Freshmen paddle down Beargrass Creek
Freshmen paddle down Beargrass Creek

“I learned that Louisville has a lot of dirty water.”

That’s what UofL freshman Cossondra Green observed from a canoe trip down the Ohio River and Beargrass Creek.

Green was one of a handful of UofL newcomers interested in environmental and sustainability issues who took part in a recent paddling tour.

“What we’re introducing them to is the fact that we’re on the third largest river in the United States and so we’re going to acquaint them with the river and what goes on at the river and a little bit about the water quality of the river,” said Russ Barnett, instructor for the environment and sustainable development.

As part of the tour, UofL students had the opportunity to learn about all the problems and environmental changes that have affected the Ohio River and Beargrass Creek due to pollution.

“The older generations kind of looks at the whole climate thing and saving the plant and the dirt and the trash in the waterways as a political thing for some reason,” said Madelynn Bland, one of the freshmen on the trip. “I think the younger generation looks at it as a necessity.”

Barnett says he’s seen an increase in students interested in the environment which prompted UofL to offer a sustainability degree.

“We’re hoping that they, as well as other students at the University of Louisville, will be interested in Louisville’s environmental conditions and study them and understand them and propose solutions to some of the problems we have,” he said.

Check out more from the tour here: 


Alicia Kelso
Alicia Kelso is the director of social media and digital content. She joined UofL in 2015 as director of communications at the Brandeis School of Law. She also serves as a senior contributor at, writing about the restaurant industry, which she has covered since 2010. Her work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine.