We are a group of small communities. As a whole we care about all aspects of the life in Vermont. The rivers provide some of the most important visual and recreational lifelines that connect us all. From snow covered rocks and bridges to the cool refreshing waterfalls of summer to the kayaking and fishing to the actual water source our rivers are a mainstay of the Vermont land scape and our futures. When we can pull together even in the smallest way to keep the health of the rivers going. It is a personal shot in the arm and makes the rivers even more personal. I have been proud to help Kelly and her amazing efforts even if it has been minimal. I usually volunteer with corporate type fund raisers put on by professional folks with thousands of participants. To compare the love and emotion that goes into the events Kelly Stetter puts together for the rivers well, I just can't. When all the hoopla of the big events are over, it is the river I go home to and relax. I think of Kelly.
This group is the brainchild and lead by an incredibly energetic, resourceful and well informed woman, a true environmental and river advocate. Because of these virtues she attracts like minded and energetic individuals who somehow are able to get many of the projects done. There are many educational opportunities to not only take advantage of but also to give! For those that are more attracted to the physical side of things, there are plenty of opportunities to aid the welfare of the river by hiking, kayaking, observing and recording for geomorphological surveys, BRAT surveys/studies/observations and also enjoying the fellowship of other fellow BRATs on team outings or functions. There are no formal meetings but we are well informed via email and the blogsite about what is going on, what needs to be done/opportunities and there is always the request for out input. How can this get better??
Sue, thanks for posting; you're absolutely right, we do need to delve deeper into the ups and downs of stepping out on our own. It will likely open up a few more grantseeking avenues, and we should investigate what it would require initially as well as on an ongoing basis. Any resources you come across, including and especially your own experiences, would be most welcome. I'm so glad you have had such a positive experience with the BRAT! You mention that there are educational opportunities to give...I'd like to see more of that somehow, tap into the wonderful folks in the community who know the river in some way and engage them in sharing their knowledge, wisdom and experiences. Any thoughts on ways to do that, aside from organizing workshops?
Kelly, founder and director of BRAT, has volunteered to present programs to children at the library that introduce them to creatures that live in the river and raise awareness of the river environment. These hands on programs are extrmely popular and generate lots of excitement amongst the participants. Most importantly, Kelly instills a feeling of stewardship for the river in the kids that will last a lifetime.
Most appreciated! I'm hoping that more and more kids will begin to appreciate what it means to have a clean and healthy river in their community, and will understand what it takes to keep it that way. Thanks for supporting our work!
Walking over a bridge in 2000, I looked down into the water to discover shopping carts, tires and litter staring back up at me. I was disgusted; "Somebody ought to DO something about that!" I remember scoffing. My husband elbowed me and replied, "Well, YOU'RE 'somebody.'" And so began the first annual RiverSweep, an ongoing event to keep the Black River clear of trash of all kinds. Volunteers of all ages join the effort in a variety of towns throughout the watershed, and area businesses support our work with donations of goods, services and cash. Over the years, I've learned much more about what it takes to keep a river running in good condition. I do regular Bug Hunts, looking for aquatic macroinvertebrates that live on the bottom of the river and the streams that feed it. I conduct workshops on Japanese knotweed, an invasive exotic plant that can have a negative effect on river banks. And I am fortunate to be surrounded by volunteers who have many skills and ideas to offer, from leading paddling excursions to coordinating outreach events, from videography to mapping. We've been helping the Black River for 10 years now, and we have so many new projects that are just coming together; it's very exciting being a BRAT! I hope you'll consider joining the fun.