Promoting a culture of stewardship on the South Yuba River

Cynthia Ruelas is a Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) member working with South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) as the education and Outreach Coordinator.

During her term, Cynthia has helped coordinate the River Ambassador Program, in partnership with the South Yuba River State Park, to educate and inspire visitors to join the effort to keep the Yuba River clean, healthy, and safe.

River Ambassadors motivate and educate the community to care for the South Yuba River. This dedicated team promotes an ethic of responsible, non-polluting use of the river by speaking one-on-one with visitors at crossings, beaches, and on trails. Using a friendly, non-confrontational approach, River Ambassadors educate folks about the polluting impacts of trash and dog waste, the dangers of broken glass, and the catastrophic potential of wildfire.

The River Ambassador program fulfills SYRCL’s mission by actively engaging community members and visitors in the effort to protect and restore the Yuba River watershed. By educating individuals on the harmful impacts of pollution and unsustainable practices, River Ambassadors promote a culture of environmental responsibility and stewardship.

Through their outreach efforts, they inspire others to take action and join the larger movement to preserve the health and safety of the Yuba River. The River Ambassador program aligns with the big-picture goals of SYRCL by fostering a sense of community and collective action toward protecting the Yuba River watershed.

The Sierra Nevada is an important natural resource that provides numerous benefits to both humans and the environment. Within the Sierra, the Yuba River Watershed is critical in providing water for agriculture, drinking, and industry throughout the region.

The diverse range of plant and animal species play important roles in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. The Sierra also contributes significant economic value through recreation and tourism. Protecting and preserving the health of the Sierra is essential to maintaining these benefits for future generations. Additionally, the Sierra is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, making it even more urgent to take action to protect and preserve its health.

The River Ambassador Program at the Historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge at South Yuba River State Park.

Funding for SNAP is supported by Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation’s Nature Fund and Martis Fund – a collaborative project of Martis Camp landowners, DMB/Highlands Group (the developers of Martis Camp), Mountain Area Preservation Foundation (MAP), and Sierra Watch. Sierra Nevada Alliance is a proud grantee of AmeriCorps and California Volunteers, Office of the Governor.

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