riparian rap

Pulled from the mud by love, by my Kate.

Me with swamped canoe, being saved and photographed by Kate.
Kate on the Cache Wetlands,  helping with fieldwork.

Last Sunday my wife, Kate, helped me with fieldwork on the Cache River Wetlands in southern Illinois.

I swamped my canoe in two feet of water over knee-deep muck.  We were a quarter mile from solid ground, and each step in that mud was terrible.

Kate pulled me out of that mud and back into my canoe.

Safe and dry at home, here’s this:  We’re shipping river models worldwide now.  Kate made this happen, too.

In 2006, as we talked about expanding my river model work, she said “you have to give this to the world.  Nobody else will do it.”

I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to hire people and build things that I’d have to sell.  I knew this would be a hard road.

Kate in her garden.

But Kate prevailed, and in 2007 we bought a building and hired staff.  That fall the US economy tanked and universities cut budgets to the bone. Good ideas, bad timing.

Very deep mud, hard road.

Kate worked extra hours to sustain LRRD.  We invested our savings.  Through her work in medicine and community service she found wonderful people to work at Little River.

Things got better, and Kate was right, the world wanted our river models.

The people she found were the best.

Now we’re on fire; with more than 115 Carbondale-built  geomodels in North America, Europe, and Australia, LRRD has touched thousands of scientists, educators, laypeople, students, and decision-makers.

We’re making big changes in science education worldwide.  We can barely meet demand for our models.  I work with LRRD colleagues I trust and admire.

I owe all this to Kate. She appreciated my ideas and worked to support them when times were hard.

And she was there to pull me out of the Cache River mud.  No man has a better wife than you, Kate.