Virtual River Rally Experience – Provisional Workshop Listing

Virtual River Rally offers over 60 workshops across each of our six themes. Live workshops will be presented each week, from May 18-June 7, with on-demand workshops available during this time, and for two additional months, until August 14. For full theme descriptions, click here.

We also have two workshop tracks: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, or Climate Justice (E) and Water Infrastructure (I).

This workshop listing is draft and subject to change as we finalize the virtual River Rally experience.

 

 

Water & Agriculture

Live Workshops, Week of May 18

  • Connecting Rural Conservation to Urban Restoration (E): A Michigan case study shows how connecting upstream agricultural conservation to downstream urban restoration creates opportunities for unique partnerships and funding. Workshop activities will help you identify opportunities in your own watershed. Eileen Boekestein and Carlos Calderon, Grand Valley Metro Council/Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds 
  • Restoring Freshwater to Texas Ecosystems (E): Workshop participants will learn how to effectively work with willing farmers and ranchers to restore freshwater flows to important Texas ecosystems. These flow restoration efforts will be related to similar work in other western states. Sharlene Leurig, Texas Water Trade; Kyle Garmany, The Nature Conservancy 

On-Demand Workshops

  • The Confluence of Agriculture and the Environment: To be successful, watershed management planning needs agricultural involvement. This workshop highlights how agriculture interconnects with watershed and stream management planning, from initiating local planning efforts to implementing multi-benefit improvements, along with what producers identify as their greatest water-related challenges and how they are dealing with changing dynamics around water. Phil Brink, Colorado Cattlemen’s Ag Water NetWORK; Callie Hendrickson, White River & Douglas Creek Conservation Districts; Gretchen Rank, Mancos Conservation District 
  • Business for Water Stewardship Project Bank: Are you leading projects that restore river flows and/or ground water? Would you like to connect with businesses who may want to support them? If the answer is “Yes!” attend this session to learn about the Business for Water Stewardship Project Bank. April Ingle, River Network 
  • Farm Bill Funding for River Conservation (E): Federal agency funding can often provide a foundation for building partnerships to improve river health, drought resiliency, and other community priorities. Come learn about program funding available from USDA, the Bureau of Reclamation, and EPA. Melinda Kassen, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership\
  • Understanding Rural Attitudes Toward the Environment and Conservation in America: Rural Americans matter—a lot—to the fate of U.S. environmental policy. While rural Americans express support for natural resource conservation, they and their elected officials often voice less support for existing federal environmental policies and laws. Why do rural voters and their representatives often oppose environmental regulations? What accounts for this apparent rural/urban divide on attitudes toward environmental policy? This session will unpack these questions and explore the opportunities that exist to engage rural voters on climate change and environmental policies generally. Robert Bonnie, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University

 

 

Resilient Communities

Live Workshops, Week of May 18

  • A Tale of Two Richmonds: Equity, Climate, & History (E): In Richmond, VA, and Richmond, CA, we’re examining the impact of climate change on our communities through the lens of historic policies of discrimination. Learn how data and community-based conversations are shaping climate resilience strategies. Rob Jones, Groundwork RVA; Matt Holmes, Groundwork Richmond 
  • Mobilizing Communities in Land and Water Work (E, I): Learn from stewardship leaders in Detroit and Kansas City about how to revitalize and build resilient communities through service learning, green infrastructure, clean water access, and prioritizing economic opportunities that benefit neighborhoods. Jill Erickson, Heartland Conservation Alliance; Alicia Smith, Freshwater Future 

On-Demand Workshops

  • Plastics Crisis: Fighting a Petrochemical Buildout (E): Break Free From Plastic is a global movement that seeks to shift the narrative of plastics toward rural and urban communities who face disproportionate impacts from plastics production. Learn how to weave these themes into your ongoing advocacy work. Yvette Arellano, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.); Tricia Cortez, Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC Inc.) 
  • Rooted in Nature: Achieving Equitable Resilience (E, I): The session will highlight the lessons-learned and the victories achieved in the implementation of nature-based projects and development of cross-sector approaches in advancing equity in the wake of climate-related disasters. Jordan Macha, Bayou City Waterkeeper; Iris Gonzalez, Coalition for Environment, Equity, and Resilience
  • Daylighting the Saw Mill River (E): Learn how architects, artists, community groups, city officials, and more came together to daylight Yonkers, NY’s forgotten underground Saw Mill River, leading to ecological, economic, and cultural revitalization. Discover ideas and proven methods for how to daylight your own hidden waterways. Brigitte Griswold, Groundwork Hudson Valley 
  • Green Design for a Resilient Caño Martin Peña (E, I): San Juan, Puerto Rico, was devastated by floods following Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Learn how community-based green infrastructure design assistance benefited these communities affected by urban flooding. Clark Wilson, US EPA Office of Research and Development
  • Leading with Equity for Flooding Resilience and Investments in Water Infrastructure (E, I):  Historically marginalized populations suffer disproportionately from the effects of flooding and inadequate infrastructure investments. A focus on equity is key to increasing resilience, creating opportunities for community feedback and targeting future investments to positively impact vulnerable populations. Learn how institutionalized racism and other forms of inequity play out and what can be done to address them. Darryl Haddock, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance; Jennifer ArnoldReciprocity Consulting, LLC 

 

 

Effective Leadership

Live Workshops, Week of May 25

  • Making a Stronger Case for Water (E): Take a deep dive into communicating about water conservation. In a highly interactive workshop, we will explore assumptions about diversity (geographic, ethnic, economic), the place of climate in our work, and what we can learn from other movements. Brandon Hayes, Bold Bison Communications and Consulting 
  • Lessons on Network-Building from the Delaware River (E): Learn how a network-based strategy is supporting a large coalition to create change basin-wide. Leave this interactive session with tools for balancing the benefits and costs of collaboration, cross-state advocacy approaches, and forming effective partnerships. Kelly Knutson, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed; Grant La Rouche, National Wildlife Federation; Sarah Clark, Institute for Conservation Leadership 
  • Building Multi-Racial Organizations for Our Waters (E): We will discuss the differences between diversity, equity, inclusion, and multi-racial leadership and share stories – both successes and challenges – as Milwaukee Water Commons works to build a multi-racial organization focused on our waters. Brenda Coley and Kirsten Shead, Milwaukee Water Commons  
  • Getting More BANG from Your Strategic Plan: The product of strategic planning is not a document; it is the consensus that stands behind it. In this workshop, participants will learn how to organize an inclusive process that will help drive the organization forward with vision and energy. David Allen, Development for Conservation

On-Demand Workshops

  • Inspiring and Mobilizing Your Board of Directors: Your Board exists to provide leadership and support in all of your organization’s programmatic areas – including fundraising! Learn the “why” of board fundraising, actionable steps and fundraising tactics to set your Board up for success. Demystify the fundraising process, anyone can do it. Lisa Runkel, River Network 
  • The Power of Hidden River Histories: We will learn to use historical skills to empower us to tell stories of our communities. Using as examples historical maps, journal entries, and photos, we will discuss what it takes to create livable and just pasts and futures for our rivers. Scot McFarlane, Columbia University; Ramya Swayamprakash, River Historian and Ph.D. Candidate  
  • Making a Splash When Talking About River Flows: In this interactive training, participants will learn how to navigate messaging to different audiences in red states. Discover which messages will resonate with each audience and who should be the messenger. Eric Eckl, Water Words That Work, LLC 
  • Volunteer Programs That Transform Organizations (E): You can design your volunteer program to build advocacy, increase diversity, and train spokespeople and program leaders. We’ll explore the exemplary volunteer program of the Huron River Watershed Council, which has transformed the organization. Baird Straughan, LeadGreen; Jason Frenzel, Huron River Watershed Council 
  • Understanding Your Organization’s Reach: Calculate your organization’s current reach and learn how to increase engagement. Participants will explore how to use the reach their organization currently has to acquire higher-level sponsors and increase attendance at events. Theresa Huck, South Yuba River Citizens League 
  • New Voices at the Water Table (E): Can priority neighborhoods build leadership among their residents? The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council is working on just that in Providence, RI. Come find out how students engage adults to become leaders in priority neighborhoods. Alicia Lehrer and Sara Canuel, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council; Kiana Gonzalez, MET Student
  • Setting the Stage for Effective Meeting Management: Do your meetings always start the same way? There are better ways to set up, introduce, and run a meeting to produce meaningful discussions and generate creative ideas. This workshop will review some tips to help hold more effective meetings. Amy Zola, San Antonio River Authority

 

Science & Climate

Live Workshops, Week of May 25

  • How’s My Waterway?: Learn about EPA’s “How’s My Waterway?” application and the data it provides. Attendees will feel empowered to communicate water quality information to their community in order to protect and restore their waters. Kiki Schneider, US EPA, Office of Water; Miranda Chien-Hale, US EPA, Office of Water, Watershed Branch 
  • Streamline the Life Cycle of Your Data (E): Have yellowed data collection sheets jammed in a cabinet? This workshop is for you. The Water Data Collaborative wants to help you manage, integrate, and visualize their data. Learn a streamlined process and best practice resources to quickly collect and disseminate data with resources like Water Reporter, Salt Watch, and open data management tools. John Dawes, Chesapeake Commons; Sam Briggs, Izaak Walton League of America; Adam Griggs, River Network 

On-Demand Workshops

  • Natural Defenses Against Climate-Driven Flooding (E, I): As extreme rainfall events occur more and more frequently, communities across the country face unprecedented flooding. Learn how green infrastructure and nature-based defenses can protect both communities and rivers from climate-driven disasters. Emily Powell, National Wildlife Federation; Katherine Romans, Hill Country Alliance; Danielle Goshen, Galveston Bay Foundation; Mary Anne Piacentini, Katy Prairie Conservancy 
  • Assessing Climate Resiliency on a Watershed Scale (E): Climate does not adhere to municipal borders. The Lower Grand River Watershed’s Climate Resiliency Plan offers strategies that will build a better and more climate resilient watershed through hands-on projects, data collection, and civic engagement. Wendy Ogilvie and Eileen Boekestein, Grand Valley Metro Council 
  • Meeting the Rural Resilience Imperative: This lively workshop on rural resilience will open your eyes to the importance of rural adaptation and new methods to learn about and protect the vast forests, farms, and watersheds we all depend upon for our air, water, food, fiber, and natural systems. Gwen Griffith, Model Forest Policy Program; Edward (Ned) Gardiner, NOAA Climate Program Office 
  • Advancing Stormwater Mitigation with Science (I): Learn to use science to engage the community and demonstrate the value of stormwater mitigation measures. Speakers will highlight the use of data from three perspectives: green stormwater infrastructure, ecological biodiversity, and triple bottom line. Jake Aalfs, Brandon Herman, and Lee Marlowe, San Antonio River Authority 
  • Inadvertent PCBs: PCBs in our waterways are becoming an increasing concern nationwide. Learn how the Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force; consisting of point source polluters, state agencies, and conservation groups; identifies PCB sources and works toward reduction. Mike Petersen and Chelsea Updegrove, The Lands Council 
  • Birds, Bivalves, Botany: Assessing Ecological Lift: Restoration of the San Antonio River has resulted in ecological lift of the urban river system. Learn about simple tools and practical approaches for measuring lift using plants, birds, and freshwater mussels as bio-indicators. Lee Marlowe, Martin Reid, and Chris Vaughn, San Antonio River Authority 
  • Combating Harmful Algae Blooms: This workshop will discuss Harpeth Conservancy’s experience in attempting to combat harmful algal blooms in the Harpeth River in Middle Tennessee, as a case study by addressing technical and legal issues in measuring and managing nutrient pollution. Ryan Jackwood, Harpeth Conservancy 
  • Increasing Government Support for Citizen Science (E): Citizen science is key to a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future. This presentation on Swim Drink Fish’s Great Lakes monitoring hubs celebrates the growing support to engage citizens in science and recreational water data collection. Gabrielle Parent-Doliner, Swim Drink Fish 
  • Empowering Community Watershed Science: Ever wonder why Google can’t tell you how healthy your river is? Does it seem like you are re-creating the wheel with your monitoring and science programs? Find out how we’re all part of a broken system and how the Water Data Collaborative wants to help turn your datasheets into actionable results. Adam Griggs, River Network; John Dawes, Chesapeake Commons; Sam Briggs, Izaak Walton League of America 
  • The Environmental Flow Information Toolkit (EFIT): The EFIT is a geospatial decision support tool that uses multiple data sources to identify areas for environmental flow protection and restoration. The workshop will review the EFIT development process and its application to streamflow conservation. Johanna Valente, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 

 

Drinking Water

Live Workshops, Week of June 1

  • En Español: How to Reach and Activate Latino Communities (E, I): The session will serve both as the launch of the newly-developed River Network Drinking Water Spanish-language Guide, as well as a case study to review, discuss, and analyze methodologies to create culturally relevant outreach materials and educational tools to empower Latino audiences and other diverse communities around water-related issues. Felipe Benitez, Corazón Latino; Sheyda Esnaashari, River Network 
  • Safe Drinking Water Act 101: The Safe Drinking Water Act is the main federal law governing drinking water, and yet many groups are unfamiliar with how it works. Join us for an overview of this landmark law, including its strengths and weaknesses, and an in depth look at several provisions you can watchdog back home. Katherine Baer, River Network; Nick Leonard, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center; Jennifer Peters, Clean Water Action 

On-Demand Workshops

  • Healthy Forests for Clean Drinking Water (E, I): Keeping our drinking water safe, clean, and affordable requires upstream watershed protection. This workshop will describe strategies to preserve natural lands important for source water protection. Kris Olsson, Huron River Watershed Council; Ellen Koehler, University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center; Josh Leisen, Huron Pines; Kimberly Brewster, Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc.
  • Drinking Water Guide: A Resource for Advocates (E): River Network’s Drinking Water Guide covers the basics of drinking water from the source to your taps. This quick session will provide a high-level overview of the Guide along with tips for how to use it in your community. Sheyda Esnaasshari, River Network
  • Getting the Lead Out While Protecting Watersheds (E, I): Learn about Denver Water’s plan to reduce lead in drinking water while preventing additional nutrient pollution in regional watersheds, understand the challenges and benefits of reducing lead exposure, and how to address lead in your own community. Jennifer Peters, Clean Water Action 
  • National Forests: America’s Best Water Source: With 180 million Americans dependent on drinking water sourced from National Forests and with the need to ensure this water can be tapped now and into the future, new partnerships can enhance and strengthen water protection and resiliency work. Marlies Wierenga, WildEarth Guardians 

 

Policy & Advocacy

Live Workshops, Week of June 1

  • Use Community Knowledge to Achieve Water Equity (E): Participants will be trained on the Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Toolkit and how to implement toolkit strategies in their communities. Learn from community leaders who have used CBPR to achieve more equitable outcomes. Diana Toledo and April Ingle, River Network 
  • Building Bridges Across the Political Divide: An interactive, hands-on training for advocates and communicators. Learn how to find influencers, build relationships with decision makers, and advocate effectively for conservation priorities. Chandra Brown, Influence Advocacy, LLC

On-Demand Workshops

  • Clean Water Act 101 (E): This workshop will introduce participants to the basics of the Clean Water Act, including what it regulates and how people and organizations can use it to protect their local rivers, lakes and streams. Albert Ettinger, Albert Ettinger and No Associates; Gayle Killam, Water Policy Pathways
  • TMDLs – Thinking Beyond Permit Limits: By challenging traditional TMDL implementation, two watershed-based groups are utilizing holistic and cost-effective watershed management approaches to identify and implement watershed-scale projects aimed at improving biodiversity and stream health. Deanna Doohaluk, TCF/DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup; Susan Myerov, Pennsylvania Environmental Council 
  • How to Build a Movement in a Year – A Wisconsin Water Agenda: Learn about the River Alliance of Wisconsin’s bold agenda that reimagines water resource management in keeping with their social, environmental, and economic needs. Raj Shukla, River Alliance of Wisconsin 
  • Civic Participation: More Than Just Volunteering (E): Organizations often struggle to engage the public in restoration and decision-making on a long-term basis. This workshop will describe innovative strategies to engage hard to reach audiences and merge government projects with bottom-up activism. Gretchen Mikeska, District Department of Energy and Environment; Erin Garnaas-Holmes, Clean Water Fund; Dennis Chestnut; Danielle Burs, DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice; Trey Sherard, Anacostia Riverkeeper
  • Online Advocacy Programs for Citizen Engagement (E) Which online advocacy programs fit your organization? What do they cost in time and dollars? What results can you expect? Follow the West Virginia River Coalition’s experience with different programs as it increases citizen engagement by 260%! Baird Straughan, LeadGreen; Kathleen Tyner, West Virginia Rivers Coalition 
  • Stewardship Networks: We’re in This Together (E): We discuss how partners from government, universities, and non-profits have mapped stewardship networks and projects in the Denver Metro area to understand and strengthen the civic capacity to care for the natural resources of Denver’s neighborhoods. Travis Warziniack, US Forest Service 
  • The What, Who, & How of Nonprofit Advocacy Work: One of the greatest myths surrounding 501(c)(3)s is that they cannot participate in advocacy or lobbying. Learn the difference between advocacy and lobbying, how they are defined by law, the regulations governing them, and what activities 501(c)(3)s can and cannot do. Brenna Goggin, River Network 
  • Scaling Investment to Meet Local Water Challenges: This interactive workshop will challenge water leaders to scale localized infrastructure investments to address pressing water supply, stormwater runoff, and water treatment challenges facing their communities. Cynthia Koehler, WaterNow Alliance

 

(E) Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, or Climate Justice | (I) Water Infrastructure

This workshop listing is draft and subject to change as we finalize the virtual River Rally experience.