Monday, April 14, 2014

Our plastic sand demonstrates mass wasting. A draft.

Mass wasting and other slope processes using Emriver plastic sand. from Steve Gough on Vimeo.

At LRRD we have notebooks full of "what ifs" for our models.  As I worked on other things last weekend I put together this little demonstration and checked one off the list.

The video speaks for itself.  I've always known our plastic media could be used to demonstrate hillslope processes, but this is the first time I've attempted to record it.

I'm a fluvial guy and not so well versed on slope stability outside of the situations I see in stream banks — and even those are usually handled by a geotechnical engineer on my team.

So I'd appreciate comments on this little demonstration and how we can improve and expand it.

I was surprised to see how well the "mudflow" demo worked, especially since my wetting method was very crude.  With slow, methodical saturation of the slope, I think we could make wonderful simulations of this process.

We will likely have some interns working here this summer, and this looks like a great project for one!

As noted in the video, the flickering you see is from one of the awesome skylights we installed — great for energy savings, but not too hot for time lapse lighting on a partly cloudy day!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We ship an Emriver Em3 to Liaoning, China.

Today we shipped a dual-tilting Em3 model to a museum in Liaoning, China. 

Four separate crates will travel to China via ocean freight.  They hold a reinforced Em3 and lots of spare parts.

When the museum’s buyers first contacted us I assigned the project to Alee Quick, I saw it as a long shot.

Months passed as Alee and Meriam and I negotiated huge cultural and language barriers — I didn’t think we could overcome those.  But Alee made it happen.  We had help from Chinese speakers in Carbondale and hired a Chinese-American lawyer in Chicago to write a contract.

Building and crating the model for shipping was a marathon effort.  Thanks to John Cotter, his super skilled daughter Kelli, and to Jim and JM at LRRD.

Jim Nation put in many extra hours this week to make things perfect.   

We do things nobody else in the world does.   Now we envision tens of thousands of people in China learning about rivers when this Em3 we built in Carbondale, Illinois goes to work.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Stream ecology in the LRRD lab

Students studying stream ecology at Southern Illinois University visited our lab yesterday.

Steve lectured about geomorphology, and the students practiced taking long profiles in the Em3.

Check out the video recap below.

Stream ecology class at LRRD's lab. from Steve Gough on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Anna Durrett joins LRRD

Anna in the lab with an Emflume1 prototype, showing her usual upbeat attitude!

We're thrilled to announce that Anna Durrett joined Little River as Research Assistant this spring.

She's jumped into her work with enthusiasm and grace, and she has adapted quickly to the wide variety of tasks we throw her way.

Anna is doing a fabulous job in both sales and support.  She helps Meriam (our Business Director) stay on top of the books.  She organizes all of our overseas shipments.  She manages the logistics of the many conferences we attend.  She's even written a blog post about this year's flooding in Colorado.

Anna brings valuable knowledge and experience to Little River.

She's a dual-degree graduate of the University of Missouri, with a bachelor's degrees in journalism and economics.  Before she joined us, she worked as a reporter and editor of the Madison Record newspaper in Madison, Ala. She also freelanced as a copywriter and graphic designer.

Anna has a strong interest in science.  She worked at a space camp in her hometown of Huntsville, Ala. after graduating from college, where she taught the camp kids about the science and history of space travel.

Anna is dedicated activist and is active in several admirable causes.  She is a vegan, and an animal rights activist.  Since moving to Southern Illinois, she has organized demonstrations for animal welfare, and she has organized several vegetarian and vegan social meet-ups at Carbondale's interfaith center, the Gaia House.  She volunteers for our local Women's Center, where she works the emergency hotline and advocates for sexual assault victims at area hospitals. She is also LGBTIQ (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Intersexed/Questioning) SafeZone trained.

She has been a wonderful addition to our team.  We are impressed with the work she has done so far, and everything she has learned about river science and policy in the short time she's been with us.  We admire her activism and volunteer work.  And we enjoy working with her every day; her sense of humor and upbeat spirit make her a great colleague.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

For your inspiration: adds a resources page

We've added a Resources page to!

Emriver users can find materials there to help them get the most out of our models: lesson plans, curriculum packets, lab exercises, graduate theses, videos, and more.  There are resources for everyone -- grade schoolers, laypeople and professors, on up to postgraduate researchers.  Go check them out!

If you have a curriculum item or lesson plan—or anything Emriver-related—you'd like to share, contact us, and we'll add it to the page.

Also, check out the Emriver Working Group on Google+.  Our friend Matt Kuchta created the group as a place for Emriver users to share tips, tricks and hacks for Emriver models.  We'd love to see more people join and contribute.  Go join and contribute!

If you're more the Facebook type, you can find us here. 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far by sharing curriculum materials with us or posting them to the web.  We can't wait to see more!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vermont ONRCD develops Emriver curriculum for G4-6.

We're happy to learn from Larry Kasden that curriculum for our Emriver Em2 has been written in Vermont.

The 46-page lesson packet, aimed at grades 4-6, is used in a “River Roadshow,” a program run by the
Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District (ONRCD) to bring to the community an appreciation of rivers and how they work. The Roadshow developed the lesson packet; Jennifer Guarino of Ecotone Education wrote it.

You can download the packet here.  The ONRCD encourages users to review the packet and offer suggestions for improvement and expansion.  The packet contains contact information.

We are thrilled to see our Emriver Em2 models used this way, and to see this well-done curriculum developed.

 From the packet:  "The lesson packet covers many aspects of river dynamics in a way that encourages observation, discussion, and experimentation. For example, students do simple activities with marbles to see the effects of meanders on speed and the relationship of speed and volume to force. They carry these activities to the stream table and easily note the relationship of river speed and volume to erosion and degradation. In short, rather than being told how streams work, they discover, on their own, the concept of Lane’s Balance, one of the primary principles of river dynamics. So while the topic of this lesson packet concerns rivers, the process is for students to learn to observe, question, form theories, test their theories, and formulate and apply their findings. 
ONRCD is grateful for the advice and assistance of Staci Pomeroy and Marie Lavesque Caduto of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and Chris E. Smith of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for serving as scientific advisors. We are also grateful to Kathy Renfrew, Vermont Agency of Education, Jenny Hewitt, a teacher at the Pomfret School, Audrey Halpert, a teacher at the Albert Bridge School, and Jill Kurash and Karen White of Woodstock School whose years of experience insured that this packet would be valuable to classroom teachers. And finally, we thank Jennifer who has the talent to bring it all together."

Emriver Em2 in use by the ONRCD, photo courtesy of ONRCD.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Our first model in Italy! / La nostra prima spedizione in Italia!

[Editor's note: Business Director Meriam Lahlou translated this post into Italian.]

We shipped our first Emriver model to Italy last week—an Em2 is on its way to the engineering department at the University of Trento, where it will be used to teach civil and environmental engineering by Dr. Guido Zolezzi.

The Little River team celebrates our first shipment to Italy.
Left to right: Steve Gough, LRRD owner; Meriam Lahlou, Business Director;  
Nathan Speagle, Prototyper & Shop Supervisor; JM Krahe, Assistant Prototyper; 
Anna Durrett, Research Assistant; Jim Nation, Assistant Prototyper
Il nostro team Little River celebra la nostra prima spedizione in Italia.
Da sinistra a destra: Steve Gough, proprietario LRRD; Meriam Lahlou, Direttore Commerciale;
Nathan Speagle, Prototyper e Supervisore di officina; JM Krahe, Assistente Prototyper;
Anna Durrett, Assistente di Ricerca, Jim Nation, Assistente Prototyper

We met Dr. Zolezzi, a professor at the University of Trento, when he spoke at SIUC about the effects of dams on European rivers.

LRRD Business Director Meriam Lahlou used her Italian skills to make this deal happen.  Grazie, Meriam!

We've put another pin on the map!  Click the Google map image to explore the interactive map of Emriver locations.

The University of Trento's Em2 is our 11th model in Europe!
Il Em2 a L'Università di Trento sarà il nostro 11° modello in Europa!

[Nota del redattore: LRRD Direttore Commerciale Meriam Lahlou ha tradotto questo post in Italiano]

La settimana sorsa, abbiamo spedito il nostro primo modello Emriver in Italia. Il modello Em2 è in rotta per la divizione ingegneria a l'Università di Trento, dove verrà utilizzato per insegnare ingegneria civile e ambientale.

Circa 17 mesi fa , abbiamo incontrato il Dott. Guido Zolezzi, professore a l'Università di Trento, a SIUC quando ha parlato degli effetti delle dighe sui fiumi europei.

LRRD Direttore Commerciale Meriam Lahlou era felice di usare la sua conoscenza della lingua italiana per favorire questo accordo. Grazie, Meriam!

Un alto puntino sulla mappa! Clicca l'immagine mappa di Google per esplorare la mappa interattiva dei luoghi Emriver .