Kevin Anderson is using a river environment to re-direct the flow of popular opinion. As the Coordinator of Austin Water Utility’s Center for Environmental Research, he is charged with directing the many discovery projects that are held at the facility. The huge property sits alongside the Colorado River and considering the proximity to a large city, it houses a surprisingly rich and varied environment. Along with the animals, plenty of large birds-of-prey inhabit the property, making it a birder’s favorite. Curious plants like the toothache tree, used by Native Americans to reduce mouth pain, can be sampled here. (I can assure you it quickly and effectively numbs the mouth)
And even in a time when people grapple with crushing droughts, epic floods, wildfires and hurricanes, Anderson faces an even more powerful force: conventional thinking that often fails to recognize the ever-changing nature of Mother Nature. Where others see distress, he sees adaptation. He also finds the term “invasive” to be misapplied to types of growth and change that are simply out-of-favor. No doubt his views have been shaped by the never ending change he witnesses to the land and water. It should be noted that he also possesses an academic background in philosophy, combined with a New Yorker’s natural skepticism concerning groupthink. Regardless of the reasons, I recommend you take the endlessly fascinating and free tour he generously directs on the last Saturday each month. I can assure you of an enriching morning spent alongside a river man overflowing with ideas and opinions.