THE PERSONIFICATION OF NATURAL WATERSCAPES: A BRIEF HISTORY OF FRIENDS OF THE RIVER (1[phone redacted])
Water Watchers-Education Advocacy Adventure! Environmental Justice Promotion through Experiential Outdoor Education on the River
UC Water Academy
Friends of the River
Lessons and Reflections from Wooden Boats
Sitting in a seat previously occupied by legends, I felt a sense of humbling. Rowing a wooden boat down a rocky white water river is like a large-scale game of egg toss. This was not just a wooden boat however, it was the Glen Canyon dory. The beauty of this craft is in the wood work, the paint, the history, and the many stories it has told, and will tell. For seventeen years I danced. I performed on a stage with bright lights, tutus, and pointe shoes. After I blew out my ACL, PCL and meniscus on stage, American Ballet Theatre was a road that I ended up never taking. Now, I have found dance in other forms of life. Dancing down a river in a fragile boat or through my academic passions. Dance gave me the gift of organization, determination, discipline, and drive. Four years ago, I walked the halls at UC Berkeley for the first time. As an artist, I had always found success in balancing creative outlets with research. During those first days in a new home I happened upon a club that would become family. FAST was a creative outlet and political platform. FAST is Berkeley's student led runway fashion show organization. At the time I joined the club it consisted of 45 members. Then as I worked as Model Director, Vice President and the President, I expanded FAST into a 250-person club. To commence my last semester with FAST, I decided upon a political theme, LIBERATION. Liberation was a statement to support mental and physical freedom in today's society. The assets that I took with me from that experience include, political expression, organization, leadership of large groups, and public speaking. Paralleling my time at FAST was my continued work with Friends of the River. I started the first campus chapter of FOR at UC Berkeley since the organizations founding in 1973. As part of my work with river conservation I taught a brand-new class titled "Water Activism and Water as a Human Right". Teaching a small seminar brought new perspectives on how to work with a group of people. In addition to being accepted into the first class of the river advocacy training school with FOR, I was also in the inaugural class of the UC Water Academy. My undergraduate career allowed me to specialize in California water. This is one of three areas I would like to work in as a result of my academic career.
After completing a JD in water rights law and a PhD in Hydrology, I would like to work in the California, Columbia and Colorado river watersheds. My goal is to adapt my PhD findings and continue to educate the public on the importance of free flowing and healthy rivers. I plan to look into the possibility of a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution to create hydropower and water storage without cement dams. Not only is this important for hydrologic and environmental sciences but it is also addressing a national safety and public health issue. Dams have been found to harm the water and air quality of surrounding areas which in turn can cause higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Internationally dam infrastructure is aging and therefore becoming ticking time bombs. If a dam were to fail completely it could result in massive causalities. First people’s cultures believed in looking seven generations into the future to make decisions in their present time. We can learn a lot from Native practices both socially and in terms of managing natural resources. Everyone will be impacted by limited amounts of fresh water in the future. It will not just be the people living near dams whose health is adversely impacted or those who can visit rivers whose psychological health is nurtured. All organisms depend on water for life. Why a concurrent JD and PhD water resources program? I want to be able to continue my interdisciplinary education so that I can have academic training in several fields. I want to work to save and restore rivers. If I am needed as a lawyer I will fill that role and if I can work as a scientist I will pursue research in river restoration. With a background in both fields, I will hopefully stand out in job application pools. I aim to work as a champion in promoting Wild and Scenic designation. Eventually, I would like to introduce my non-profit idea to the environmental, river protection movement. As I move through my graduate degrees, I plan to continue my research and teaching while in academia and the outdoor education world. Environmental psychology research has proven that exposure to nature changes the individual’s psyche. I would like to continue to test my hypotheses in this area by furthering the research I conducted for my human rights minor. Additionally, I plan to focus my PhD on finding a sustainable solution to replace dam infrastructure. In tandem with educating people on their commonalities as human beings, I will continue teaching about the importance of healthy river systems.
Wars will be fought over for water in the future. My desire to work with water stems from a passion that has been part of my core being since I was little. I grew up on rivers, exploring the Redwoods, and appreciating the history of the United States. In seventh grade I conducted my science fair project on sedimentation in the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon. Throughout grade school and high school I entered History Day competitions, focusing on the “forgotten” figures of history. Due to my multitude of passions I came across Environmental History as one of my focus points at Cal. We must understand our past to better the future. This is true in fields of science and humanities research. Interdisciplinary education is the key to future generations learning how to innovate and work together. The generation of problem solving and compromise is on the rise. The problems we face today will not be solved unless compromises can be reached. Over the past three years working on a Wild and Scenic river in the largest wilderness area in the lower 48, I have fallen in love. I have also deepened my love of all rivers and now have a strong desire to restore and protect them. Having the honor to row the Glen Canyon dory, a boat named for a place drowned by mankind, was a spiritually moving week. These places have an impact on the soul and they have had a life changing impact on mine. The last four years of my life have been filled with momentous events that have led me to seek a concurrent water resources program. With the development of my passions and skills, I will be able to continue teaching about water resources and the many social facets that are deeply tied to this natural resource. Along with the education of others and continued spreading of awareness, my intent is to improve public safety and health as well. Water is a foundation of society and life. My personal and academic passions for water have found voices in different outlets but on the last day of the commercial season for 2017, it did not need a voice. Silent tears of joy and understanding ran down my cheeks, masked behind sunglasses. As I paused my rowing to enjoy that moment, I reflected on a quote that Royal Robbins wrote for me before I was born. "When you reach the top, keep on climbing." Well, I am going to do just that, and it is going to be in honor of Mother.
Approximate cost of tuition for one year: University of Idaho - $34,000
Approximate cost of expenses in addition to tuition for one year of law school: $20,000
I put $20,000 as a starting number. This would only cover 1/3 of total cost. For the remaining cost, I am hopeful for scholarships from the law school I end up attending; please reference the resume on my personal website for information on my GPA coming from Berkeley. If both of those funding options still do not cover full cost, I am prepared to pull out loans. Lastly, if I can raise more that the initial $20,000 it will aid in decreasing the probability of having to take out loans. If I am able to complete this program without too much debt, I will be able to work enacting change right away, instead of having to secure a job outside of the field in order to pay off debt. Lastly, any funds not used to first year will be used the following year, in 2019. This fund will go to support the JD/PhD program, it will not be used for personal activities.
- huey johnson
- Tom Biglione
- Bettina Redway
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