Location : San Antonio, Texas
The term Water is Life is a mantra against which few would choose to argue and the history of the city of San Antonio is deeply intertwined with the history of the San Antonio River. As the land surrounding the river passed from Native American hunter-gatherers utilizing the San Antonio River Basin to the Spanish explorers who documented this area in the mid-1500s, the river has been a part of each individual and community story. By the 1850s, the river was hard at work for the people of San Antonio, powering waterworks and mills, feeding irrigation ditches, providing drinking water, putting out ﬁres, and carrying sewage downstream. As time went on, a new reliance on wells led to a decline in the springs that fed the river. Even when ﬂoods threatened to wipe out the citizens of San Antonio and when regular evacuations became a part of daily life in the town, attempts to pave over the river were met with staunch opposition. The river was a part of daily life for those in San Antonio. Hundreds of years later, while the city has changed drastically and a multi-faceted flood mitigation system has been implemented to protect the downtown, the protection of the river remains top of mind for the city. Beautiﬁcation led to the famed River Walk and modern day technology has allowed the city to maintain a strong river through an intensive water recycling project. The San Antonio River Authority has been front and center in this process and the 2002 discovery of a log perch (ﬁsh species) has only underline their efforts to assure a clean river for both residents and for wildlife.
Soul River Inc will deploy youth and Veterans back in time to explore the rich history of the San Antonio River. The river ﬂows 240 miles, converging with the Guadalupe River before ﬁnally ﬂowing into San Antonio Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. Filled with wildlife and framed by a diversity of tangled landscapes, this deployment will work closely with local leadership to learn about the restoration of this historical river. While our deployments normally explore areas experiencing environmental threat, this deployment allows a deep dive into the backstory of what happens when a community comes together to protect an important place and an essential resource. The San Antonio River is now one of the world’s top two recyclable rivers and a winner of the 2017 International River prize. Partnering with the San Antonio River Authority allows access to scientists and engineers who will share their experience and how the advancement of green technology and practices has allowed for conservation. The youth leaders of tomorrow and Veterans will thus explore unconventional approach outdoor leadership and environmental advocacy.Soul River Inc will deploy youth and Veterans back in time to explore the rich history of the San Antonio River. The river ﬂows 240 miles, converging with the Guadalupe River before ﬁnally ﬂowing into San Antonio Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. Filled with wildlife and framed by a diversity of tangled landscapes, this deployment will work closely with local leadership to learn about the restoration of this historical river. While our deployments normally explore areas experiencing environmental threat, this deployment allows a deep dive into the backstory of what happens when a community comes together to protect an important place and an essential resource. The San Antonio River is now one of the world’s top two recyclable rivers and a winner of the 2017 International River prize. Partnering with the San Antonio River Authority allows access to scientists and engineers who will share their experience and how the advancement of green technology and practices has allowed for conservation. The youth leaders of tomorrow and Veterans will thus explore unconventional approach outdoor leadership and environmental advocacy.
Location : Ivishak River & Venetie, Arctic Circle
About this Deployment:
Soul River Inc will return to the Arctic to deepen and continue to enrich our strong partnership with the Gwich’in community. Together, we will work to protect rugged landscapes, adventure through story and culture, witness nature’s global conditions, awaken our voice, and stand side-by-side with local leaders as youth leaders and Veterans assist in making a lasting supportive change. We will establish an environmental, educational basecamp to engage, build, and advocate for one of our planet’s few remaining pristine ecosystems - the Arctic.
This deployment is the pinnacle of joint efforts, combining Veterans and young leaders of tomorrow into a partnership with the Gwich’in community. In addition to cultural immersion and environmental engagement education, SRI will lead a joint effort infrastructure project based on the predetermined wishes of the Gwich’in community. Whether building a playground, installing solar-powered lights, or helping repair picnic tables in communal spaces, the mission is to help be a part of the solution.
At the same time, this deployment offers education about this Arctic tribal community’s reality due to global warming. Faced with climate change, extractive development and drilling, traditional life among the Gwich’in Nation is at threat. We will implement an interactive, non-traditional classroom in the village where SRI will observe and discuss and learn from community elders about the gross impacts both environmentally and socially. SRI will partner with conservation and environmental justice influencers, such as members of the Wilderness Society and USFW allies, to build a bridge between SRI youth leaders and congressional leaders and policy change-makers. Together, we will be the voice in the Lower 48 for the Gwich’in community in order to support the efforts of protecting the Arctic and it’s refuge system.
Take grassroot efforts to protect the environment and strengthen understanding of environmental issues
Create links among Gwich’in youth and community and SRI youth and community.
Discuss impacts of climate change, wildlife, ecosystems, culture, etc.
Instill community-building leadership skills in youth
Build and repair side-by-side amongst multiple, diverse communities
Apply conservation-minded practices
Provide a platform for public policy and advocacy (post-deployment)
Mission Forward Project: Gwich’in Nation Infrastructure Development
Partner - US. FISH AND WILDLIFE | WILBURFORCE FOUNDATION
Location : Location Wallowa Mountains Joseph, Oregon
About this Deployment:
Gray wolves (Canis lupus) were once common in Oregon, occupying most of the state. However, due to a deliberate effort to eradicate the species, wolves were regionally extinct by the late 1940s and remained so for over half a century. After a hard-fought legal settlement, Oregon’s fragile wolf recovery is back on track under the most progressive wolf conservation plan in the country. We now have a population of 110 wolves – however, many of those are isolated in the northeast corner of Oregon.
Soul River will join in partnership with Oregon Wild and journey into the Wallowa Mountains, an area where Wolf Conservation is underway. Youth leaders will back pack into the wild accompanied by Veterans and the Oregon Wild Wolf Conservation Team with a mission to install wildlife cameras in a sensitive areas of wolf habitat and to learn and observe the behavior of wolves in its natural environment. While wolf sightings are extremely rare, youth will learn about tracking wild species through scat and footprints. Additionally, they will learn about opposition to Wolf Conservation from local leaders whose livelihoods are threatened by wolves. Youth will be challenged to evaluate and form opinions and action plans related to how humans and animals can co-exist here in Oregon.
Additionally, this journey into the backcountry will include time on the Snake River with Winding Waters for a river run and fly-fishing for some amazing trout and steelhead.
Mission Forward: Trail Cam Installation
Partner - Oregon Wild, Winding Waters
Location : Utah, Monument Valley
About this Deployment:
Known as one of United States of America’s most iconic landscapes and considered an imprint on the rich cultural history of America, The Bears Ears National Monument is at the center of politically charged discussions regarding land designations in our country. With specific significance to multiple Native Nations, this is a place where Soul River youth and Veterans can learn about the rich history of Native peoples in the United States as well as the contemporary issues they face.
Within the Navajo Nation, with the guidance and support of partners Jonah Yellowman of Utah Dine Bikeyah and Charlotte Morris of the Olijato Veterans Organization, Soul River will make base camp. This year, Soul River will attend the Bear’s Ears Summer Gathering with our hosts.
This deployment mobilizes Soul River Inc. youth and Veterans into Monument Valley and fosters deep connections with local leaders while exploring some of American’s most stunning landscapes, including The Valley of the Gods outdoor museum and the area’s dense concentration of traditional homes, rock art and cultural artifacts. This is a destination that offers many opportunities for recreation, exploration and discovery. It is said this was once densely populated areas of the U.S. before colonization in North America.
SRI will be merging with the Navajo Nation, members of which have been widely united in standing together as a voice on the front lines for the protection of Bears Ears as a place of cultural importance to tribal nations. Our goal is to align with the community, learn their values, build strong relationships and engage in a project which can provide support for their ongoing efforts to maintain their culture and land. The project will be hands-on skill-building and will develop young leaders to be advocates and activists.
Mission Forward: TBD
Partner - Navajo Nation
Location: Scott Mountains
About this Deployment:
The Scott Mountains are a subrange of the Klamath Mountains located in Siskiyou County, ranging from Southern Oregon into northwestern California. A high point is Scott Mountain Summit, a mountain gap-pass at 5,554 feet in elevation. Soul River Inc. will deploy youth and Veterans into this new area for the organization to experience and rehabilitate the future home of Soul River Inc.’s headquarter, the Doomsday Ranch. This 765 acres ranch is located along the southern portion of the Noyes Valley.
Surrounded by mountain terrain, wild land, wildlife and freshwater rivers and lakes, this deployment will focus on the exploration of wilderness areas and the relationship between human impact, land development and conservation. Through outdoor leadership classes, fly fishing, hiking and making journalistic observations, we will survey the land and work closely with the surrounding community to plan for its future development.
Cross-Cultural Exploration: This deployment is located in the heart of the Karuk Tribe’s ancestral territory, which extends along the Klamath River form Bluff Creek (near the community of Orleans in Humboldt County) through Siskiyou County in Southern Oregon. The name "Karuk," also spelled "Karok," means "upriver people", or "upstream" people.
About this Deployment:
The Gila River, a tributary of the Colorado River in Southwest New Mexico, could be considered the birthplace of wilderness and it remains an incredibly wild and incredible place.
When one of the fathers of modern conservation Aldo Leopold convinced the US Forest Service that the headwaters of the Gila should be designated the world’s first primitive area back in 1924, it set the stage for the Wilderness Act of 1964. Deservingly, the Gila became the nation’s first congressionally designated Wilderness and remains the largest Wilderness Area in New Mexico.
Today the Gila, the last free-flowing river in New Mexico, remains an oasis of recreation, culture and bio-diversity. The West Fork, Middle Fork, and much of the East Fork of the Gila River sit in the shadows of the Black Range along the Continental Divide and the rugged Mogollon Mountains looming at elevations upwards of 10,000 feet in the Gila Wilderness. Surrounded by a varied landscape that includes one of the world’s largest and healthiest Ponderosa Pine forests, the Gila headwaters help sustain abundant wildlife ranging from the rare Gila Trout, wild turkeys, eagles, and dusky grouse to deer, pronghorn, elk, bighorn sheep, javelina, cougars, and black bears. Several packs of reintroduced endangered Mexican wolves have established themselves in the Wilderness Area alongside the world’s largest population of rare Mexican spotted owls.
The deployment will explore this wild river's watershed and its rich ecological, cultural and spiritual values.
|Monday||10:00AM - 6:00PM|
|Tuesday||10:00AM - 6:00PM|
|Wednesday||10:00AM - 6:00PM|
|Thursday||10:00AM - 6:00PM|
|Friday||10:00AM - 6:00PM|