Executive Director’s Update: Fall 2023
Over the last couple of years Umpqua Watersheds (UW) has increased our focus on building partnerships and increasing collaborations to support our mission and our community. In doing so we expand our capacity, increase our resiliency, and maximize our financial resources. In 2023 I am proud to report that we have exceeded our goals for collaboration, in fact have worked with more groups than at anytime in my 10+ years working with UW, and we have accomplished much in the process.
The 37th River Appreciation Day at River Forks Park on July 15th was a smashing success because of our collaboration with the Umpqua Valley BIPOC Community, Thrive Umpqua, Umpqua Natural Leadership Science Hub (UNLSH) and guests from several Tribes from around the area. It was a delightful day! We had great conversations and people of all ages participated in a variety of events including beading, music, and games. It was a day full of enlightenment and we are working on other opportunities to work together including next year’s River Appreciation Day.
In June we worked with the Douglas County Education Services (ESD) to provide a 3-week Vocational Rehabilitation summer work experience program called Peer2Peer. It is a peer mentorship program where students receiving special education services are mentored by fellow students who train in job coaching skills. It was an amazing experience for both the students and for Umpqua Watersheds. Two students from South Umpqua High School helped prepare for the Twin Lakes Campout, created Outreach displays and learned how to create radio PSA’s, shows and podcasts. You can listen to Les Rodgers, the coordinator for Peer2Peer talk about it in an episode of Living Downstream on KQUA. https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-d9qjy-145b8c4
Another strategic partnership we have is with Umpqua Natural Leadership Science Hub (UNLSH). Cindy Haws, UW Education Director, and long-time member of Umpqua Watersheds is the founder and Executive Director of UNLSH. We have partnered with them on a number of projects this year and our collaboration has strengthened both organizations and we are excited about many more projects we will be working on together in the coming months.
Other strategic partnerships we are currently working closely with include WaterWatch of Oregon and the Native Fish Society to monitor and report on the repairs to the Winchester Dam. Umpqua Watersheds helped by providing drone footage and water samples and our partners are taking the lead in providing public input into the project. https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=winchester%20dam
We are also working with several community groups on the second annual Bloctober Fest (see Outreach article). Lastly, we continue to work closely with United Communities AmeriCorps (UCA) and the partners who work with them. We have worked with UCA since 2009 and our great history of hosting AmeriCorps members continues with our 2023-24 AmeriCorps member, Julie Lowe.
Through collaboration with our partners, we can accomplish so much more together than we could if we were going it alone. Together we provide support, energy, ideas and shared resources and it continues to help us achieve our goals and strengthen our community.