When I began as an Americorps VISTA, one of my main objectives was to make connections and build partnerships throughout the tidal basin. Luckily, what I found was a vast network of environmental educators. The Three Rivers Environmental Educators (TREE) is a cohort of educators which covers Westmoreland, Northumberland, Lancaster, Richmond, Essex, King and Queen, Middlesex, Gloucester and Mathews Counties. TREE is comprised of various environmental educators from federal, state, local, and non-profit organizations, as well as independent educators, that work together to provide networking, learning, and educational opportunities.

From TREE, the program A River Runs Through Us (ARRTU) was born and has strengthened in form since its beginning in 2013. Together, we have grown the program from one county to seven and have worked together to provide lessons and field experiences that have made a lasting impression for the next generation of river stewards. Organizations including Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District, Tri-County City Soil and Water Conservation District, Three Rivers Soil and Water Conservation District, 4H Virginia Cooperative Extension, Menokin Foundation, Belle Isle State Park, Tidewater Oyster Growers Association, Virginia Department of Forestry, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Northern Neck Master Naturalists have provided countless hours of expertise and commitment to this program.

FOR is lucky to be a part of a cohort of great environmental education leaders who are making a difference every day. Thank you to our partners for everything that you do! Additionally, congratulations to Katherine Shepard, the Chief Ranger of Visitor Experience at Belle Isle State Park, for being our Education Partner of the Year. We appreciate everything that you do and allowing FOR to use the park for professional developments and field experiences.

If you are interested in learning more about TREE, please email Lowery Becker, [email protected].

*All photos by Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District.

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