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My Life

River Stewards Capstone

As students at the University of Dayton begin their descent on the end of the fall semester, the 2018 cohort of River Stewards are intently organizing the final touches for their senior capstone project, an essential component of the River Stewards program. Planning for the project started in the fall of 2016, but is now nearing its implementation and completion. As a member of the 2018 cohort I’m eagerly awaiting the spring semester to install this thing!

What started as an idea to merely get kids to get outside with the typical playground has evolved into a colorfully renovated pavilion area with an accompanied bike path and nature playground. In collaboration with local Dayton artist Mural Machine, the Miami Conservancy District, and the City of Dayton, the 2018 River Stewards will help to establish a nature-oriented play area for the residents, and general public, surrounding Cleveland Park, which is located a few miles north east of the University of Dayton’s campus.

The goal of the project is to facilitate a connection with nature for kids that may not have otherwise had the opportunity or space for such a connection. Collectively as a cohort, we found this important because this connection, on a personal level for each individual it impacts, creates an appreciation for the natural world. Within a Daytonian context, appreciation for the natural world involves recognition of the Great Miami River and Buried Valley Aquifer and their supplementary innate groundwater filtration system. This system provides clean drinking water for the greater Dayton area, which is a resource that cannot be overlooked.

Nearing the completion of our capstone project is bittersweet. I’m sad to see my time as a UD River Steward come to an end, but excited for children of the neighborhoods periphery to Cleveland Park to play in the nature playground we have helped provide. The hope is to have created a space to serve community members for many years to come, if even in the smallest way possible.

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