Chilean Senate awards Medal of Recognition to Ríos to Rivers!
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Ríos to Rivers participants at the famous Lava Falls Rapid in the Grand Canyon!  Photo: Ben Lehman

A Grand Accomplishment

“We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.” 
― David Brower
Thanks to all of your contributions of time, money, and encouragement 18 Chilean and US students were introduced to the river David Brower fought hard to save, as they kayaked the once threatened Grand Canyon and met with ecologists and energy experts to analyze the impacts of Glen Canyon Dam and energy generation on the environment.

Friendships begun during the April 2013 Río Baker trip continued to flourish during the 12-day Grand Canyon trip.  Photo: Ben Lehman

You provided opportunities for the students:
-To see a dam for the first time: An awe inspiring feat of engineering and technological skill.
-To question: What were the immediate and long term benefits of the hydro-electric facilities versus the financial and environmental costs of construction, operation and maintenance.
-To question: What it means to kill a river.
-To experience: delight and joy and have a desire for others to be inspired by the gifts of the Natural World.
-To study: The most economically viable ways to produce energy in the 21st Century and analyze each system’s impacts on the environment.
-To meet with experts and understand the challenges we face in providing the needs for the current generation without detrimental impacts on future generations.

The historic kayaking trip came after a week of intensive study and conversation with leading energy efficiency and ecology experts, including Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute and Larry Stevens, Grand Canyon Wildlands Council's senior ecologist. Chilean and US students also participated in hands-on river studies with the Roaring Fork Conservancy in Carbondale, Colorado, and studied wind and solar energy at Solar Energy International (SEI) in Paonia, Colorado, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Ríos to Rivers students learning about grid-tied solar at Solar Energy International in Paonia, Colorado.  Photo: Ben Lehman
Political Impact: Chilean Senator Antonio Horvath accepted Rios to Rivers invitation to come to the US to attend meetings we set up with the The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, The Colorado Governor's Energy Office, Solar Energy International, Rocky Mountain Institute, and Clean Energy Collective to discuss advances in net-metering, smart grid, wind, and solar technology. He also met with Colorado State Senator Gail Schwartz, both senators have been instrumental in passing net-metering bills and the two senators shared notes on effective measures to advance net-metering goals.
Senator Antonio Horvath visiting Glen Canyon Dam.  Photo: Edgar Boyles
"The meetings and visits I took part in while in the US will be highly useful in my legislative work to advance renewables and net-metering, which is urgent in Chile." - Senator Antonio Horvath Kiss
Senator Horvath and the young kayakers visited Glen Canyon Dam, which impedes the flow of the Colorado River just a few miles upriver of Lee's Ferry, where the students began their trip. "This was the most shocking part of the entire trip," said Danilo Cruces, one of the Chilean participants. "I see [the dam] as a mistake. They explained to us that it was built without any prior study of the impact…this made me afraid that the same thing will happen in Patagonia."

Students visited sites within Grand Canyon where two additional dams had been approved for construction in the 1960s. It was only through a famous and prolonged fight, lead by David Brower, that public outcry convinced the US Congress to uphold the Grand Canyon's integrity as a National Park and preserve it for future generations. "We learned that you have to live your fight," said Claudia Altamirano, director of the Chilean Club Náutico Escualo. 
Kayaking to Conservation: read the High Country News story about Ríos to Rivers' historic exchange.
Congressional Medal of Recognition from the Chilean Senate, presented to Ríos to Rivers by Senator Antonio Horvath.
Jaime Lancaster
The first video from the trip! The Grand Canyon as seen through the eyes of Escualo Jaime Lancaster.
Jaime Lancaster
Santiago Times: Chile’s Congress passes controversial Electric Concessions bill, which will make the approval process for HidroAysen's transmission line easier.    
An accordion? In the Grand Canyon? Watch Ríos to Rivers' musicians testing the acoustics in Blacktail Canyon.
Big thank you to Hatch River Expeditions for making the trip in the Grand Canyon possible and run smoothly!
Check out beautiful images from the trip by our photographer Ben Lehman
Take a trip of your own on the Colorado River to support Ríos to Rivers! Holiday River Expeditions has donated a two-day trip through Westwater Canyon for two! $850 value for a $500 donation.
Thank you Belknap's Guide Books for providing each student on the trip with a Grand Canyon River Guide! 
Support Rios to Rivers with a $100 donation, and receive a Dam Busting Patagonia T-shirt with photo by Rios to Rivers director Weston Boyles. 
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Ríos to Rivers at the overlook of Glen Canyon Dam.  Photo: Weston Boyles
What's Next?
Over the past two years, Ríos to Rivers has conceived, designed, and carried out an international kayaking exchange program. We’ve achieved 501(c)(3) status, developed a bilingual curriculum, and led students down two of the most spectacular rivers in the world. We’ve raised over $70,000, gained support from a variety of individuals, businesses, and communities – including the Chilean Army, and the remote town of Cochrane, Chile have contributed to our program. We’ve connected politicians and environmental leaders from the US and Chile, and ultimately formed a bond between two cultures and rivers halfway across the world.

And we’re not done yet!

During the exchanges, we’ve had long conversations about ways to expand our reach and impact. How can we quantify the value of our program? How can we translate the power of exchange and experiential education into tangible results?

We’re making a movie: We would like to be able to take all of the decision makers down the rivers so they could experience first hand what is at stake. What we will be able to do is through the compelling story of exchange show the beauty of what could be lost and the viable alternative energy solutions that could provide energy while preserving the integrity of the environment.

Developing spokespeople: Our students are at the heart of our program. They are among the best spokespersons for their rivers, and we want their voices to be heard. We are seeking funding for the Chilean participants to travel to schools within the region of Aysén, Chile, so that they can share their newfound knowledge of dams, energy, and the environment with their peers and communities.  
Political Exchange: Chilean Senator Horvath (far left) and Colorado State Senator Gail Schwartz (third from left) meeting at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. Both senators have been instrumental in passing net metering bills.  The senators shared notes on effective measures to advance net metering goals.  Photo: Daniel Gonzalez
Political leverage: Recent emails from Senator Antonio Horvath are full of ideas and excitement for future collaborations with Ríos to Rivers, Amory Lovins, Colorado Senator Gail Schwartz, and Solar Energy International (SEI). Senator Horvath wants to establish an SEI educational facility in Chile, and  â€œcommunity floats”, duplicating our April 2013 trip on the Río Baker so that more Aysén residents can experience the intrinsic value of the river.

UNESCO World Heritage: The Grand Canyon and the region of Aysén are ecosystems of equal grander, heritage, and importance to the biosphere. But only the Grand is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ríos to Rivers intends for this exchange and documentary to further the efforts to designate parts of Aysén as World Heritage Sites to help protect them for the benefit of all humanity.

David Brower, the American conservationist who successfully fought the dams in the Grand Canyon, had a favorite quote: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” - W.H. Murray / Goethe. Thank you to your support, Ríos to Rivers has begun. From here, anything is possible!
We need to raise $25,000 by the end of
this year to make the above goals possible.
Please support us with a 501(c)(3) donation today.
Some highlights from the exchange:
Kimbrell Larouche, Mollie Podmore, Enzo Inostroza, and Nicolas de la Rosa: building friendships that cross cultures.   Photo: Weston Boyles
Measuring the health of the Crystal River, an important tributary of the Colorado, with the Roaring Fork Conservancy.  Photo: Susan Munroe
Some of the featured presenters from our community event last month. From left to right, Daniel Gonzalez, Ríos to Rivers political coordinator; Roberto Haro & Claudia Altamirano, directors of Club Náutico Escualo; Antonio Horvath, Senator for the region of Aysén; Susan Munroe & Weston Boyles, Ríos to Rivers cofounders; and Amory Lovins, founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute. Photo: Burnie Arndt
Studying solar and wind technology at the National Rewnewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.  Photo: Elizabeth Boyles
Kris Sutton of Solar Energy International discussing practical solar implementation with Senator Horvath.  Photo: Elizabeth Boyles
The kayakers picking their lines at Hance Rapid, Grand Canyon.  Photo: Ben Lehman
Students and solar panels at Solar Energy International in Paonia, Colorado.  Photo: Ben Lehman
Seventeen-year-old Jaime Lancaster surfing the famous hole in Crystal Rapid.  Photo: Ben Lehman
On-river interviews each night while on the Grand Canyon for the upcoming film.  In this photo, Pamela Quintana Alvarado speaks with Ríos to Rivers co-founders Weston Boyles & Susan Munroe.  Photo: Ben Lehman
A Grand Exchange: Ríos to Rivers' seventeen kayaks on the water made a colorful contrast with the red walls of the Grand Canyon.  Photo: Ben Lehman
Thank you to our most recent donors and volunteers:
Bill Adams
Lacey Anderson
Senator Antonio Horvath Kiss
Daniel Amstutz  
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
Aspen Public Radio
The Aspen Skiing Company  
Colorado Energy Office
Colorado Rocky Mountain School
Clean Energy Collective 
Club Naútico Escualo 
Erica Bash
Loie Belknap
Lise Bennett
Peter Benedict
Denali Barron  
Daniel Beveridge 
Elin Binck
Charles Brooks 
Birdie Boyles
Edgar & Elizabeth Boyles
Morgan Boyles & Phebe Myers
Phyllis Boyles
Anna Burtell
Susan Brady
Kelsey Brennan
Michael Brown
Tim Wernette & Carolyn Brown
Phyllis Bronson
Bob Campbell   
Doug Capelin  
Richard Carter  
Josefina Ruiz Catalan  
Mark & Jeanie Clark
Mark Tache & Christin Cooper
Amy Conger  
Colorado Audio Visual 
Sean D'Amboise
Chris David
Hillary Dobos
Elizabeth Donehoo
Katharine Dusenbury  
Alisa Evans  
Richard E Davie & Amy Eshoo
Will Ericson
Leslie Forman  
Tim Foster  
Tony Gault  
Sarah Gilman
Daniel Gonzalez 
Grand Canyon Wildlands Council 
Grand Canyon National Park Service
Michael Gregory  
Evan & Flossie Gull
Diane Hackl & Jeff Crane
Dale Halon  
Chris Hassig  
Michael Hassig & Olivia Emory
Steve & Sarah Hatch
Hatch River Expeditions 
Matt Hamilton
Matt Harris 
Conie Harvey
Mark Harvey
Nelson Harvey
Claudia Altamirano & Roberto Haro
Mary & Keith Hatanaka
John Hatanaka
Keith Hay
Carolyne Heldman
Heather Hicks
High Country News
Cabell Hodge
Mack & Mary Holekamp
Linda Holekamp
Holiday River Expeditions
Laurence G. Huie
William O. Hunt
Jacqueline Hyland 
Pat Hyland
Katie Hyman
James Ibbotson  
Rob Jackson  
Sarah Johnson
Kerry Jones
Sarah Kalert  
Mike & Cindy Kamm
Jesse Kasten
Saree Kayne  

The Kayne Foundation 
Christopher Keleher
Dave Kersey 
Chris Koogler
Jim Kravitz
Krista Langlois
Patty Lecht  
Nadine Lehner  
Ben Lehman
Jeff Leahy
Jeff, Diane & Kendra Lizotte  
Amory & Judy Lovins
Peter Looram
Charlie MacArthur
Mirte Mallory 
Ed Marston
Joani Matranga 
Amanda Maxwell 
Naomi McDougall-Jones
Dustin McHenry  
Travis Moise  
Richard Moore
Patrick Moran
Syreena Mortimer  
Meegan Moszynski  
Municipalidad de Cochrane
Alison Munroe
David & Christine Munroe
Jan Naugle
Deepa Natarajan  
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Debra Newell
Deborah Nielsen  
Harriet & James Noreen
Sean Offill  
Bonita G. Osborn
Whitewater Parks International 
Elaine Pagels
Eleanor Perry  
Mary Lee Pickett
Magnolia Pitiquen
Ruth Podmore
David Polovin  
John Porcher  
Tim Porten
Megan Prather
Mike Quigley  
Vysta Resources
JP Running
Brent Gardner-Smith
Griff Smith
Ian Soroka 
Kris Sutton
Larry Stevens
Katherine Stobie
Clay Stranger
William L. Stirling
Tanner Stirrat
Kathryn Swartz
Senator Gail Schwartz 
Ken Ransford
Roaring Fork Conservancy 
Rocky Mountain Institute 
Kate Ross  
Lois Rice
David Hyman & Barbara Reid
Debra Roberts
Auden Schindler
Kelly Dunham & Ric Schmidt
Debra Sellheim  
Garrett Sergeant  
Solar Energy International
Julian Springer
Leland Thompson  
Sam Timberg  
Sandy Turay
Doddie Udall
Randy Udall
Tarn Udall
Utah Ski Gear
Lauren Wenzel 
Tyler Williams & Lisa Gelczis 
Kelly Wagner
Sam Watson
Johnny Weiss
Wildwood Films
Joe White
Lisa Yore
Dominic Zanzooki

Thank you!

The Rios to Rivers Team
Ríos to Rivers in Redwall Cavern.  Photo: Ben Lehman
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