Dear Friends and Supporters --
I hope you have enjoyed some spring river time lately, and I want to thank you for your ongoing support and interest. This great community watershed organization has made a difference for our communities and a whole generation of young people.
Founded in 1994, the award winning River Exchange has served as an effective, and at times “inspirational,” forum for collaborative planning, serious dialogue, restoration, appreciation and fun hands-on education concerning the health of our southern Siskiyou County watersheds, especially the Upper Sacramento River.
Through the years, we have gone through several phases related to leadership, funding, mission tweaking, and staffing. And for the past two years, even with your support, we have been in a bit of a “down” phase, with funding and staffing at minimal levels.
During this time, we are proud that we’ve stayed afloat as an entirely volunteer organization with some funding for program costs. We’ve continued to deliver basic services like the Great River Cleanup (totaling about 600 pounds of trash in 2014 and 2015), and in 2015, the Mountain Film Festival. Also in 2015, we contracted to provide a watershed education coordinator for Dunsmuir Elementary, and we’re working toward continuing that successful and well-appreciated program.
The River Exchange retains a fine reputation locally and at the state level, and remains financially solvent. As a reputable non-profit, we are in a position to serve as a grant administrator and coordinator for community activities and watershed education, appreciation, conservation, and more.
After 22 years, we’re proud of our accomplishments and certain that there is still great value and creative potential in The River Exchange. Our mission still rings true: “To promote healthy watersheds through community involvement in stewardship, restoration, and education.’
Recognizing the continuing possibilities for education and community science in our wonderful surroundings, a nucleus of educators, science types, conservationists, and other river enthusiasts have emerged and begun discussing “re-booting” The River Exchange, building new leadership (yep, my time is nearly up), considering different business models, retaining what works, and bringing in younger energy, interests, and know-how.
Sadly, one of our most dedicated and beloved Board Members, Gene O’Rourke, recently passed away. We would like to recruit several new Board members to help guide our future efforts, as well as other volunteers with various types of expertise. We also celebrate our current high commitment board members, and especially founding board President and avid fisher/birder Chris Stromsness, who remains on the board today. Thank you all!
On the evening of June 21, we are holding an open discussion session to generate ideas and begin reforming our organization, leadership, and programs. Let’s make way for the future to emerge.
Please join us at the Cornet Building (where we share a cool space with up-and-coming innovative businesses Mountain Medics and FireWhat) at 5727 Dunsmuir Avenue at 7 pm on June 21 for refreshments and thoughtful conversation as we begin to Re-boot The River Exchange in 2016!
If you have ever been in on the beginning of co-creating a new effort with like-minded folks, you know that these can be highly innovative and the best of times!
I hope to see you on June 15th ! Bring all your ideas and imagination!
Phil Detrich, President of Board of Directors, The River Exchange