“Get outdoors! Enjoy it. Be outside. Whatever that means to you. When you enjoy it, you appreciate it in a different way, and you begin to understand that it’s not something separate from you.”
Kim Lutz has devoted herself to improving the health of the Connecticut River, a ribbon of water and life that sprawls across four New England states. Though the river provides drinking water for many people and offers beautiful places for canoeing, hiking and other adventures in nature, the river is in serious trouble.
It has the unfortunate distinction of being the most dammed in North America. Dams don’t just block fish migration – they break down natural flow patterns that serve as a river’s heartbeat. This heartbeat triggers plant and animal lifecycles, and drives natural water-cleaning processes.
To counter this damage, Kim works with large dam operators to revive healthy flows; helps remove small, non-operating dams in order to reconnect rivers and streams; and works to restore floodplain forests that act as sponges along the river, storing water and providing critical wildlife habitat.
Kim has a long history with The Nature Conservancy, where she first began working on land conservation in Texas in 1989. After a brief time away, she re-joined the Conservancy in Georgia in 1991. It was there that she “got bitten by the river bug” and was instrumental in establishing the Conservancy’s Savannah River project, which she then worked on for three years before joining the Connecticut River Program.
When Kim isn’t working to keep rivers clean and healthy, she is almost certainly spending time connecting with her two teenage kids. In fact, much to her son’s surprise, she’s even gotten hooked on rap music.