15 episodes

RiverSpeak is devoted to inspire and inform river conservation. We explore rivers by telling the stories of people that would save them.

RiverSpeak: stories that ripple RiverSpeak Podcast

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

RiverSpeak is devoted to inspire and inform river conservation. We explore rivers by telling the stories of people that would save them.

    Rob Pirani: The Hudson River, A Clarion Call for Stewardship

    Rob Pirani: The Hudson River, A Clarion Call for Stewardship

    In this episode--the 3rd in a mini-series titled "New Life for America's Big City Rivers"--we discover The Hudson River with Rob Pirani, program director of  The New York - New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program.

    The Hudson River is one of America's most storied and imperiled rivers. As the New York City Metropolitan Area grew over time, unabated dumping of waste water and industrial pollutants into the river took a heavy toll on the health of the ecosystem. In 1966, alarmed at the pollution of his beloved Hudson River, legendary musician and activist, Pete Seeger, built a 106-foot sloop--the Clearwater--and for years sailed numerous educational voyages on the waterway. Seeger's outreach that mixed music and environmentalism awakened thousands of people to use their voice for change; the effort is widely credited as pivotal in gaining approval of the federal Clean Water Act of 1972. 

    Against this backdrop of history, we pick up the conversation with Rob Pirani and learn about improvements to water quality of the Hudson River today and the life that's returning to the Estuary.  Rob outlines what's being done to address residual pollutants in the river system the research and and the planning underway for new projects designed for adapting to climate change.  

    One of the important projects now taking place in the Estuary is the reestablishment of oyster reefs to provide breakwaters that can reduce wave velocity during storm surge, protect against erosion, and provide natural water filtration.  The Billion Oyster Project is embraced by the community and proving to be a success.  
    Rob’s passion for reconnecting people to the Harbor Estuary is impressive and we'll hear firsthand about his thoughtful approach to supporting communities and the need for providing equitable access. The episode concludes with Rob sharing experiences that have been fun and rewarding.
    For additional information and to support Rob's work, go to The Hudson River Foundation.

    We're excited to bring Rob's story to you, thanks for listening.  For photos and more information about our episodes, please visit RiverSpeak Podcast. 

    All rivers have stories that ripple. 

    I'm Dave Koehler.  Be well, and do good work.  

    • 31 min
    Laura Jasinski: The Charles River, Dirty Water No More

    Laura Jasinski: The Charles River, Dirty Water No More

    In this episode--the 1st in a mini-series titled "New Life for America's Big City Rivers"--we discover The Charles River of Boston & Cambridge through conversation with Laura Jasinski, executive director of The Charles River Conservancy. 

    Water quality and the health of The Charles River was on a long downward spiral for hundreds of years beginning with Boston's founding in the 1600's. In 1995, the Environmental Protection Agency launched the Clean Charles River Initiative  setting a goal to make the Charles fishable and swimmable again.  We'll learn about dramatic improvements in the health of the river system over the last 25 years as well as explore the many challenges that lie ahead, including climate change.

    The Charles River Conservancy strives to make the Charles River and its parks a well-maintained network of natural urban places that invite and engage all in their use and stewardship. Their work includes an array of active programs and projects such as creating floating wetlands, a future swim park, and restoring urban wild.

    Our episode highlights Laura's passion and vision for creating parks and open spaces in her community. For additional information and to support Laura's work, visit The Charles River Conservancy.

    We're excited to bring Laura's story to you, thanks for listening.  For photos and more information about our episodes, please visit RiverSpeak Podcast. 

    All rivers have stories that ripple. 

    I'm Dave Koehler.  Be well, and do good work. 

    • 26 min
    Margaret Frisbie: The Chicago River, Friends to the Rescue!

    Margaret Frisbie: The Chicago River, Friends to the Rescue!

    In this episode--the 2nd in a mini-series titled "New Life for America's Big City Rivers"--we discover The Chicago River with Margaret Frisbie, executive director of  Friends of the Chicago River.

    In 1673, indigenous people showed French explorers where they could portage their canoes from Lake Michigan into the Mississippi watershed with just a one-and-a-half mile carry. The spot became known as the Chicago Portage and the trade and travel route ultimately gave rise to the Chicago Metropolitan Area of today. 

    Through conversation with Margaret Frisbie, we learn the history of the Chicago River and its terrible state of pollution in 1979, the year that Friends of the Chicago River was formed. We learn that Friends founders could see past the sewage and create a vision for a healthy river system cherished by the community.  Friends has been working to improve the health of the Chicago River for the benefit of people, plants and animals; and by doing so, has laid the foundation for the river to be a beautiful, continuous, and easily accessible corridor of open space in the Chicago region.

    We learn about Friends work on the Chicago River in three program areas, including the Chicago River Schools Network, providing K-12 teachers the training and personalized assistance they need to immerse their students in the turbulent history, evolving ecology, and improving health of the Chicago River.  They empower schools with excellent tools for hands-on scientific experimentation, water quality monitoring, art/writing projects, and ecological restoration for students of all ages.

    Margaret's passion for paddling, wildlife, and community is reconnecting people to the Chicago River, resulting in a healthier ecosystem that's become central to the region's quality of life. 


    For additional information and to support Margaret's work, go to Friends of the Chicago River. Friends also has a podcast, "Inside, Out & About," created to take listeners on a series of expeditions along the Chicago River system where beauty and nature abound.

    We're excited to bring Margaret's story to you, thanks for listening.  For more information about our episodes, please visit RiverSpeak Podcast. 

    All rivers have stories that ripple. 

    I'm Dave Koehler.  Be well, and do good work.  

    • 26 min
    New Life for America’s Big City Rivers Trailer

    New Life for America’s Big City Rivers Trailer

    Hi, this is Dave Koehler, your host of RiverSpeak Podcast. 

    Over 32 million people--roughly 10% of all Americans--live in metropolitan areas along three of America’s rivers--The Charles River of Boston, the Chicago River of the city that shares its name, and the Hudson River of New York.  
    "New Life for America's Big City Rivers" is a mini-series of three podcast episodes taking a deep dive into these rivers where a confluence of community activism, public-private collaboration, and the Clean Water Act of 1972 created the foundation for remarkable stories of stewardship progress and opportunity.  
    Each of these rivers has a story of a turn-around; each of these rivers has a story of vision and passion; and, each of these rivers has a story of hope with eyes wide-open to the extraordinary challenges ahead. 
    I hope you’ll join me for conversations with:
    Laura Jasinski, of the Charles River Conservancy,
    Margaret Frisbie, with the Friends of the Chicago River, and
    Robert Pirani, with the Hudson River Foundation.
    This RiverSpeak Podcast series launches Earth Day, April 22, 2021. 
    Listen at RiverSpeak.org or wherever you download your podcasts. 

    • 2 min
    Marie Walter: A First Christmas in 1887 on the Medveditsa River

    Marie Walter: A First Christmas in 1887 on the Medveditsa River

    Have you ever asked yourself, “How did I get here?”

    Hi.  I’m Dave Koehler and this is a special Christmas edition of RiverSpeak Podcast.

    There are a couple of things that make this a special episode beyond it being a Christmas edition.  It’s the story of what inspired the creation of the podcast; and, that story begins with my grandmother, Marie Walter, who was born in 1887 and grew up on the Medveditsa River in Frank, a small German colony in southern Russia. 

    Like all good rivers, this story meanders a bit.

    It concludes with the message of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All.

    We’re excited to bring this episode and Marie Walter’s story to you. For photos and more information about our episodes, please visit RiverSpeak Podcast. 

    Thank you for listening. All rivers have stories that ripple. 

    Be well, and do good work!

    • 16 min
    Lori Faeth: Conservation on Capitol Hill

    Lori Faeth: Conservation on Capitol Hill

    In this episode, we hear from Lori Faeth, Government Relations Director of the Land Trust Alliance. Lori’s story takes us to Capitol Hill and the halls of Congress where she is a voice for those working in land and water conservation.

     We’ll learn about a decades long effort that led to the permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the American Great Outdoors Act. And we’ll hear from Lori about key policy priorities for land trusts and get her thoughts on what the horizon looks like as the Biden-Harris Administration begins to take shape. Along the way, we’ll follow Lori’s career path and gain insight into her passion and experience that fuels being a successful advocate for conservation at the national scale. Our episode concludes with Lori sharing a note and tip about Big Bend National Park.

    To find out more about Lori Faeth’s work, go to the Land Trust Alliance.

    We’re excited to be able to bring Lori’s story to you. For photos and more information about our episodes, please visit RiverSpeak Podcast. 

    Thank you for listening. All rivers have stories that ripple. 

    I’m Dave Koehler. Be well, and do good work!

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

LisaSoCo ,

Great podcast for nature and story lovers

This is a wonderful listen. Dave Koehler’s voice is so soothing and his guests are so knowledgable. I learn something new from each episode about rivers, history, conservation and community. Give it a listen!

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