Risa Shimoda: River Choreography

Prepare to get wet.

In this episode, we hear from Risa Shimoda, Executive Director of the River Management Society and Chair of USA Freestyle Kayaking and International Whitewater Hall of Fame. Risa’s story begins with her passion for dance and choreography evolving into the world of whitewater, and then developing skills that have carried her into competing on nine championship USA Freestyle Kayaking teams. 

Risa Shimoda, Executive Director, River Management Society

We’ll learn about her work at the River Management Society (RMS), leading the way in support of professionals who study, protect and manage the use of North America’s rivers. RMS provides programs and services including an international symposium every other year, a national rivers geospatial database , a river training center, a river studies certificate program and much more.

We’ll also discover the Anacostia River, that flows from Maryland into D.C., through a story that challenges us to be intentional about addressing environmental justice and equity in providing access to the outdoors.

Our episode concludes with finding out why Risa considers the Middle Fork of the Feather River in California and the Watauga River, that flows from North Carolina into Tennessee, as two of her most favorite gems.

River Management Society Chapter Symposium
on the Tuolumne River, CA

Risa oversees a couple of great web resources that are available to everyone:

1) the River Management Society provides access to an array of programs and services we discuss in the podcast. Here you can find information about their international symposiums as well as sign-up to join the organization. There is also timely information about COVID-19 river opening guidance and be sure to check out the fun #TheRiverIsMyOffice video series.

2) the National Rivers Project has interactive maps, paddling and access information for thousands of unique sections of river in the United States.

Risa’s story includes recently co-authoring a book about her father and professional photographer, Midori Shimoda. The title of the book is, Photographic Memories: A Story of Shinjitsu. “Despite frequent reminders of the fear and distrust facing Japanese immigrants during WWII, Midori’s love of photography and drive to excel is a story of passion, resourcefulness, and diligence for sharing beauty through the lens of a camera.”

We’re excited to bring Risa’s story to you, thanks for listening!

All rivers have stories that ripple. 
I’m Dave Koehler. Be well and do good work.