Eduadorian Rivers Institute in Tena, Ecuador

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When the weather gets cold, it’s nice to think of Ecuador.  Six months ago I had the privilege of working for the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute (ERI), a US non-profit based in Tena, Ecuador.  The ERI works to protect whitewater resources, economic sustainability, and biodiversity in Ecuador by educating and advocating about river stewardship. I was absolutely blown away by the stunning beauty of the rainforest, and each trip down a river would yield amazing scenery and wildlife.  Paddling the best preserved rivers in Ecuador is adventuring through a treasure of jungle and whitewater. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The ERI is sorely needed to shield these ‘less-touched’ rivers and watersheds from the ravages of resource hungry locals, as well as to conserve areas which have already been badly affected.  Logging and mining, both legally and illegally, are major economic activities, and Ecuador is consuming its resources. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Over two months, I had the chance to see the incredible pace of development, and I’m glad I had the chance to see it when I did.  Justin Padgett put me in touch with Matt Terry, the President of the ERI, a few years after I completed my ACA instructor certification with Justin in North Carolina.  The teaching, listening and patience skills we worked on over the course of a few weekends have been valuable in many applications, and I was able to put some refined strokes (and rolls) to the test in Ecuador too.   Reed Gilbert