Last week we shipped Emriver Em2 number 100 to Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota.
Our geomodels now reach thousands of people -- students, citizens, and decision-makers.
Six years ago, when I was building these models in our garage, my wife, Kate, said, “give your river models to the world.” She knew this would be a labor of love, not profit.
She was right, and in 2007, reluctantly, I gave up my well-paying consulting work and we bought a building and hired a few people to help.
Then the economy tanked, and education budgets were slashed. The first two years were exciting but terrible for me. Stress and hard work landed me in the hospital in 2008.
For nearly five years we saw only losses. Kate’s work as a pharmacist supported us. NSF and others rejected our grant proposals.
We pushed past these hard times, and now we are a world-class force for science and river conservation education.
Little River Research & Design will be 20 years old this summer. I’m told bosses aren’t supposed to, but I consider every one of my employees a friend, and am proud of them without reservation.
And thankful to the colleagues and friends around the world who’ve helped.
You know who you are. Special thanks to my 1980s Missouri Department of Conservation colleagues, where we conceived these models, and to the people of Missouri who funded it. The final photo here is of a circa 1990 river model we built there; it's filled with crushed walnut shells.