Celebrating Wild and Scenic Rivers 50th: Engaging Your Diverse Community

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. Groups around the country will be celebrating this milestone and looking to the future of our Wild and Scenic Rivers. This webinar, held June 4, 2018, explored how organizations can engage with diverse river advocates, including: students, veterans and members of the military, outfitters, and the Latino community.


Denielle Perry is an Assistant Professor at Northern Arizona University in the School of Earth Sciences & Environmental Sustainability. Her research focuses on the tensions between water resources conservation and development in the US, Latin America, and China. She is particularly interested in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and how it can be used as a policy framework around the globe for biodiversity conservation and climate adaptation. Before entering the academy, Denielle worked as a whitewater guide for over a decade. Denielle will illustrate the value of cultivating campus-community to engage students in water issues. The first Student Water Symposium at Northern Arizona University provides such a venue to discuss river conservation, and Denielle will highlight successes and lessons learned from this year’s panel discussion and film screening, as well as other symposium events.

Soleil Black served as search and rescue in the US Coast Guard for four years on H-60 helicopters and C-130 planes. Soleil serves as a volunteer outing leader with the Sierra Club’s Military Outdoors Program. She shares successes and personal stories on veteran and military engagement through the Sierra Club’s annual Memorial Day river trip on the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River.

Kristl Johnson manages guest services for Sheri Griffith Expeditions, a long-standing whitewater outfitting company. Kristl illustrates the company’s commitment to “rafting with purpose” during the anniversary year by recounting successes from a special 50th anniversary Yampa River trip designed to inspire clients through education about Yampa river management and the Yampa’s status as a proposed Wild and Scenic River.

Melissa Martinez is a Forest Service Wild and Scenic Rivers fellow through a partnership with the Hispanic Access Foundation. Her work this year in the Forest Service DC Office focuses on incorporating diverse communities into the Wild and Scenic Rivers 50th Celebration and providing collaborative partnership support. Jenny Brandt is the Environmental Programs Director for the Hispanic Access Foundation and leads the Latino Conservation Week Initiative. Together, Melissa and Jenny discuss Latino Conservation Week, a week-long initiative in July created by Hispanic Access Foundation to get members of Latino communities into the outdoors. This week provides an opportunity to partner with Hispanic community leaders and organizations in the context of the rivers anniversary, provide Latino families and youth with opportunities to connect with nearby rivers, and support the Latino community’s commitment to conservation.

Webinar Recording

Resource Materials