2018 Truckee River Source To Sea
Educational Paddling Adventure

2018 Student Ambassador Team

The 2018 Student Ambassador Team consisted of 10 new members and 4 mentor members from last year, representing middle schools from 4 different school districts throughout the Truckee River Watershed.  

, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For ChangeSue Norman, Team Leader: is a long time river enthusiast, starting at the tender age of 2.5 on family canoe trips in the Ozarks.  In addition to a lifetime of recreational pursuits on rivers, she was also a member of several US whitewater kayaking and rafting teams, competing on rivers all over the world. Her accomplishments include winning the National Whitewater Kayak Slalom Championships in 1982, and several world championships as a member of the US Women’s Whitewater Rafting Team.  In 2016, Sue retired from a 27-year career as a hydrologist with the US Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.  During her career, she and her staff completed numerous watershed, stream channel, and meadow restoration projects throughout the Tahoe Basin (including the Upper and Middle Truckee River) in collaboration with a wide variety of state and local partners.  She currently lives in Truckee, CA with her partner Lisa and her eight-year old son Seth.  

Student Ambassador Mentors (returning members from 2017 Team)

, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For Change

Laurel Mary Rose Anderson (Sierra Expeditionary Learning School) , Chloe Tippet (Creekside Academy), Quinn Goddard (Alder Creek Middle School), and Tobin Dubois (Archie Clayton Middle School) joined the team again as student ambassadors mentors.   All of last years ambassadors have done an incredible job of sharing their experience within their schools this past year, giving presentations to over  1,100 of their peers!   These returning ambassadors have also grown in leaps and bounds in their paddling abilities.


New 2018 Student Ambassadors

, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For Change


Erin Yamaoka (12)  (South Tahoe Middle School, South Lake Tahoe, California).

I have always loved the water. My family has a boat on Fallen Leaf Lake and I have been on it every summer for as long as I can remember. Some things that I enjoy are swimming and paddling around on a surfboard. Even though I don’t have much experience with rafting or kayaking, I am excited to learn new skills and raft/kayak down the Truckee River. I am also excited to learn about the Truckee River and its ecosystem because it will improve my knowledge of the river and allow me to educate others about the Truckee River.

, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For Change

 Cormac Linde (12)  (Alder Creek Middle School, Truckee, CA).

Cormac is a keen actor, traveller and honor roll student at Alder Creek Middle School. After spending the first few years of his life in England he moved to the Bay Area in 2008 and Truckee in 2017. While river kayaking is new he’s spent plenty of time on the water – with his grandparents sailing in the mediterranean and his parents and three brothers backpacking through Asia, India and Africa in 2016. 

, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For Change

Nolan Panardo  (11)  (North Tahoe Middle School, Tahoe City, CA)
Nolan is currently in the 6th grade, loves learning, and is very engaged with all aspects of it.  Since he was very young he has had a passion for Science.  He has learned a lot about Geology.  His best subject this year is Math, his favorite is Band.  Last year he did well enough to enter the GATE program.  Currently he is excited to learn about Chemistry and Alchemy.  Nolan loves all things water!!  He is good swimmer and has spent the last three summers learning to sail at Obexer’s Marina.  Learning to kayak will be his next greatest adventure!  He loves nature and is fascinated with reptiles, insects, land, and sea animals.  He has been camping a number of times and immediately heads for the rivers and streams to check out the life around it.  Having more opportunities to fish would make him very happy.  Nolan has been practicing Tang Soo Do style of Karate since he was seven and is currently a red belt, with two more tests he will advance to black belt.  After attending many of the TERC and SWEP programs over the years, he is looking forward to putting all of those teachings into a hands-on practice with this chance to kayak on the Truckee River.  Understanding fish migration, the affects of dams, conservation efforts, along with learning about the ecology of the Truckee, will be an experience that will make him an ambassador to rivers for life.
, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For Change

Will Rich (12) (South Tahoe Middle School, South Lake Tahoe, CA)

I am an honors student at South Tahoe Middle School, with straight As. I am very interested in participating in the Rivers for Change opportunity as a student ambassador from my school this spring. I would really like and enjoy going on this trip because I love being on the water. I grew up on Fallen Leaf Lake, and I fish every possible opportunity I have either from the shore, in a kayak, or on a boat. Knowing more about the fish and water in the Truckee River water shed would be amazing, and it would be interesting to learn about things I don’t know. I love being educated about the outdoors and really anything I possibly can be, so this would be an amazing opportunity and I would very much enjoy going on this excursion.

, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For Change

Quinn Phillips (11)  (South Tahoe Middle School, South Lake Tahoe, CA)

Quinn is currently president of his class and a straight A student.  He is an activist that supports environmental protection, under served youth, and equal rights for all humans.  He is a musician that plays the viola, ukelele, and guitar.  He is an aspiring actor and singer and performs whenever he has an opportunity.  His goal is to attend Cal State Monterey where he plans on studying marine biology.  (Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School, South Lake Tahoe, CA).

, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For Change

Kai Murnane (12) (South Tahoe Middle School, South Lake Tahoe, CA)
Kai enjoys being outside, playing with his friends, downhill skiing, mountain biking, hiking with his dogs, cross country skiing, dirt biking, snowmobiling and stand-up paddleboarding. He has enjoyed trying many different things such as backcountry skiing and fly fishing. He is a member of the North Tahoe Eco Action Club at North Tahoe School. Kai first experienced whitewater kayaking on the Weber River in Utah in 2015 and has loved the idea of being on the river ever since. He is really excited to be a part of the Rivers for Change program and to spend time on the river learning about the river and its ecosystem
, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For Change
Charlotte Wagner (11) (Alder Creek Middle School, Truckee, CA)
Charlotte and her family moved to Truckee in 2nd Grade (from Sacramento) to slow down the hectic pace of “city living” and spend more time exploring the beautiful outdoors.  Charlotte has had a curiosity for nature and her surroundings as long as her parents can remember.  She loves horseback riding, skiing, and traveling the world with her family.  She’s spent a lot of time exploring beaches and playing in the water all over the world.  She thinks the best part about the Rivers for Change program will be spending time on and learning more about the river that runs right through her hometown!
, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For Change

Oliver Dean (12) (Sierra Expeditionary Learning School, Truckee, CA).

I am interested in doing this trip because I feel like it will give me a better grasp of the Truckee river and how modern day equipment is affecting/going to affect it. In addition to that, I would like to learn about the aquatic life living in the river. Finally, I would like to know how many different watershed places there are and where they are.

, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For Change


Ellie Bormann (12) – Alder Creek Middle School, Truckee, CA

Ellie moved to Truckee two years ago from the corn fields of Iowa. She immediately fell in love with the mountains and all they have to offer. She enjoys new adventures and challenges. She is persistent, hardworking, and always looking for something new. She takes full advantage of summer camps exploring the mountains and lakes including hiking, swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Ellie is extremely excited about the adventures and learning opportunities that she will experience with the Rivers for Change program and is honored to have been selected.

, 2018 Student Ambassador Team, Rivers For Change

Ava Shepp (12) (Alder Creek Middle School, Truckee, CA)

Ava is a nature and animal lover who loves getting involved and has a taste for adventure.  She volunteers at the Truckee Humane Society socializing kittens and bunnies.  She loves a challenge and trying new things; she has joined Swim Team, Water Polo, Cross-Country Skiing and Running, and Soccer.  She is a straight A student and loves learning and reading.  When she’s not reading or playing sports, she can be found on an adventure with her family camping, surfing, paddle-boarding, hiking, catch-and-release fishing, and exploring!