It’s five rivers on 18 wheels.
It’s also a mobile classroom; a multimedia experience; a community-building tool; and roving billboard shouting in glossy four-color what UD does so well — link learning and scholarship with leadership and service.
“I love being in the room with all you guys,” UD Rivers Institute graduate assistant Bethany Renner ’12 told her fellow River Stewards Nov. 30 in the warehouse of Exhibit Concepts in Vandalia, Ohio. “This is the best Friday I could ask for.”
That day, the stewards got their first glimpse at the finished RiverMobile. The RiverMobile is a traveling exhibit converted from a semi-trailer that highlights the history, benefits and preservation of the Great Miami River watershed. It is the creation of students in the University’s Rivers Institute with support from local donors and input from community partners and educational leaders.
The RiverMobile’s mission is threefold: to develop pride for the region, to provide knowledge about Dayton’s river system and water resources, and to develop personal responsibility for the protection of local water resources and the environment.
“We believe that if people learn to appreciate and grow to love our local watershed and its assets, they will do their part to act as good stewards,” Renner said.
Developed for schoolchildren of all ages, the RiverMobile has five stations that teach about the watershed, which includes five rivers and creeks in the greater Dayton area. Outside the trailer, students locate their place in the Miami Valley on a giant map. Inside, they watch Col. Edward Deeds and Arthur Morgan give a JibJab-style presentation on the region’s dam system or sit in a canoe surrounded by a 360-degree panorama of the river as the calls of marsh birds play overhead.
The RiverMobile will appear at the annual River Summit in March, selected sites this spring and at local schools next fall.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Paul Benson praised students, faculty and staff for their more than three years of work. “In the RiverMobile, we see our best academic talents in learning and research brought together with student leadership and a tremendous service ethic to create something that’s going to benefit our community, our region and hopefully become a model around the country for environmental education.”
Click to learn more about the five learning classrooms.