14 August 2020

Going with the Flow in 2020

Written by: Cassidy Quistorff

Rivers have a way of captivating and fascinating any onlooker. They weave and wind, create landscapes of their own, offer oases for flora and fauna, and can either be an exhilarating whitewater experience or a place of peace.

They are many things to many different people and cultures. In essence and practice, rivers are life. These are some of the reasons why I applied to be the Communications Fellow for the Partnership Wild & Scenic Rivers Program. The Partnership program is a special designation for Wild & Scenic Rivers that are protected and managed by their communities. All sixteen partnerships are located in the northeastern United States. These rivers are well-loved and have people who are passionate for their ongoing use and conservation. As the communications fellow, I have the unique and exciting opportunity to tell their stories. 

This has required a bit more of creative thinking due to the current global pandemic. With the position stationed in Boston, I began working remotely in mid-June. However, jobs for my partner were disappearing quickly, and we ended up making my position extra-remote... We embarked on a new journey with a 40-hour drive to Oregon and a new place to call home: Klamath Falls. While my meeting times are a bit earlier now, the move and working remotely has been surprisingly easy and effective. It certainly helps that almost everyone I know also works from home and are actively using group calls for interviews, meetings, etc.

With this move has come new adventures, such as adopting a kitten from a gas station in Missouri, kayaking down headwater streams of pristine rivers, hiking through wilderness areas to try fly fishing, surveying bull trout in Crater Lake National Park, and innumerable plans to explore Oregon’s wild and beautiful places. I’m captivated by these landscapes, their waters, and their history. It’s funny now to look at the Backcountry ski book I had bought for the Northeast, but I am thrilled to take that same energy to the West Coast.

I’ve learned a lot about time management through the 3-hour time difference in meetings, as well as new ways to approach storytelling virtually. Thanks to webinars and skill trainings, I’ve grown so much in my communications knowledge, specifically in regards to website and news designs, visuals and graphic-making, as well as simply how to tell a good story. I cannot wait to share some of what I’ve been working on. In addition to these, the inclusivity and diversity initiatives that I’ve seen and been a part of through HAF and NPS has taught me about individual’s experiences as well as systemic issues throughout our public lands and organizations. Rivers have the inspiring characteristic of connecting people of all backgrounds and histories, and I hope to explore and produce stories that also share that ability. 

Agency: National Park Service

Program: Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Program (COR)

Location: Rivers, Trails Conservation Assistance Program - Boston Support Office - Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers

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