Turlock High School Geoscience and AP Environmental Science Teacher Ryan Hollister, along with his wife Laura Hollister, a science teacher at Pitman High School, and their 18-month-old child Zephyr Hollister were included in a CNN interactive journalism piece chronicling the tribulations of the San Joaquin River titled, “My 417-mile trip down ‘Apocalypse River’” by John D. Sutter.
Sutter spent three weeks hiking, kayaking through 400-plus miles of the river that was once the second largest in the state, but now runs dry for a 40 miles stretch just southeast of Merced County. American Rivers rated the San Joaquin as the most endangered river in the U.S.
The Hollister family were mentioned in the story when they met Sutter at the confluence of the Merced and San Joaquin River on Hills Ferry Road near Hatfield State Park.
“Many Turlock locals don’t realize that 100 years ago nearly 250,000 salmon migrated up the river annually AND it was possible to take a paddle wheel boat from Fresno to San Francisco,” said Ryan Hollister. “The San Joaquin is a part of us and a part of our history. I hope you can find some time to read John’s remarkable journalism.”
During mile 251 of his 400-mile journey, Sutter met up with the Hollisters. This section of his article is “The River as a Mirror.”
Sutter details meeting up with them by the river and their conversation about the river’s role as a teacher. Sutter wrote about California’s failure to reduce water consumption by 20 percent and how it actually increased statewide consumption by 1 percent, forcing authorities to start issuing $500 fines. He wrote that he promised Ryan and Laura Hollister that he would create his own water budget and figure out where the water come from in his hometown of Atlanta.
Ryan and Laura passion for the river and learning from it clearly motivated Sutter along his trip.
“Their dedication kept me going,” Sutter wrote in his article.
Click here to read Sutter’s article.