The Nobody’s River Project looks at Russia’s Amur River as “a living reminder of what we have lost by damming more than 60 percent of the world’s rivers.” With this being said, the four founding women of the project—who just happen to all be avid whitewater kayakers—will look to raise awareness for what is still wild in the world, and will work to document what remains.
The project will be collecting data, capturing images, and gathering local stories to create an environmental and social Atlas of the Amur River and its vast ecosystem. The atlas created during this expedition will highlight the incredible environmental bounty, the environmental threats to the area and the stories of some of the communities that rely heavily on this river system.
In a time when the West looks at dammed rivers as strictly a source of water and power, and a dwindling source at that, the Nobody’s River Project will be going a different direction—essentially going back in time, exploring what the world’s great rivers used to be like. During the expedition they will wrestle with the fear that decades from now exploring such a river might not be possible.
The team is an assorted mix of women who have stopped asking questions and started searching for answers. Becca Dennis (river guide), Sabra Purdy (river ecologist), Amber Valenti (emergency medicine physician assistant) and Kystle Wright (adventure photographer) will work together to document and understand one of the last great free-flowing rivers on the globe.
The paddlers will travel 4000 kilometers throughout the journey, eventually making it to the Pacific Ocean. Some of the project’s main objectives are: scientific data collection, filming and photography and the development of a post-expedition film to raise awareness.
When asked about the group’s inspiration and the support they have already received, Amber Valenti said, “Ultimately this project is about savoring something fleeting and beautiful, and doing our part to love this great big planet we all live on together. If we bring home just a little of the magic we find, we will feel successful beyond our wildest dreams.”
“We are blown away by the support of National Geographic, Polartec, NRS and the rest of the sponsors and friends who have backed us from the very beginning. Because of them this project has become a reality and we’re incredibly grateful for that,” Valentino said.
The women of the Nobody’s River Project are seeking support from the paddling and environmental communities, as the goals and the costs of getting to and from Russia are not cheap…and bringing back this information and the stories of those whose lives are affected can be priceless.