Report from the field: NSF River Field Studies Network workshop #1 – Camp Lotus, California

By Dr. James Vonesh

Excited to be back from our first NSF RIVER Field Studies Network workshop @ Camp Lotus on the American River in California. The vision of this network is to transform undergraduate STEM education through immersive, interdisciplinary river and watershed programs. This kick-starter involved the steering committee of faculty from 7 universities across the country and leadership from River Management Society (parent group of the River Studies and Leadership Certificate we offer at VCU). We crafted vision and values statements, workshopped steps toward specific objectives, hosted expert panels on inclusion and diversity in STEM field courses and risk management for river courses, taught each other some lessons we use in our courses while spending a morning rafting the American, and cooked, camped, and laughed together while managing the PG&E power shutdown in effect. Great team building and a great start for our fledgling network. Our next workshop will be here in RVA in May and will be twice as large.