Two rivers and two cities built upon the same ideas

Raising awareness and creating place identity are two things that can lead to conservation and sustainable management practices. To be able to create place identity, you must have some sort of connection with the land, such as walking on the soil or boating through the river rapids. These connections allow you to be more a part of the place, and less of just another human visitor. These connections were made in all of my fellow Earth Lodgers.

Unfortunately, I did not get to interact personally with the land this weekend because I was unable to attend the trip due to sport conflicts. Fortunately, I was able to learn what seeing the river might not have been able to tell me. I had the opportunity to discover how the river became what it is today, through reading a book called The Potomac by Frederick Gutheim. While this book did not fill my seat in the van or my bed in the cabin, it did allow me to understand more of the history behind the Potomac River watershed. With this deeper knowledge, I was able to then compare current statistics about the James River watershed and the Potomac River watershed as well as compare their pasts.

In River Time has informed us all of the ups and downs throughout the James River history and our field trips and readings have filled in the rest of our current knowledge of the James. The explorers of the past seem strikingly similar. Their attitudes were simple. They wanted to succeed. The early comers of both watersheds settled close to the river enabling them to harness the power of the water. In both situations the river was used as a highway. It allowed for exploration and for trade. Interestingly enough both sets of new comers experienced an urge to cross the river and explore the other bank. Both rivers acted as “floating worlds”, but also as barriers. The list of similarities throughout history goes on and on, but I will not bore you with that.

Having spent my weekend reading a book all about the Potomac River, I could not help myself from creating a connection with the river. I hope to explore the watershed further and I hope to learn more about the river from my classmates. I unfortunately will never be able to make up not being on the trip with my fellow Earth Lodgers, but I will make an honest effort to venture up to the Potomac at the end of Thanksgiving Break.

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