An Overview of River Rally 2018: What to Expect


River and Water Champions

Every year, people from around the country and from every sector—academics, inventors and innovators, advocates, public servants, and general enthusiasts—attend River Network’s conference, called River Rally. Aside from being fun—with abundant nosh, beverages, outdoor field trips, and live entertainment—it is a veritable professional development powerhouse, with lots of opportunities to network with peers, learn about new tools and approaches, and connect with mentors.

This 2018, from April 29th to May 2nd, hundreds of people will converge to discuss and celebrate rivers and water in Squaw Creek, Olympia Valley, CA. During the morning and afternoon of Sunday, April 29th, the Urban Waters Learning Network—that’s us—will host the Learning Forum, which is an opportunity for Learning Network members to meet fellow Urban Waters peers and engage in in-depth discussions around a variety of topics. The welcome reception afterwards will include a special reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning, California-based poet Gary Snyder.

Workshops and Presentations

Every year, River Rally organizers receive a large number of abstract submissions—far too many to fit into the program—so the selection process is competitive. Workshop sessions and presentations are organized around five sub-themes:

  1. Reconnecting to Rivers Through Restoration and Recreation
  2. Mobilizing for Change Through Policy, Advocacy, and Civic Engagement
  3. Making Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Real
  4. Expanding Impact Through Science, Technology, and Monitoring
  5. Sustaining Strong Leaders, Organizations, and Coalitions

In addition, River Rally always has a large local representation, so in 2018 you will learn a lot about water issues affecting California and other Western states—and how they compare to what you deal with at home, if you’re from another part of the country or world. One of my favorite things about River Rally is learning about new tools and approaches I can apply in ways I never would have imagined. Here are three examples of California-inspired workshops:

Many California-based professionals are involved in national partnerships working to advance environmental justice and equity in relation to water rights, equity, affordability and access, and community education. Here are two examples:

To see more, go ahead and download the 2018 program.

Ways to Reduce Cost

It can be difficult for some individuals and groups to pay for travel expenses and registration fees. Discounts are available for River Network members (there is now a FREE membership option) as well as presenters, and there are scholarships available to help cover costs.

To apply for scholarship support, you must register for River Rally and complete the integrated scholarship application questions no later than February 1st, 2018. There is a $20 non-refundable scholarship application fee that will be applied to your registration cost. Awards will be granted the last week of February, and awardees will have until March 30th to pay any remaining balance on their registration. If you decide for any reason you cannot join us, you may cancel your registration before March 30th without penalty.

Lodging and Travel

River Rally participants are responsible for booking their own lodging, which can be done online or by calling 1-800-403-4434. Group lodging rates at the resort are available to registrants on a first-come, first-served basis until March 30th, 2018.  Standard rooms through the conference block may be reserved for $149 a night plus taxes.

The closest airports will be Reno (RNO), which is about a 45-minute drive, and Sacramento (SMF), which is about a 2-hour drive. Car rentals will offer attendees the most flexibility, or to book shared airport shuttle you can contact North Lake Tahoe Express, 1-866-216-5222.

Members of the Learning Network should arrange to travel the day before—on Saturday—in order to catch the Learning Forum on Sunday! We will continue to share information about the Learning Forum in the next few weeks.

Please visit the River Network website for more detailed information about River Rally.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Important Dates

February 1st, 2018 – Last day to apply for scholarships.

March 30th, 2018 – Early Bird Registration Deadline.

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