New One Truckee River family members!

Out with the (beloved) old; in with the new!

This past August we said farewell to our wonderful OTR AmeriCorps members, Emily Ulrich, Meg Parker, Cessie Pulleyn, and Nick Mazzoni. A month later, our new ones came aboard!

Meet Elise Traywick and Patricia Tierney:

elise:

I am originally from North Carolina, but have spent the past several years of my life studying at New York University in Manhattan, where I recently received a degree in Environmental Studies. Now, I’m taking on the West, with a goal of helping the environment while serving the community. My favorite things in the world are dogs, cats, and yummy vegan food. I’m incredibly excited to start exploring and contributing to this wonderful part of the country.

patricia:

I’m a native Floridian with a deep-seated love for all things nature. The wide open spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities of this vicinity lured me out west.  However, it was the opportunity to serve the Reno community in “helping ensure that a healthy, thriving sustainable Truckee River is connected to the hearts and minds of the people” that had me commit to relocating here with my little dog, Frisky. I bring a diverse background related to science education, conservation, environmental study and protection, and having fun outdoors.

Discover the Heart of Our Community

There is now officially a One Truckee River story map!

This story map is an interactive web page that shares river-related information about amenities, recreation, safety, and plants/wildlife in a visually appealing way. We have interactive maps with icons and pictures to provide users a great grasp on the many qualities the Truckee River has to share!

And it’s all thanks to OTR’s (former) AmeriCorps member, Emily Ulrich:

Emily began her AmeriCorps period with us by going out along the Truckee River stretch in Reno and Sparks and mapping every single trash can, restroom, picnic table and crack in the sidewalk. She then took all that information and put it into a map (now shown as part of our story map). From there, Emily worked with the Truckee River Guide‘s Kelsey Fitzgerald to input popular plant and animal species found in and along the river.

Overall, the story map is a visually stunning way to share important information about the Truckee River. Thanks, Emily, for doing such a great job in putting everything together!

Willie and water

By Tina Hogue

It was hot that day, even in the hallways inside, and in the corner of a pen, a dusty bear-skinned dog named ‘Willie’ had his belly on the concrete trying to keep cool.

“He loves water,” the guy at the desk said, “he’ll just lay in it.”

“Maybe he’s part Lab?” we wondered. So we took him home and tried our best to bathe him, repeatedly.

Apparently, this dog did not like water.

He avoided the bathrooms at all cost, had a distaste for sprinklers, and got very suspicious whenever I turned on a faucet.

So imagine my surprise when one day, at Mayberry Park, this thing stuck his paw right into the swirling Truckee river.

He pulled it back immediately. I think he surprised himself a little bit. And then, I’ll be damned, he stuck it back in.

Standing there, wide-eyed and breathless, he looked like how children look when they stand in front of the ocean that moment right before something, deep inside, compels them to go on in.

Something, in the perpetual movement and gray-blue clamor of the Truckee, is just hypnotic. Ancient and ethereal, it curves around trees thick as sedans that it nurtured from seedlings and washes over beer cans from 4th of Julys past, soldered to the rocks by algae, those rocks older than 4th of July itself.

“Older than the flow of human blood through human veins,” wrote Hughes, each year bearing a new mark of age, but the path stays the same.

Up to his chest, staring intently at the water, I imagined Willie too was pondering the river, asking it in a child’s voice: How deep are you? Where do you go? How are you different from the water in my bowl? In my bath? And how long will you stay?

She is current: Raging and still

By Angela Spires

“Ducks! Ducks! Wanna feed the ducks!” my daughter Aspen shouted as we walked by the river waiting on the Artown vendors. I rolled her pants legs up and let her dip her feet in the water. I squatted behind her, held one hand, as she dipped the other into a carton of oatmeal for the ducks wading nearby. The river ran¬ slow and steady, and in that moment, reminded me of my daughter.

How she flooded and raged, poured full of emotion, until it drained from her and she sank to the ground in frustration and need. She was every current: fast, slow, everything in between, whatever the mood called for, whatever she felt she needed to be in that moment, unafraid. She was gentle, laying her face against mine to kiss my cheeks as the water kissed the banks. She was still, contemplating her next move, observing her surroundings, deciding which way to flow.

Aspen attempted to throw oatmeal into the water, most of it landing on her or within a few inches. I threw it further out. The ducks moved closer. She laughed as they nipped at her toes. More were moving toward us, floating down stream, frantically swimming upstream, to the source of food. Fighting over specks of flakes, though there was enough to go around. The river was calm, allowing more ducks to come. But calm was but one of her states. She was fierce, unpredictable, and beautiful nonetheless.

Now, my daughter unknowing mirrored the ducks she fed. Above the water, she kicked her feet on the surface. Below, the ducks kicked their feet to stay afloat. And I, I admired the beauty in what the river had made for us and what I had made for the river.

A summer waltz

By Hilary Hobbs

“I will be rocks , I will be water”

The crooning lyrics, sung by local bluegrass band Hick’ry Switch, rise up into the evening sky.

“Lift your head up to your wind.”

I do.

I sway in time to the guitar and voice as the create a new harmony, blending with the flow of the Truckee and the wisp of an evening breeze.

Sitting near the river’s edge, I watch the setting sunlight reflect off the Truckee’s surface, as the shallow water in turn dances and churns over smooth river rocks. The crowd listens reverently, quietly acknowledging that this moment, a gathering at twilight, at the River’s edge, is not to be disturbed.

Summer performances at Sierra Water Gardens on the north bank of the Truckee River are, to me, the quintessential celebration of this river.

There is something musical about the Truckee. At times, like during this spring’s torrent, the Truckee’s rhythm is an up-tempo fiddle tune. And at times, as it slows to a languid late summer flow, it is a waltz.

Staying afloat

By Gayle Brandeis

A few days after my dad’s death last year, my sister and I drove down the mountain from my home in Incline Village to spend the day in Reno before her red eye flight back home to Toronto. Our eyes were red already–the tears kept coming and going–but it was a supremely beautiful day and we were happy to be outside, walking along the Truckee River. We found ourselves at Whitewater Park, where a father and his two kids were practicing rolling their kayaks.

Gayle with her father. Photo courtesy Gayle Brandeis.

The sight stopped us in our tracks; we couldn’t pull ourselves away as each kayaker took turns maneuvering their craft down a tiny drop, water frothing around them, then flipping themselves upside down into the greenish current. We held our breaths until each colorful boat broke back through the surface, upright once again. The father called out encouragement to his kids and we laughed with them and then cried a little more, swept into the rapids of grief, the rush and swirl of it, our arms around each other like life-vests, keeping each other afloat.

The twelfth perfect day

It swirled to the left around this rock, and to the right around that one. The water making soft water donuts and crescent moons beyond the rocks.

I sat in a little donut of my own. Inflatable, classic blue and white, the same inner tube everyone else had. I pulled my cowboy hat over my face and let my head snuggle against my little headrest.

I could see a little fluffy cloud through the holes in my hat and tried to keep it in view as I slid softly round and round, barely making it downstream. It hung on a hook in the sky. The Stationary Shapeshifter. A flag, a sea turtle, a frog, a moose.

It was a low water year. The tubing was often more walking than floating, but it didn’t matter. We drank our PBR sometimes in companionable silence, sometimes with contagious laughter dancing through the trees.

A little smile as I took a picture of my feet framing the backdrop of a lush, tree-filled mountainside. And a video that couldn’t hope to do the river justice. The cooler floated over to me and I clipped it to my tube and pulled out another beer. My turn.

The twelfth perfect day in that still-early summer.

I think back to tubing the Truckee River. My haven, my little blue sliver of solace, my favorite part of summer.

Now my sweet, innocent river is full of rage. Rebellious and ornery after the long, long winter. Muddy and angry, frothing and hungry. Chewing up trees, leaping up to gnaw on bridges, tumbling boulders around and around – crushing them, making new sand. I want my happy, floaty, dreamy, beer-laden summer back.

But the world has other plans. For now.

So now I keep floating, swirling to the left through the Truckee’s eddies in my dreams.

Rafting with Rivers for Change

 

Last Friday we joined Rivers for Change on the Truckee River in rafts and kayaks and SUP boards. From Lockwood to USA Parkway, our One Truckee River AmeriCorps braved the Truckee River rapids alongside student ambassadors (age 8-13) and professional river recreators.

For lunch, the group stopped at the McCarran Ranch Preserve and we got to share what the One Truckee River Management Plan is all about, and ways people can help keep the river healthy in an urban environment. We had a blast!

While we partied with the crew just Friday, the students and some of the pros had been sailing the river since June 2, from the Upper Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe alllll the way to Wadsworth, and then biked from Nixon to Pyramid Lake along the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway. Everyone who participated was amazing! See the pictures below: