As a Director of River Restoration at American Rivers, I have worked in the river restoration field for more than fourteen years, focusing largely on dam removal planning and policy. A core focus of our work is building capacity at other organizations and agencies by providing access to educational resource materials, as well as training workshops and presentations. I am currently pursuing a graduate certificate in Learning Design and Technology at the Harvard Extension School in order to develop new training paradigms for in-person and online workshops for American Rivers. My instructional design technique is rooted in the Backward Design approach and the Understanding By Design framework. Regardless of whether I am designing a month-long course or running a two-hour webinar, my goal is for students to be able to apply the things they have learned and to be able to synthesize that knowledge and employ it in new and unique ways. I believe the principles of instructional design have broad applicability across a number of sectors, including everything from community outreach and cause-related activism to professional conference presentations, and I look forward to using them to help others advance their efforts.
The Community Engagement and Dam Removal website was developed for American Rivers in an effort to transition in-person workshop content to a more in-depth online course. The website is designed in Wordpress and functions as a learning management system. It provides a straightforward organizational framework that delivers weekly lessons and serves as a connector for student-student and faculty-student interaction.
Similkameen is a storytelling activity designed to stimulate collaboration and foster a sense of community among class participants. Using social media tools (i.e., Twitter and Storify), students work in teams to create a story or “essay” in response to a given prompt. This asynchronous exercise challenges students to interact and learn from their peers while simultaneously providing them the flexibility to work in whatever modality most appeals to their learning style.
Identifying Real Barriers is a lesson designed to help students master mindful listening techniques so that they can better understand community concerns and/or desires. This lesson is part of a month-long online course on community engagement designed for American Rivers. After introducing students to resources in effective listening and mindful interviewing, students can integrate practice with real-life experience by interviewing local community members or download and reflect on an oral history. This activity provides a chance to practice listening skills and to engender empathy. It also includes a blend of activities that gives students the opportunity to share new insights and ideas.
Understanding Risk: Sediment Management at Dam Removal Project Sites is a three-hour workshop designed to ensure river restoration practitioners understand that evaluating the potential for risk is an important component of appropriately designing and scoping a successful, constructible river restoration project. Participants will leave the workshop with the ability to draft a scope of work and management plan for handling sediment at dam removal project sites. They will also have a greater understanding of evaluating risk and the role it plays in appropriately scoping and designing river restoration projects.
Did you ever have a favorite place growing up that now, every time you drive by, reminds you of your childhood? Whether it is a bridge, farm, dam, or some other memorable landmark, there are historic structures and places across the country that have special significance to their communities. Dam Removal and Historic Preservation: Reconciling Dual Objectives was written to provide guidance for those navigating Section 106 and the challenges of finding oneself at odds with potential partners over matters of historic preservation.
I have more than a decade of experience crafting blog posts that speak to a variety of audiences. The Role of Audience in Documentary Filmmaking exemplifies the spirited, more casual tone often deployed to inspire deeper thought and eventually action.