Stories from the River: A Trip to Washington, DC

In August 2013, eighteen Latino high school students from Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico set off on a six-day raft trip on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park.

Nuestro Río sponsored the trip to help these young people understand the rich heritage that we have with the river and the many ways that we are connected to the river. Marco Rauda, one of the trip's coordinators, said, "The trip was designed to help these kids live and feel the river so they really understand what is at stake."

The trip was a huge success. Rocsana Contreras, one of the students from Las Vegas, said "Before I spent six days living and learning on the Colorado River, I didn't think much about the river and I assumed it would always be there. Now I understand that we have to take steps to save the Colorado River right now, today – or it will be gone."

Later that fall, during Hispanic Heritage Month, these students traveled to Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress and officials from the Obama Administration to talk about the river. They showed policymakers a video that highlighted the lessons that they learned on their trip and delivered bottles of Colorado River water as a reminder about why the river is so important.

The students also had a private meeting with U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to share their concerns about threats to the river.

A Trip to Washington, DC