A New Tool for River Education, Civic Engagement, and Management | eePRO @ NAAEE

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A New Tool for River Education, Civic Engagement, and Management

Deliberation is a method of communication that involves thoughtfully identifying and considering options from multiple perspectives. Issue frameworks are documents used to structure and guide deliberative forums, helping people discuss options for addressing challenging issues. In working to address environmental issues, the process of developing a deliberative framework can be done in a way that engages a variety of interest groups in its creation, ensuring each can identify with at least one of the options discussed in the forum. In a world where education is growing more specialized and societies are growing more individualized, deliberation can provide an interdisciplinary approach to solving complex problems and building connections between otherwise divided groups of people.

During the 2019 spring semester I worked with Sarah Johnson, founder of Wild Rose Education, to create a deliberative forum guide that focuses on addressing the challenges facing our nation’s rivers. The process began with an anonymous survey that was sent to an array of people across the nation, asking them to discuss their own relationships with rivers as well as their concerns for the future of those rivers. Over 80 responses from the survey helped us to shape a working draft of the deliberative forum guide, named Let’s Talk Rivers. The guide introduces the challenges of increasing demands on our nation’s rivers and lists three potential options for addressing those demands, each with a set of possible actions and trade-offs. This addresses specific issues identified by real people across the nation and can be adapted to specific local and regional river issues and challenges.

Rivers are dynamic systems. They create change and shape the places and people who depend upon them. The same should be true of education and the ways in which we approach solving complex challenges in a changing world. We hope that this tool will be valuable to communities of all types; changed, adapted and shaped to help address the dynamic challenges faced by their rivers.

I am now a graduate of the University of Montana, having earned a B.S. in Resource Conservation with a double major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Wilderness Studies. I look forward to continuing to learn and work in the fields of education and conflict resolution, using the tools developed during this internship along the way. Rivers and wild places have shaped who I am and will continue to play crucial roles in my work and education.

Download a copy at www.wildroseeducation.com/news/lets-talk-rivers