Dolores River Boating Advocates River School

Dolores River Boating Advocates

2021 Innovative EE Program Award Recipient

Kids getting ready to launch river rafts

Dolores River Boating Advocates’ (DRBA) River School youth programs provide youth and families from Montezuma and Dolores counties with opportunities to experience the Dolores River through one-day river trips, in class lessons, and field trips. Youth learn river safety skills and Leave-No-Trace ethics, are introduced to river ecology, aquatic species and watersheds, learn how local communities are tied to the Dolores river, and experience whitewater rafting in a thrilling yet safe environment. River boating requires specialized equipment and skills. DRBA’s program is designed to remove these barriers, create access to the river, and help foster new river stewards among a broader demographic in southwest Colorado. Since 2018 when the River School grew and became a larger part of the organization’s work, DRBA has engaged with over 250 youth and family members from the communities of Cortez, Dolores, Mancos, Towaoc, and Dove Creek. The programs have grown each year, including in 2020 despite Covid-19. DRBA has developed relationships with school staff, specific teachers, engaged a high school youth leadership group, and worked directly with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and perspective on the river in 2021 programs.