March 2022
River Field Studies Network

Connecting rivers, people, & science through immersive field-based education

Upcoming Events 
  • 11 March - "Assessment Strategies for Field Studies" - Dr. Emily Ward, CIRES Education and Outreach Center & UFERN
  • 14 March - 25th Anniversary for the International Day of Rivers
  • 22 March "Acknowledgement & Reciprocity: Fostering Respect for Indigenous Cultural River Uses" - River Management Society - River Management Roundtable
11 March  -  Assessment Strategies for River Field Studies - Dr. Emily Ward 

Our next River Field Studies Network-wide webinar will feature Dr. Emily Ward (, STEM education researcher at CIRES Education and Outreach Center, UC Boulder, and will discuss resources from the recent paper:

Shortlidge. E. E., A. Jolley, S. Shaulskiy, E. G. Ward, C. N. Lorentz, and K. O'Connell. 2021. A resource for understanding and evaluating outcomes of undergraduate field experiences. Ecology and Evolution 11:16387-16408. doi: 10.1002/ece3.8241

Register in advance for this webinar:
Time: Friday, 11 March, 4 pm ET/1pm PT 

14 March - 25th Anniversary of the International Day of Action for Rivers!

From International Rivers. "The International Day of Action for Rivers is a day dedicated to solidarity – when diverse communities around the world come together with one voice to say that rivers matter. That communities having access to clean and flowing water matters. That everyone should have a say in decisions that affect their water and their lives. That it’s our time to stand up for these rights, now more than ever.

We’re celebrating the 25th Anniversary of this Day for Rivers by also highlighting the importance of Rivers to Biodiversity. 

Rivers are key to restoring and maintaining the world’s biodiversity. River systems are the zone of Earth’s highest biological diversity – and also of our most intense human activity. This year the world meets for the 15th Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Freshwater ecosystems are the most degraded in the world and global action is needed to turn this around. Let’s make our voices heard. #RiversUniteUs"

For more information visit International Rivers International Action Day for Rivers

22 March - Acknowledgement & Reciprocity: Fostering Respect for Indigenous Cultural River Uses - River Management Society - River Management Roundtable

Join an exploration of opportunities to support traditional native activities as a fundamental component of river uses! You’ll hear how indigenous residents, a tribe, a federal land management agency, a whitewater advocacy organization, an outfitter, and even private boaters are learning to appreciate traditional river-based ceremony and reduce the impact they create while they recreate.

Jen Rice Jen Rice grew up spending time on the creeks of the eastern Sierra and the upper Kern River when Tevas were cutting-edge technology. After Jen completed a degree in Natural Resource management at Humboldt State University, she spent seven seasons working for the USFS and NPS and then shifted to the nonprofit and philanthropy sectors. She started working with Native communities in 2001 to more robustly include them in community planning and policymaking, and in the last decade had responsibility for programs that supported Native culture and language revitalization around California and Native-led grassroots organizing in NW California. She recently stepped away from 25 years of directing large-scale systems change initiatives to pursue graduate studies. For the last 33 years, she has been fortunate to row multi-day private trips with friends and family river guides and outfitters on backyard treasures of the Klamath, Trinity, Rogue, Eel, Smith, and Salmon Rivers as well as other western rivers. 

Register here for this RMS Roundtable
Time: Tuesday, March 22, 23:30 PM - 4:30 PM ET
News & Resources
Meet the 2022 River Field Studies Network Scholars
We had tremendous interest in our first "River Field Studies Scholars" year long program, more than 3 times as applications as we had slots.  From this great pool we identified 11 participants to work with us over 2022 to develop their skills and create open source educational content to build greater capacity for river field studies. Let's meet three of them (more to follow)!
Susan Washko, University of Arizona, 2022 River Field Studies Scholar. Susan shares a little about her research and teaching interests, and cool critters found in rock pools [Yes! Rock pools! Fist pump!]
Luke Ward, Rocky Mountain College, 2022 River Field Studies Scholar. Meet Luke Ward a geographer at Rocky Mountain College, former Director of their Yellowstone River Research Center, and instructor of GPY 118: Montana Rivers which involves a multiway expedition on the Upper Missouri River.
Aaron Koning, University of Nevada, Reno. 2022 River Field Studies Scholar. Learn a bit Aaron's research interests, passion for field work, and encounters with megafauna while river snorkeling!
Past River Field Studies Network Events
RFSN Feb webinar: Exploring opportunities to connect river field curriculum to current momentum in US river protections

Last month the River Field Studies network hosed Katherine Schmidt Lapham River Conservation Fellow at American Rivers ( to share recent developments in river protection policy arising from the recently signed federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which includes $3 billion for dam safety, modernization and removal, as well as for hydropower projects. Katie's presentation was followed by breakout discussion to explore potential intersections of this policy with the RFSN's mission to build instructor capacity, develop curriculum, and broaden participation. 
Partner Events
Our friends at the River Management Society have been busy! Check out their channel for a full list of their content and their Training Center to see coming events. These two very recent webinars were particularly noteworthy and of broad interest.
Land Acknowledgements: Purpose Practices and Perspectives
Chances are you’ve either seen or heard of native land acknowledgements, and you may have incorporated them into your presentations, websites, social media, or events on your river. Perhaps you feel their use represents moral exhibitionism. In this Roundtable, we will delve deeper into the importance of land acknowledgements and best practices, as well as sharing examples on rivers. We invite your questions and perspectives. Wherever you're at on your journey with native acknowledgements, we hope you'll join us to learn more! We’re excited and grateful to be joined by our presenters, who has led land acknowledgement workshops with the USDA Forest Service, the National Wilderness Skills Institute and other organizations over the last few years: Colter Pence is a Wilderness, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and Trails program manager with the Flathead National Forest in northwest Montana. She works primarily with the North Fork and Middle Fork of the Wild and Scenic Flathead Rivers, and portions of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in interdisciplinary natural resource management from the University of Idaho. Dr. Serra Hoagland (Laguna Pueblo) serves as the Liaison Officer/Biologist for the USDA Rocky Mountain Research Station Missoula Fire Sciences Lab to Salish Kootenai College. She focuses on building local, regional and national partnerships with tribes and intertribal organizations, mentoring students in natural resources, and conducting tribally-relevant research. Resources shared in this webinar: •
Recent River Management Society Webinars: A Final Step Looms for the Largest-Ever Dam Removal

In this discussion, we learn about the next, final step that will make way for the largest dam removal in U.S. history! Karuk Tribe Natural Resources Policy Consultant Craig Tucker will provide his perspective on the 2023 removal of four PacifiCorp Dams on the Klamath River that have blocked salmon and steelhead migration for over 100 years. This multiple dam removal will open over 400 miles of the river and tributaries to spawning and rearing by Chinook salmon, coho salmon and steelhead trout. It will also redefine recreation and restore a core connection to nature for the Karuk and Yurok tribes. Craig Tucker and Suits and Signs Consulting provides professional advocacy and campaign planning services to tribes, local governments, and non-profits working to protect watersheds and advance the principles of social justice. Craig's career in advocacy began after earning an advanced science degree then realizing that data alone will not address the social and environmental crises many communities struggle with every day. 

Links shared in this webinar: Learn more in a recent article in the RMS Journal titled
SFS Making Waves Podcast Episode 44: Freshwater Field Trips
Everyone loves a field trip, right? This past SFS Making Waves episode by River Field Studies Network member Susan Washko from 2020 may be unfamiliar to you, but we think you'll find it worth listening too. It's about why field trips are so important to college classes about freshwater science, and ways to get students in the field when class sizes are large or taught online. Featuring: -Dr. Howard Whiteman, Professor of Biological Sciences at Murray State University -Dr. Sarah Whorley, Assistant Professor of Biology at Daemen College -Dr. Kate Boersma, Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of San Diego
Spring SFS EMERGE Workshops for Students

Emerge - NEON + R: Data Analysis Workshop
The NEON + R: Data Analysis Workshop is offered once per Emerge cohort year. This is a 3-day, on-site workshop to introduce use of Program R while exploring and analyzing National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) data. While we expect graduate students to benefit the most from this workshop, it is also open to undergraduate and early career Emerge fellows.

NEON is set to play a central and transformative role in the future of ecological research. In freshwater systems, NEON data include >200 physicochemical and biological variables, measured seasonally at each of 36 sites throughout the contiguous United States, Alaska and Puerto Rico. These data resources are now available for diverse purposes, ranging from basic research on community structure to macroecological modelling of richness and body size. Visit for more information. 

R programming language has provided free access to a wealth of statistical and computational tools. Complex algorithms such as Monte Carlo simulation, multivariate ordination, spatial data analysis, network analysis, and Bayesian inference can be implemented in R without extensive training in statistics or computer science. Visit for more information.
The workshop for the 2021-2022 Emerge cohort was held on January 2-6, 2022. Emerge fellows travelled to Albuquerque, New Mexico to stay at Sevilleta Field Station where they spent three full days and four nights. Days were spent mining and analyzing aquatic NEON data with Program R, writing and submitting two abstracts for the 2022 Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, and exploring nearby Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. 

Emerge - Visual Communication: Graphic Design Workshop 
The Visual Communication: Graphic Design Workshop is offered once per Emerge cohort year. This is a 3-day, on-site workshop to introduce fellows to use digital media tools to communicate with general audiences about science. While we expect graduate students to benefit the most from this workshop, it is also open to undergraduate and early career Emerge fellows. Strong visual communication skills can be of great value to scientists as they search for effective ways to disseminate their work. Well-designed images are effective storytelling devices that often have greater communicative power than primarily text-based media. This workshop will teach fellows to work with open-source software called Inkscape. By integrating charts and maps from R and ArcGIS software in Inkscape layouts, fellows will learn to create attention-grabbing yet scientifically accurate media. This workshop is based on a semester-long course taught at Virginia Commonwealth University; read "An Arts-based Approach to Science Communication Training" to learn more.

Fellows who attended the NEON + R workshop will have the opportunity to feature that work in a poster or infographic. Because the Visual Communication workshop is scheduled in the spring, work will be ready for presentation at the SFS Annual Meeting, which, in 2022, is at the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting in May. The workshop for the 2021-2022 Emerge cohort is being held on March 5-9, 2022. Emerge fellows will travel to Manhattan, Kansas to stay at the Konza Prairie Biological Station where they will spend three full days and four nights. Days will be spent learning graphic design skills, creating and voting on a scientific poster to present at the 2022 Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, and exploring the prairie’s natural landscape.

Photo credit: Dan McGarvey
Looking to summer field courses!

Let us help spread the news about your field course! It is great to see who is doing what around the country! Sharing course information can facilitate student exchanges across the network. If you are not teaching a river field course, encourage your students to consider one of the courses below that are open to students from other programs. Beyond student exchange, sharing course information can highlight other opportunities for cross-network collaboration. For example, multiple programs offer courses on the Salmon River in Idaho - is there a benefit to combining effort and sharing expertise among faculty? In addition, knowing what river courses are being offered might create opportunities to work together to explore issues around effective river field pedagogy (e.g., if we leveraged a common assessment tool across classes, we might be able to gain deeper insight into what makes river field courses sink or float! If you want to share a information about a course planned for 2022 email

Humboldt State University
Alison O’Dowd (

During this action-packed 14-day field course (July 9 - 22), students will focus on the restoration of the Klamath Basin while studying its social-ecological systems, drawing on local cultural perspectives and historic and present-day human relationships with wildlife and the environment. Students will explore course topics via hiking to high alpine lakes, working on a variety of restoration projects in the Basin, visiting Klamath River dams, rafting a section of the mid-Klamath, snorkeling in Klamath tributaries and camping throughout the Basin. This course is an interdisciplinary synthesis of topics concerning restoration, ecology and natural history within the Klamath River Basin. Students that successfully complete this course will receive 3 units of ESM 480 from Humboldt State University. This course is open to students from any University. *This course was developed in collaboration with the River Field Studies Network. Application deadline: April 1, 2022. Online application will be available by Feb 1, 2022.

Rivers 2 Reefs Field Institute, The College of Idaho
Chris Walser (
David Fornander (

Pacific salmon and steelhead migrate 900 miles to spawn in the same high mountain streams in which they were born.  Join us on an adventure in central Idaho where we will explore the ecology, conservation, and cultural significance of salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River system.  The field element of this college level 4-credit course will occur July 14-29, 2022, in and around Stanley, Idaho (at the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains). Three brief online components to the course will be held prior to the field element. Program adventure activities include whitewater paddling, snorkeling, fly fishing, hiking, and hot springs. This program is open to all students who have completed at least 1-year of undergraduate study.  Please check with your home institution (study abroad coordinator or academic advisor) for their requirements regarding credit transfer, financial aid, and any other internal summer scholarships they may offer. Program Cost: $3500 USD 


Sierra Nevada University 
Andy Rost (

This exciting and rich immersive field course will combine on campus classroom work with an 50 miles of wilderness white rafting field expedition on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River in Southern Oregon. The class will focus on the range of natural history topics including watershed geography, geology, hydrology, forest and stream ecology, and human history through readings, discussions, lessons. Student will collect field observations in field journals and conduct a field research project which includes field data collection, data analysis and presentation of your results. Wilderness river expeditions require planning, specialized gear, trained boat handlers, and good judgment. The reward for those who can accomplish these tasks are exhilarating rapids, amazing camp locations, and memories to last a lifetime on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Students in this class will learn all of the skills required to be a river expedition member, creating a foundation to becoming a wilderness river guide. Students will be challenged every day to learn and use new skills, from rowing heavy gear boats to cooking dinner for the whole group. Everyone will participate in all aspects of the expedition, as a cohesive team. The general schedule will be days 1-3 on campus doing prep work, days 4-13 in field camping and river travel, and days 14-16 on campus cleaning up, finishing final projects and presenting your field research project. Course fee covers all student travel, food during field portion of course, gear, additional instructional staff

State University of New York, College at Oneonta Susquehanna River
Jeff Heilveil  (
Prerequisite(s): SoS; 3 s.h. of BIOL or ENVS or GEOL or ESCI.

This is a 16-day, field-based course.  Students will learn to identify the organisms commonly encountered in and around the streams and they will also have guest-led workshops on pearly mussel science and electrofishing.  The major part of the course is a student-designed research project that will be carried out in rivers surrounding our Biological Field Station.  We will also have evening seminars on careers in stream ecology and graduate school and how to get there. The Oneonta Biological Sield Station is in Cooperstown, NY, with a boat house on Otsego Lake, the start of the Susquehanna River. ents, but tents can also be provided for free. The tuition and fees for this 4-credit course come to $1270 for NYS residents, or $2922 for out-of-state students. Housing is free and students pay ~$200 in additional fees to cover all food (meals and snacks) for the 16 days.  The menu is diverse and will accommodate any dietary restrictions (vegan, celiac, halal, etc.).  
Virginia Commonwealth University
Dan Carr (
James Vonesh (

This expedition class explores the intersection of human and natural history in the James River and its watershed. By immersing themselves in this environment, students will experience this intersection firsthand, learning the landscape that shaped the development of many cultures, including our city, state and nation. The 2022 Footprints on the James Expedition will travel for 5 weeks days, covering ~200 river miles between the Blue Ridge and Tidewater, Virginia, via sea kayak, canoe, raft, and historic bateau. Photojournal from past classes. Program Cost: Est. $600. More details to follow.

Western Washington University
John McLaughlin (

This program emphasizes student-designed research on rivers and river restoration in the Pacific Northwest. ESCI Field Camp consists of four integrated courses taught in spring (29 March - May 2022). We will spend 2 weeks learning about field system histories, designing research projects, and practicing sampling methods. Then we will implement student research designs during a 2-week backpacking expedition along the Elwha River, site of humanity's largest dam removal project to date. After returning to town, we will attend a scientific conference and make final revisions to a second set of research projects. We will implement those projects on another 2-week expedition, rafting 92 miles down the Grande Ronde River to its confluence with the Snake River. We will return to campus to analyze project data and prepare poster presentations for a university-wide research symposium. Courses total 15 credits (10 semester credits). Please check with your home institution for requirements regarding credit transfer, financial aid, and any internal scholarships. Program cost: $700, not including tuition.
Rolling admissions, application available at:

University of California, Davis
Nicholas Pinter (Earth and Planetary Sciences; 
Sarah Yarnell (Center for Watershed Sciences;
Spring Quarter, 2022 

The Departments of Earth & Planetary Sciences and Plant Sciences, and the Center for Watershed Sciences, are offering a unique Spring quarter course in Applied Watershed Science. Part of the "Ecogeo" series taught in previous years through the Geology department (see, this course is a multidisciplinary study of the ecology, geomorphology and management of rivers in the western US. Open to senior undergraduate students and first-year graduate students, the course brings together students from a range of backgrounds in biological, ecological, and physical sciences, and engineering to address conservation and management issues in selected watersheds. The course provides classroom/laboratory training and discussions during the spring quarter and weekend fieldtrips to various river locations near Davis. The course will culminate with a seven-day camping and rafting trip along the San Juan River (Są́ bito' in Navajo) the week after final exams, during which students will collect and analyze field data. Following the trip, students will produce written reports using the field data that address management issues within the watershed, such as: what are the impacts of changes to the flow regime on aquatic and riparian biota in the regulated San Juan watershed, and what long-term monitoring data are needed to address on-going conservation strategies in the face of climate change?

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Presentation introducing the RSFN made that the Spring 2021 SFS and RMS virtual meetings.
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