The Rally Experience

River Network has hosted River Rally for decades, bringing the network together for an infusion of learning, inspiration, and celebration. The joyful and deeply moving experience of River Rally combats feelings of isolation, overwhelm, and burnout for network members working at the intersection of water and justice by building knowledge and skills, diversifying perspectives and solutions, recognizing achievements within the network, and strengthening connections. Built by and for the national network of water, justice, and river advocates, River Rally ignites collective action and power for the years ahead. 

Explore the last five years of River Rally! Read past programs, Rally impact reports, view photo galleries, and hear from attendees about what Rally is really like.

River Rally 2022

After two years of virtual gatherings, River Rally returned to an in-person event! We gathered June 4-7, in the heart of DC, on the ancestral land of the Nacotchtank (or Anacostan) people, in the nation’s capital. The excitement for a return to an in-person Rally was palpable, and reminded us of the power, resilience, and positivity of the national network of water protectors. Sharing space once again allowed for renewed connections and a deepening of community, moving us all to new levels of excitement for the work ahead.

Explore the 2022 program.
Read the 2022 impact report.
Watch the plenary panel “Getting Unstuck: Stepping Into Power with Philanthropy.”

Virtual River Rally 2021

The second virtual River Rally featured an engaging and fun virtual program that ran for four empowering days, May 17-20, 2021. Participants had access to ‘live’ content including plenaries, workshops, discussions, and inspiring reflections from award recipients, along with access to a huge library of recorded workshops, opportunities to connect with peers, and an innovative new community platform.

Explore the 2021 program.
Read the 2021 impact report.
Watch the Awards Panel.

Virtual River Rally 2020

In 2020, we went virtual! The three-week program ran from May 18 – June 5 and included over 100 hours of content across six themes and content included addressing how we are all adapting to a world transformed by COVID-19. We are grateful to the 500+ registrants, presenters, sponsors, and other partners for their flexibility, patience, and willingness to jump into this with us.

Explore the 2020 program.
Read the 2020 impact report.
Watch the Awards Panel.

River Rally 2019

Held along the banks of the Cuyahoga River, River Rally 2019 marked 50 years since that river last caught fire from unregulated pollution. The program featured keynote speaker Keesha Gaskins-Nathan and two plenary panels: “Water Equity, Security, and Climate Risk” and “The Changing Faces of Agriculture.” 2019 marked the first Idea Exchanges, unique opportunities to connect on specific issues, and was the most diverse River Rally to date.

Explore the 2019 program.
Read the 2019 impact report.
Check out the 2019 photo gallery.

River Rally 2018

River Rally 2018 took place in Olympic Valley, CA, marking the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act surrounded by the waters of the Truckee River and Lake Tahoe. The 2018 program featured keynote speaker Tim Palmer, plenary panel “Invest in Water – The Role of Rivers and Lakes in Our Lives, Economies, and Future” and plenary and table top discussions “Federal Panel – What Gives Us Hope.”

Explore the 2018 program.
Read the 2018 impact report.
Check out the 2018 photo gallery.

River Rally 2017

River Rally 2017 recognized and brought full focus to the ways in which the social and political context of water was changing, and explored political, economic, social, and other divisions, to fully understand where we stood at this place in time. Attendees heard from speakers Dr. Dorceta Taylor, Frank Ettawageshik, and others, and plenary panels “Affordability, Equity, and Drinking Water,” “Rethinking Our Relationship to Urban Rivers,” and “Lessons from Standing Rock and Beyond.”

Explore the 2017 program.
Read the 2017 impact report.

  • "River Rally gives its participants an opportunity to meet with other organizations and environmental stakeholders to highlight challenges and to collectively forge solutions for using and managing our number one resource in the world more sustainably....water!"

    Jonathan Phillips Groundwork Elizabeth
  • "River Rallythat gave me so much energy. Anytime I’m with other people doing this work in other contexts—I think it’s easy to be geographically siloed—we’re in Grand Rapids, and that’s our space. But being with people who are doing this on…similarly small scales but everywhere all at once. It reminds me that we’re all in a watershed, and that watersheds are nested…We’re all connected in that way."

    Araceli Eikenberry-Mancilla Plaster Creek Stewards
  • "The networking has been one of the most powerful things that I’ve experienced as a professional in this space. Without it, I don’t think these connections would be made as solidly. The interactions, friendships, and family life of Rally participants is almost unparalleled. I’ve asked about other spaces and conferences where people can connect in this way, producing this kind of family atmosphere, and it just doesn’t exist."

    Darryl Haddock West Atlanta Watershed Alliance
  • "Thank you very much for the opportunity to attend River Rally! I have attended so many wonderful workshops to expand my knowledge in new areas. Beyond my interest in education and outreach, I have learned about non-profit accounting, fundraising, water quality standards and behavior change. I am also walking away with some new River Rally friends from across the country."

    Eileen Everett Santa Fe Watershed Association
  • "Thank you so much for making it possible for me to represent little Rhode Island at the River Rally. This is by far the best rivers conference in the world and I bring back knowledge that makes Rhode Island water cleaner!"

    Alicia Lehrer Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council
  • "River Rally is the single most educational, inspiring event that I have attended. My sincere gratitude for this incredibly valuable opportunity to learn, network, and celebrate."

    Ashley Traut Blue Water Baltimore
  • "This year was my first time coming to River Rally and it was much more than I expected. Being surrounded by so many peers who are all working for the same goal really puts my work into perspective. I left River Rally completely exhausted, yet motivated and inspired to keep charging forward. I will definitely be returning in the future and encourage anyone with hesitations to cast them to the wind and sign up. River Rally just may change your life..."

    Neally Rhea Galveston Bay Foundation
  • "This is the most inspiring conference I’ve ever had the opportunity to attend. I have so many new ideas on engaging my community about watershed issues and become stewards of the long term. Thank you for this opportunity."

    Taylor Brook Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe
  • "I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this amazing conference. I am so impressed with the energy and education of presenters as well as the flawless organization of the whole weekend."

    Chelsea Updegrove The Lands Council
  • "Thank you for investing in the future of water in our shared environment, but most importantly, thank you for your investment in my personal and professional development. I am wiser thanks to you."

    Merri Sheffield
  • "Thank you so much for making it possible to be here at River Rally. I’m here for the first time and loving it. I think it’s super important to have people of color be a part of this movement."

    Sergio Cira-Reyes Urban Core Collective
  • "Just as I begin to feel tired and defeated and consider a non-environmental career move, I came to River Rally and heard Monica Lewis-Patrick speak. Thank you for allowing people like me to attend River Rally. Sometimes it takes one to have powerful moment at River Rally to hit the reset button on my motivation. It’s tough out there but that’s why the River Network family is so important."

    Chelsea Blount New River Conservancy
  • "Gracias! Thanks for the opportunity to attend River Rally 2019! I gained numerous ideas and best practices that I can’t wait to go back and try in communities in central California where millions of residents don’t have water, have contaminated water, and/or pay hundreds of dollars for water they cannot use."

    River Rally 2019 Scholarship Recipient
  • "This was my first year at River Rally and I gained a lot of useful information, met amazing folks doing similar work to me and, perhaps most importantly renewed my passion! I could not have come without your support, but now that I have been here I know that I cannot miss attending in the future. It is that valuable! Thank you!"

    Holly Loff Eagle River Watershed Council