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July 15, 2015

Pre Trip excitement– Kate Aitchison MFA 2016 Printmaking

by kaitchis

Tomorrow I launch on a Grand Canyon River trip.  That means 16 days without cell phones or internet.  Just me, 4 other guides, a scientist, and 12 youth with varying degrees of visual impairments. Our task is to collect scientific data for the Aquatic Food Base lab at USGS, to discover the magic of the river, and of course, to have fun.  My task is to row the more than 150 rapids as safely as possible, facilitate stewardship of place, and to encourage everyone to be themselves, rise to the challenge, and break the boundaries of what and who they thought they could be.  It’s going to be an exciting trip, filled with adventures, stories, laughter, and of course art and science.  But every trip is different, that is the beauty of it, and while I can plan for what the future holds, possibilities abound and we will just take it all in one day at a time.

IMG_5635

getting all my rigging together for the trip (rigging are all the nylon straps that will hold the frame to the rubber raft and hold all the gear to the frame)

My fellowship has been going well– very well in fact.  I’m working on a few different projects right now, but my main focus for the river trip is going to be to figure out the best way to explain all the pieces of the puzzle vying for the resource that is Grand Canyon.  There are ecologists, hydrologists, and conservation groups, there are recreation groups, states, tribes, and the National Park Service.  There are groups whose focus is irrigation, hydropower, and water rights.  And there is The Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, whose job it is to do the science that shows whats going on in Grand Canyon and how the Glen Canyon Dam is affecting the ecosystem as a whole.  All of these stakeholders, as they are called, form a group called the Glen Canyon Adaptive Management group which reports directly to the Department of the Interior making recommendations about how the dam should be best operated in order to serve all the various interests at stake.  All in all its a complicated and important system, and one that not a lot of people know about.  I want to make a visual representation of the puzzle to allow anyone and everyone to understand whats going on, especially the youth on these science trips.  (if you want to know more about the stakeholders and what they represent you can visit this website  http://www.usbr.gov/uc/rm/amp/ )

I will also be working on art and gathering inspiration for my second year of grad school.  More on that when I return.

Wish me good runs and keeping the black side down (that means not flipping the boat)!!!

See you in August 🙂

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