As I approach the last fourth of my Junior year as a River Steward (oh my goodness, that's difficult to say and even think about!), I keep realizing just how far I've come since my first Orientation trip as a Sophomore. It's not just about teaching people of all ages about the assets our rivers are, or kayaking to experience the beauty of the rivers, or learning about the policy, science, engineering, business, culture, and education that governs our rivers - I've learned that pieces of all those disciplines come together to form a unique vision for every region. If there's water, you can bet there will be impassioned people.
I've come across a really cool initiative in Indianapolis called Reconnecting to Our Waterways, aka ROW): the science of a better city. The second I saw it, it reminded me a lot of what we do in River Stewards - they have elements to improve the quality of life, or vitality, of their region, just like we do. They have plans and measurement techniques to gauge their successes, like we do. They even have a pretty neat video with time lapse, like we do! I think that this kind of approach to city development - focusing on our natural assets, approaching the development from a holistic, vital viewpoint - is what cities in the United States need to be healthier, happier, and more successful. There's a certain imbalance if a city focuses solely on economic development, or just on its ecological vitality, or just the aesthetics of a region. Cities work better when everything works together. It's why I love the River Summit and why I love being a Steward: everyone comes together to learn and teach and help others see our region as the amazing place we know it to be - to make life great.
Check out their website, it's pretty neat!
P.S. In other news, I was so happy to discover that one of my favorite pop up shops from Activated Spaces has a permanent residence and a new name: TRADE. GO DAYTON!