Cover art for podcast River Talks

River Talks

55 EpisodesProduced by Cumberland River CompactWebsite

River Talks is an educational series presented by the Cumberland River Compact. River Talks features conversations with experts, artists, researchers, professionals, and characters from around the Cumberland River Basin and beyond. In each episode of River Talks we explore a new topic related to the… read more

55 Episodes | 2019 - 2023

Tennessee State University Wetland: An Urban Oasis in the Heart of Nashville (with Dr. Bill Sutton and Dr. Tom Byl TSU)

April 25th, 2023


Tucked in North Nashville on the campus of Tennessee State University sits one of the largest and most intact urban wetlands in Middle Tennessee. Referred to as the TSU wetland, this area drains a significant portion of …

Planting Trees with Neighborhood Planting Captains in Nashville, TN (with Meg Morgan, Tranyce Parmer, and Danylo Lazarenko)

March 20th, 2023


All across Nashville neighborhoods, new trees are popping up. As Spring approaches buds, flowers, and blossoms are visible on these new trees. Over 30,000 of these trees are thanks to partners of the Root Nashville …

Agrarian Commons and the Importance of Land Access for Regenerative Agriculture (with Kristina Villa, The Agrarian Trust)

February 16th, 2023


The implementation and growth of regenerative agriculture practices that heal the land and feed people rely on getting the land into the hands of …

Appalachia's Coal-Mining Legacy: Reforesting for the Future

December 9th, 2022


The Appalachian Mountains serve many roles: important habitat for incredible biodiversity, inspiration for artists, and a destination for tourists. …

Hill's Island: An Exploration of the Past (with Dr. Learotha Williams Jr. Tennessee State University)

November 28th, 2022


Join the Cumberland River Compact as we hear from Dr. Learotha Williams from Tennessee State University about the story of Hill’s Island.

Learn more about Hill's Island:

A Lifetime Dedication to Environmental Progress: A Conversation with Dodd Galbreath of Lipscomb University

October 24th, 2022


Learn more about Dodd Galbreath and the resources mentioned in the podcast on our blog:

Farmland Under Threat (feat. Brooks Lamb with American Farmland Trust)

August 23rd, 2022


Across the United States, 11 million acres of farmland have been lost from 2001 to 2016. In Tennessee, we lost around 650,000 acres with an additional 1 million acres of land projected to be converted by 2040. Much of …

Hot in Here: Nashville's Urban Heat Island, Impacts, and Mitigation Efforts

July 26th, 2022


The Summer of 2022 is already the second hottest summer in Nashville on record. And it's not over yet. Urban areas like Nashville experience a phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island Effect, which means temperatures …

Going on the Offense with Regenerative Agriculture (featuring Mitchell Hora and Jeremiah Durbin)

June 20th, 2022


Now more than ever, farmers are challenged with keeping valuable topsoil on fields, fostering soil that can retain water during periods of drought, and bringing back life to our soils so that they can provide for us …

The Water Industry's Impending Silver Tsunami (with TN Assoc. Utility Districts, Pellissippi State, Cumberland River Compact, and TN STEM Innovation Network)

May 6th, 2022


Clean and abundant water is provided to communities across the United States by skilled and trained environmental professionals. Yet the water workforce is facing an impending retirement crisis, with an expected 30 to …

Mack Prichard: Collected Stories from Tennessee's "Conservation Conscience"

March 23rd, 2022


The Cumberland River Compact is pleased to collaborate with Tennessee State Parks and the Mack Prichard Legacy Project to present this special …

The Cumberland River: Nashville's Most Important Asset (with David Ewing)

February 21st, 2022


"The river belongs to all of us. We are a river city. It is part of our identity even if we do not see it much". - David Ewing

The …

Gone But Not Forgotten: The History and Influence of Port Royal in the Red River Region (with State Park Ranger Bobby Cooley)

January 24th, 2022


Along the banks of the Red River in Adams, TN sits the remnants of an influential, yet sometimes forgotten town: Port Royal. The town heritage is now stewarded by Tennessee State Parks. At only 30-acres, Port Royal …

Underwater Rainforests of Life: Stories of Southeastern Biodiversity (with. Dr. Anna George, Tennessee Aquarium)

December 20th, 2021


The rivers and streams of the southeastern United States feature astounding biodiversity, warranting the nickname of "underwater rainforests" of …

Innovative Stream Restoration in Mansker Creek (with Adam Spiller and Zach Mryncza, KCI Technologies)

November 23rd, 2021


Across the Cumberland River basin, the Cumberland River Compact implements innovative stream restoration in vital ecosystems. The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2021–2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem …

Climate Change Risk and Resilience in Middle Tennessee (with Dr. Janey Camp)

October 26th, 2021


Climate change comes with ample risks to Middle Tennessee, but there is also the opportunity to build resilience in the face of these changes. We know climate change in Middle Tennessee brings more extreme heat and …

Discovering and Preserving our Most Imperiled Aquatic Biodiversity with Conservation Fisheries (ft. J.R. Shute and Pat Rakes)

September 28th, 2021


Childhoods spent exploring creeks, streams, and ponds inspired a lifelong dedication to protect aquatic biodiversity for JR Shute and Pat Rakes. Together they founded Conservation Fisheries a non-profit organization …

The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Tennessee and Beyond (ft. Matthew Gailani and Amanda McCrary Smith with the Tennessee State Museum)

August 23rd, 2021


From 1933 to 1942 thousands of men across Tennessee created some of our most treasured outdoor places like our Tennessee State Parks and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. These men were part of the Civilian …

Youth for Appalachian Climate Justice (featuring Rachael Hood)

July 27th, 2021


Climate change is one of the most pressing problems faced by today’s global community. Across the United States, we see constant reminders that climate change is here: record heat in the Pacific Northwest, wildlife …

Hill's Island: An Inspiring Nashville Island is Gifted to the Compact (featuring Kaaren May, Tara Armistead, Alice Hudson Pell, and Christie Henderson)

June 16th, 2021


As Nashville continues to grow, properties along the banks of the Cumberland River have become coveted parcels of land for developers. There are plans to dramatically change several areas of the riverfront in the coming …

Urban Streams: Challenges and Opportunities

May 4th, 2021


Criss-crossing our city are thousands of miles of urban streams that we see near our homes, on our way to work or school. These urban streams are …

Backyard Biodiversity (featuring Kim Bailey and Richard Hitt)

April 20th, 2021


The Cumberland River watershed is part of the third most biodiverse freshwater in the world. Thousands of species rely on the land and waters in our region. Yet across the world biodiversity is declining at …

Nature-Friendly Spring Gardening (featuring Bates Nursery, UT Extension, and Tennessee Invasive Plant Council)

April 6th, 2021


Spring has sprung and for many people, it's time to refresh their gardens. The green spaces near our homes, whether they are simply raised beds or …

Water as a Human Right: Ep 4. Time to Thrive

March 16th, 2021


Clean, accessible, and affordable water is a human right, but challenges across our water system impact how that right is realized. Aging infrastructure impacts the ability to provide water, contaminants of emerging …

Water as a Human Right: Ep. 3 Challenges to our Water

March 9th, 2021


Challenges to our water system are nothing new. In the early days of our cities, the distribution and access to drinking water was a challenge. Today, we still see issues from aging infrastructure to emerging …

Water as a Human Right: Ep 2. The Water System

March 2nd, 2021


Water is central to life as a Tennessean. From industry to recreation and tourism, we use water in many ways. And of course, we need water to drink, clean, and bathe. Yet we often don't think about what it takes for our …

Water as a Human Right: Ep 1. History of Water in Tennessee

February 23rd, 2021


From a young age, water brings a sense of wonder and joy. Even as our childhood wonder of water may fade, water continues to be ever-present in our lives. In 2010, the human right to water was officially recognized by …

Notes on Nature

January 12th, 2021


Nature has long been a muse of artists. And art inspired by nature is a powerful tool to communicate about the joy of nature exploration, the sorrow …

Life in Balance: Biodiversity in the Cumberland River Basin

December 29th, 2020


In the Cumberland River Basin, we are lucky to share a home with amazing biodiversity. From birds to bugs to flowers and fungi, our region is full of …

The Challenges, Vision, and Leadership that Launched EPA 50 Years Ago

December 15th, 2020


On December 2, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) celebrated its 50th anniversary. In this bonus episode River Talks we hear from Paul …

Telling the Story of Nature’s Unknowns (featuring Brooke Jarvis)

December 1st, 2020


Nature’s stories are plentiful. From the drama when predator meets prey, to the beauty of spring’s first flower, nature always has something to say. …

Regenerative Agriculture in the Fight Against Climate Change with Caney Fork Farms

November 17th, 2020


Do you know where your favorite food comes from? We all eat, yet people are often disconnected from where their food comes from and how it gets …

World Class Kayaking in Tennessee and Beyond (featuring Dane Jackson)

November 3rd, 2020


Kayaking looks a bit different with elite kayaker, Dane Jackson. Dane is a professional kayaker with a deep appreciation for exploring, enjoying, and protecting our waterways.  He has won the Freestyle World …

Reforestation of Appalachia’s Mine Lands (featuring Dr. Chris Barton)

October 21st, 2020


Across Appalachia, thousands of acres of formerly mined land sits barren or has been converted to gravelly grassland. These sites were once home to thriving forest ecosystems and some of our region’s most astounding …

Throwing Shade: Environmental Injustice and the Urban Tree Canopy (featuring Dr. Jeremy Hoffman)

October 7th, 2020


The cool shade of a tree is a welcome relief on a hot day. But in cities across the United States, tree cover is not equally distributed between …

Black Faces, White Spaces: Systemic Racism and the Environment (featuring Dr. Carolyn Finney)

September 23rd, 2020


In May 2020, George Floyd was murdered by police in Minnesota. Within the same week, Christian Cooper, a Black man, avid birder, and member of the …

Innovative Approaches to Litter Collection: An Interview with Vanderbilt University Engineering Students

May 28th, 2020


The Cumberland River experiences a high concentration of litter after rainfall events. This litter eventually degrades into microplastics which can negatively impact wildlife and human health. Most of this litter flows …

Archaeology All Around Us: An Interview with Pre-historic Archaeologist Aaron Deter-Wolf

May 21st, 2020


Archaeology is all around us in Middle Tennessee, whether we know it or not. Join us as the Tennessee Division of Archaeology's pre-historic …

Here Comes the Sun: A Solar Energy Conversation with Jason Carney

May 14th, 2020


Solar energy continues to grow in Nashville and beyond as a viable alternative to traditional sources of energy. Jason Carney with Energy Electives …

Nashville's Stories: An Interview with Dr. Carole Bucy

May 7th, 2020


Nashville wasn't always known as Music City. Did you know it was at one point referred to as Powder City? Join us as we talk with Davidson County …

10 Years Since the Flood: Nashville's Resilient Response

April 30th, 2020


In May 2010, Nashville experienced severe flooding across the city. As Nashville recovered, the city aimed for policies and practices to ensure we …

An Interview with Annie Goodhue: Retired Aquatic Biologist

April 23rd, 2020


Annie Goodhue is a retired Aquatic Biologist who now teaches the Creek Critters program with the Cumberland River Compact. In this interview, she …

Mississippian Hero Twins of the Cumberland River

February 26th, 2020


Kevin E. Smith, Professor of Anthropology at Middle Tennessee State University, will discuss some of the stunning human effigy ceramics created …

Going for Gold: Metro Water's Biosolids Program

February 26th, 2020


Learn how Nashville reclaims water and valuable nutrients from the wastewater treatment process and generates methane gas for energy use. This sustainable recycling process benefits the neighborhood, the environment, …

Greenways: A Path to Mobility, Health, and Economic Investment

February 26th, 2020


Greenways are more than just a scenic walking or biking trail. They provide alternative transportation, greater mobility, and a healthier lifestyle. In some cities, greenways have been the catalyst for economic …

Stories and Lessons from an Antarctic Adventure // John Guider

February 12th, 2020


Follow John's Talk with his photo presentation.

In December 2018, John Guider boarded the 100-year-old, 3 masted sailing vessel Bark Europa as part …

What's Up With Climate Change Denial?

October 28th, 2019



Follow along with the presentation slides referenced in this talk:

River North: A Look at Nashville's Bold Riverfront Development

October 21st, 2019



River North will reshape Nashville’s urban riverfront, ushering in a new era of connectivity …

Restoring Habitat for the Eastern Hellbender on Private Lands

October 7th, 2019



If you would like to follow along with the presenter's slides you can do so here!

The Importance of Water Quality and Microplastics in the Tennessee River and Beyond

September 30th, 2019



If you would like to follow along this talk with the speaker's lecture slides, check out this link!

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