Awareness of the water resource closest to the people

The River Institute of the University of Dayton (Ohio) is gearing a mobile educational unit to teach children about the environmental, economic and social role of the rivers in the region and to promote their conservation.

Environment and Biodiversity

Dayton (Ohio), United States

Dave Christophersen

20 000 € to the Selection Committee at 2012/06/05

Project leader

The River Institute of the University of Dayton

"Everyone here is concerned with water.The more we stress its importance to the children, the safer our future.The Rivermobile is an exciting project that serves to expand the Institute's public, with which I'm happy to associate, together with many of my colleagues in Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies (VWS) and Veolia Water North America (VWNA)."

Dave Christophersen

The River Institute of the University of Dayton (Ohio) was created in 2005 to teach the people of Dayton and its surroundings about the conservation of the water resource.Thanks to the support and the work of the students, faculty and personnel of the university, the nonprofit is creating a community around rivers, particularly the Great Miami River, working together with the population, the stakeholders and the local administrations.The river crosses southwestern Ohio and flows through many towns, including Dayton and the university campus, finally discharging into the Mississippi.Since its inception, the Institute has organized an annual river Summit, gathering together NGOs and local administrations, and is gradually building up a communal awareness of the economic and ecological function of the rivers, by conducting neighborhood educational projects with the schools, festivals and public events.

An innovative mobile educational unit

Buoyed by the success of its educational programs in the schools, the River Institute wants to expand the scale of its projects to enhance their impact. To do this, it is acquiring an innovative mobile educational unit, the Rivermobile, an 18-meter long semi-trailer equipped with interactive educational materials, panels and educational meeting places, around the region's foremost resource: water. On board, volunteer senior students ("river hosts") tell the children about the ecological, tourism and economic value of the rivers of the region, the wealth of their ecosystem, and the resources conditioning the development of the Dayton urban community. The lessons address all water related issues: navigable waterways, culture, biodiversity, health, industry, economy, planning, etc.

The Rivermobile will help the Institute reach more than 4 000 schoolchildren, instead of the previous 250, expanding the educational potential of a neighborhood educational project launched in 2009.

The Institute has enlisted many partners to complete its project, with which the Veolia Foundation is happy to associate: local authorities, environmentalist associations, foundations and corporations like Dayton Power and Light, the Dayton Foundation, the University of Dayton College of Sciences and Arts, and Exhibits Concepts (exhibition designer). The semi-trailer was a gift from a local distributor.