class stressing the River Continuum Concept, the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer and the connection between surface and ground water. Katie Schoenenberger demonstrated this connection through with a model simulating how water (and contamination) move through the aquifer.

The second half of the class, Dr. Hippensteel Hall presented on the history of Dayton’s rivers, urbanization trends and practical things each of us can do to help keep the river clean. The discussion included the effects of runoff from construction sites, household lawns, and parking lots as well as steps that can be taken to reduce runoff and options for low impact development.

Next week the class will focus on the City of Dayton’s Water Department, innovative steps Dayton has taken to keep our rivers clean, and the students’ connection to their hometown watershed. We invite those interested in the class to join us on Tuesdays from 3:00-5:45 in RecPlex meeting room B.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mohican Adventure

Hey guys!
SO, this past weekend a few friends and I traveled up to Mohican State Park for a camping trip. It was so wonderful to get out into nature again. Within 10 minutes of being at the park, my roomate witnessed her first shooting star! This was a definite sign that the trip was going to be a success. We set up camp Friday night and went to bed early after some more time spent star-gazing. Saturday morning we woke up bright and early and went hiking. We saw some amazing sights and even took a break to play in the river :). The most eventful part of our trip was most definitely an early morning kayak trip. 12 miles of peaceful paddling was a perfect end to our weekend away!

Friday, September 10, 2010

ASI 345 - Week 1 & 2

After two weeks of classes, ASI 345 River Leadership is well underway! During the first class, the students learned about the unique process and development of the course as well as the Fitz Center and the Rivers Institute. After covering the syllabus, student learning outcomes and the logistics of the course, the class launched into a discussion on the common good examining it from an economic perspective and emphasizing the sociological and policy implications. To gain a better understanding of the common good, the class traveled to SunWatch Archeological Park along the Great Miami to learn about the Fort Ancient Indians and this river civilization's understanding of the common good.

After exploring the tragedy of the commons and what the common good means to each student, the second class challenged the students to create a definition of sustainability for the class to use throughout the remainder of the semester. Emily Klein, graduate assistant for the Fitz Center, led the class through a discussion of the reading Hope and Hard Times and led an exercise in nominal group technique to help the students develop a definition everyone could agree upon. The students started by brainstorming terms and concepts they felt were essential to sustainability. After listing all the ideas, each person picked the five concepts they felt were the most important. The class then construction a definition using the concepts and terms voted more relevant.

Class definition: "Sustainability is a community-wide effort to protect and restore the environment which requires citizen responsibility, interdisciplinary perspective and leadership continually working towards achievable step-wise goals of engaging with nature, increasing awareness, and balancing natural resources for the long-term common good of the natural world and its inhabitants."

The session focused on sustainability, but was also a lesson in leadership. The nominal group technique stresses the importance of listening to others' ideas, balancing inquiry and advocacy, and working together to create a shared vision where each person can recognize their contribution to the final product.