For the second time in eight years, a Humboldt State alum has been honored with a prestigious national award for their commitment to protecting and managing North America’s rivers. Noah Triplett (‘04, Environmental Science & Management) is the 2019 River Manager of the Year recipient, an honor conferred by the River Management Society, a national nonprofit whose mission is supporting professionals who study, protect, and manage rivers. Triplett received the award last June during the 2019 River Film Festival in Coloma.
“This annual award is given to only one person in the entire country, so in any given year there are many hundreds, even a thousand or more, people eligible to win it,” explains HSU Environmental Science & Management department chair, Steven Martin. “For two HSU alumni from the same program to win this award in an eight-year span is an amazing feat that reflects well on the quality of education we provide in preparing students to manage and protect our public lands and waters.”
Until recently taking a position with the BLM, Triplett was the River Recreation Supervisor for El Dorado County Parks and Recreation, where he and his crew were responsible for patrolling and managing twenty-one miles of the South Fork of the American River. In addition to executing river rescues, first aid, and organizing annual clean-ups, Triplett and his team regularly tested river water quality, issued permits, and assisted emergency responders in patrolling the river.
A lifelong outdoors enthusiast, Triplett used his HSU training in environmental sciences to become a steward of the river. As told to “The river is a special place because it allows people to recreate and is both exciting and peaceful at the same time,” Triplett told The Mountain Democrat in Placerville. “You learn about yourself on the river and it’s a special experience that binds people when they go on a river trip together.
Jennifer Jones (‘99, Environmental Science & Management) took home the award in 2012, a recognition for her years of service in river conservation and public lands management.
“Receiving the award was an honor and made me feel as though I was succeeding in accomplishing an important job,” explains Jones, Division Chief for the Recreation and Visitor Services Program with the Bureau of Land Management in Moah, Utah. In her role, she oversees the entire Recreation Division for the Moab Field Office, which encompasses 1.8 million acres and hosted 3 million visitors in 2019.
During her time at HSU, Jones appreciated the close proximity to the Six Rivers watershed that allowed for diverse recreation opportunities. “I frequented the rivers in Humboldt and surfed the coastline regularly,” she remembers. In addition to working with the Youth Educational Services (YES) House and the Leadership Education Adventure Program (LEAP) at HSU, Jones also worked as a river guide for several North Coast rafting companies.
“I think that the proximity to rivers and coastline furthered my appreciation and understanding of nature and the endless values of outdoor recreational experiences,” says Jones.
Jones also credits the ESM department for fostering student success and for exposing her to land management techniques that she still uses in her career today.
“My passion for rivers and public lands continues to grow,” says Jones. “I will always be an advocate for river conservation and continue to pursue opportunities to increase the knowledge and understanding of the valuable public lands system that we are so privileged to have in our country.”
For more information about past winners and the River Management Society, visit https://www.river-management.org.