Middletown, CT, Friday, March 22, 2013.Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRC) river steward Jacqueline Talbot recently participated in an educational and cultural exchange program entitled “Empowering Women though Social Entrepreneurship,” at the invitation of the University of Connecticut’s Global Training & Development Institute in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Professional Fellows Program. The Professional Fellows Program supports international cooperation and builds networks of people and organizations working on critical issues worldwide. March 22nd was designated World Water Day by the United Nations in 1993 as a day to highlight water issues around the world.

Last fall, Jacqueline was joined in Connecticut by Diana Smith Parks who works for Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados on potable water access with indigenous and rural communities in Limon Province, Costa Rica. Diana worked with Jacqueline on a CRC advocacy campaign to highlight sewage overflows into the Connecticut and Park Rivers and Wethersfield Cove. Jacqueline recently returned from two weeks in Costa Rica spent with Diana visiting indigenous and rural communities with limited water access and participating in women’s leadership development.

“It was moving,” said Jacqueline of her time in Costa Rica. “We visited areas with sewage contaminating rivers and new, poorly-planned development putting pressure on natural resources—challenges we also face in the Connecticut River Watershed. We are fortunate in New England to be blessed with an abundance of extraordinary and beautiful rivers, but we need to know what a gift it is to have clean water available to us with the turn of a faucet.” Diana Smith Parks will continue to focus on linking two communities separated by a river so that 20 more homes can have potable water access and on connecting Limon youth with their Afro-Caribbean roots. “When we work on water issues and lifting up women, we work on peace issues,” says Jacqueline. “Few things are so important.”

Jacqueline will join other local water leaders at “Passionate Waters,” a local World Water Day celebration held Friday at MAC650 Gallery, 650 Main Street, Middletown, CT. The event begins at 6:30pm and you are encouraged to visit Jacqueline to learn more about her work locally and in Costa Rica. “Passionate Waters” is an exhibit of visual and performance art that has been inspired by water.

To learn more about the Connecticut River Watershed Council, visit ctriver.org. For details about “Passionate Waters” visit http://www.mac650.com/passionatewaters.html.

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Andrew Fisk, Executive Director, afisk@ctriver.org, 413-772-2020 ext.208, 413-210-9207 (cell)

Jacqueline Talbot, Connecticut River Steward, jtalbot@ctriver.org, 860-704-0057