Mac here, Senior Environmental Science student with a concentration in Hydrology and Water Management attending Metropolitan State University of Denver located in colorful Colorado. Growing up in the Midwest lead to some great outdoor opportunities that soon forged a lifelong appreciation for nature imbued with a passion for water. Being a lover of skiing and snowboarding, catching frogs, kayaking and fishing devoting my time to the study of water was a seamless decision.
My TU journey was sparked by curiosity and has been supported by like minded teachers and compatriots along the way. The organization is a wonderful network and asset to conservationist operating locally having an impact on how society views this wonderful world.
When first starting out on this conservationist journey excellent guidance was received from the faculty of The EAS department. Among the many lessons three field trips stood out. First being the field trip Dr. Rust leads, covering everything from electro fishing, entomology, and hydrology. The second being a field trip Dr. Freiheiter leads In Rocky Mountain National Park where students apply the skills they’ve learned over the semester via hunting for coordinate locations throughout the park. The final being a trip Dr. Brazeau took us on to the Binney Water Treatment facility in Aurora, CO. Where the facility uses rainbow trout to act as an indicator for water quality along their water treatment train. The facility releases treated water through a tank of rainbows and monitor them understanding the fish are clear indicators of water quality. These trips were inspiring and were incredibly impactful.
Recently, I was given an opportunity to intern at Denver Trout Unlimited. This experience was incredible and grew my knowledge of the relationships of non-profits, private industry and government agencies have around water management. Soon after, I became a board member of Denver Trout Unlimited, a role I gratefully carry today.
We wanted to bring the fly-fishing and conservation network to the Metro campus and we formed the MSU Denver Fly Fishing club (A TU Costa 5 Rivers club). With the blessing of Andrew Loffredo head of the 5 Rivers program and the university Trevor, Steve, Lane and I formed the group which operates to this day. Currently the Treasurer, this endeavor has been well worth it and national events such as the Rendezvous trips have been an educational blast.
In addition to my participation in Trout Unlimited, I volunteer at The One World One Water Denver Botanic Gardens Center operated by Tom Cech and Jenifer Riley-Chetwynd, who have been a tremendous resource in my water pursuits. Throughout my college career I’ve also voluntered and competed in competitions hosted by the Greenway Foundation. In particular their Water Connection branch, and I am thankful for the experience these have given me.
It is an absolute honor to be selected to attend this expedition. These areas, such as Tongass National Forrest and Bristol Bay cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. These areas are snapshots of an ever changing library of time and the organisms. That have inhabited them for millennia. Each it’s librarian communicating embodied meaning of what was, is, and alluding to what may be. It’s up to us to determine what the “may be” part is will be. This years 5 Rivers Odyssey team aims communicate the challenges facing these ecosystems, while exploring and documenting the Alaskan wilderness.