Project Team

corey owens on the river

My name is Corey R. Owens. I am 15 years old and live in Massachusetts. Starting at the beginning of the next school year I will be a sophomore in high school. I am visiting Pittsburgh for 2 weeks, and staying with my Uncle, Tim Collins. He has invited me to work for him as a research assistant in the 3 Rivers 2nd Nature project. Its main studio is in the Studio for Creative Inquiry in the building of College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University.Artists, geologists, botanists, photographers, architects, graphic designers, web developers, historians, engineers, teachers, and research assistants are all wrapped up into 4 groups as part of 1 project team. The groups are a Core Team, a Student Team, Institutional Partners - Oversight Committee, and Project Supporters.

I started my days at work on a boat. I was traveling with Reiko Goto, the education director, Jessica Dunn, a botanist assistant, Henry Prellwitz and Roman Kyshakevuc, both geologists. I was told that the rivers are sectioned off in pools. Pool 1 being closest to the center of town, and pool 3 the furthest away. To help keep track of where thing are on the rivers they use a GPS (Global Positioning System) and mark off every 10th of a mile, right or left bank, and what river they are on. For example: ML151 which means they are on the left bank of the Monongahela river, 15.1 miles from the beginning of the river in pool 1.

During and after a heavy rainstorm, water runs down from the streets, into the rivers either by pipes or by streams. CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow) pipes are also connected to the river. When there is too much rain, water spills over into the sewage pipes and drains out into the river. This creates a bad problem in the water. The water level rises and lots of waste is added to the water. Many pipes are placed all around the river to drain runoff into the river. Water leaves the rivers by evaporation or through water intake pipes where it is turned into fresh water for industrial use. One industry that uses this is Clairton Works. It rests right next to the Monongahela River. It is a large cooperation that uses large amounts of coal. River towing companies transport materials (like coal) for large factories. Conveyer belts unload the materials from the barges to the factories. They are very loud but work fast. Because of old steel mills and other factories, Not much vegetation can grow on some spots of the river because they are built right up to the water. So plants start to grow anywhere they can. Including docks, pipes, and old unused barges. But some plants, not natural to the area, have started to take over and crowd the other plants.

The river is not only for industry and drain water; but it is a very beautiful place. My experience on the river was more of the nature side of the river, rather than the industrial side. From the water you can see hills of trees, and many different habitats. Many wild animals roam around there. Hawks, ducks, herons, other birds, raccoons, dear, otters, groundhogs, etc. I would often be asked to drive the boat at some times. As I drove it close to boat locks and dams, the water got really rough and hard to keep the boat steady, but I worked it out and stayed as long as we needed to do to get the things done. I also worked up a nice tan on the boat.

The other days, that I am not on the boat, I am in the Studio scanning, downloading, typing, and learning new programs to do it all in. In doing this I worked on a large variety of computers. Old and new Macs and PCs. Preferably I like Macs. The pictures or drawings that I would be scanning would be from the rivers or workshops that my aunt works on. I was told to take pictures and scan them onto the computer and then have the web developer, Noel Hefele, help me learn new programs to make it as easy as possible. At one point I was asked to scan about 80 separate images in a day! By this time I was really fed up with the scanner and wanted to throw it out the window. I enjoyed doing both the boat work and the studio work. I enjoy graphic design but I need a little adventure in my life. The project was really interesting and fun to work on. I wish that I had a little more time here to learn and help out more

Corey R. Owens

Sophmore in High School
3 Rivers 2nd Nature Project Assistant/Nephew