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Peace Corps Morocco 1969, 1970 and 1971 50th Anniversary reunion
September 17-18, 2021
Hyatt Place Washington DC/US Capitol
33 New York Avenue NE, Washington, D.C., 20002-3325 United States
+1 202 289 5599

Compilations of memories and life histories by attending and distant volunteers

Jim and Barb (Smith) Eychaner

We looked through the 2010 profiles for Estes Park and decided those told our story pretty well. Yes, go ahead and re-use them. For the latest decade, perhaps add this paragraph

Since the 2010 reunion in Estes Park, the patterns of life for Jim and Barb continued, with some changes in emphasis and lots of travel. Jim retired from USGS in 2011, while Barb continues to produce beautiful and useful handwoven fabrics. In 2011, Jim joined Tim Resch and John Potyondy on a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota. In 2012, with our daughter Anne (RPCV Slovakia 1998-2001), we toured Morocco with Tim, John, and others, then extended to Germany where our son Jay was studying beer brewing. He is now firmly settled in Chicago and brewing for Goose Island. Jim contributes occasional edits to Wikipedia, the 100-year flood article in particular. In 2015 we toured Britain with a church group, and in 2016 took a small ship cruise in southern Alaska with Tim and Trish. This weekend in Washington is part of our latest major road trip, three weeks coast to coast. We enjoy marinating in the changing landscapes and environmental wealth of our nation, and we can visit many friends along the way instead of just flying over them. We are trying to ride all the ferries in the country. As we head west this time we will cross Lake Michigan on SS Badger from Ludington MI to Manitowoc WI. We see ourselves slowing down a bit, so if this is to be our last extreme road trip, it will be spectacular.

Jim Eychaner 2010

In the summer of 1970, I had a fresh bachelor's degree in forestry from the University of Minnesota. In Morocco, I was assigned to the 1-year-old Ecole Nationale Forestiere d'Ingenieurs in Sale. After Peace Corps in 1972, I took the train from Sale to Tanger, the ferry to Algeciras, and an old Jugolinea freighter that reached New York 2 weeks later. I found a phone booth in Grand Central Station and called Barb Smith at work in Denver. She agreed to move to Minnesota. I took a wide loop through Virginia and Kentucky by train, bus, and thumb to get home to Ilinois, bought a used vehicle and headed for graduate school in Minnesota. In 1974, several adventures later, we married and I had a master's in forest hydrology. The US Geological Survey offered me a job, one of many fortunate surprises in my life. I've worked on USGS water resources investigations ever since, which are consistently interesting, challenging, and useful.

During our two years in Salt Lake City, I published a simulation model of a proposed system of artificial groundwater recharge that still supports the town of Moab UT. Moving to Tucson, I bicycled to work for seven years before being seduced by a motorcycle. I helped map regulatory boundaries for flood insurance. I published ways to estimate flood risk on ungaged streams and two groundwater simulation models that quantified Tribal water rights. For seven years, I investigated acid mine drainage from a copper mine and helped EPA identify remedial actions before the contaminants could reach Phoenix. That problem is contained and healing. I presented some of the results at a conference in Morocco. In 1991 we moved to Honolulu, where I supervised the investigations team. In 1993 we went on to Charleston WV, where I led a river-basin assessment as part of a national program to understand environmental water quality. I travelled to Dakar, Senegal, to help review studies of groundwater contamination affecting the city's water supply. Since 2001 in Sacramento, I provide quality-assurance oversight of USGS studies of environmental water quality in the nine western states, the most hydrologically diverse region of the country. The work mixes brief technical tasks with building long-term technical strength in USGS.

Water is central to human culture, ecology, and economics. It flows downhill everywhere, and the details are important. Water moves though some systems in hours but others in centuries. Human actions over the past 150 years have modified our environment for local and near-time benefits, but we have irreversibly changed flow systems, nutrients, and the atmosphere. We desperately need some intelligent design as we re-engineer this planet. To get good answers, we need to ask good questions, and I have learned to ask good questions.

I enjoy Barb's weaving and the make-and-mend of improving our lives through our own crafts. In the past decade I joined two canoe trips in northern Minnesota with John Potyondy and Tim Resch and a hike across the Grand Canyon with my daughter. I found the spirit of God in Methodist churches throughout the country and have sung in the choir for a few years.

Barbara Smith Eychaner

Jim and I were married in 1974, the same year he finished a masters degree and accepted a job with the US Geological Survey in Salt Lake City. Our daughter Anne was born in Salt Lake in 1976, the same year we moved to Tucson, Arizona. Jay, our son, was born there in 1978. While I was mostly a stay-at-home mom, I spent a lot of time weaving - teaching, selling, and writing about weaving. The Weavers Guild took a lot of time and energy as well; I served as Guild president, workshop chair for a regional weavers conference, and president of a state-wide weavers group.

Our next move was to Honolulu in 1991. While we were there I taught weaving at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

In 1993 we moved to Charleston, West Virginia. Still weaving, I started a weavers guild there. Also got in involved with a local umbrella social-service non-profit where I served on the board and then worked as the volunteer coordinator for the AIDS program.

Both kids graduated from high school in West Virginia - Anne went to the University of Arizona and has a BS in biology; Jay received his BS in computer science from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign where he now works as a digital media specialist. Anne followed the family tradition, joined Peace Corps, spending three years in the Slovak Republic. She lives close by and is the Director of Outreach for the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California.

We moved (again!) in 2001 to Carmichael, California, a suburb of Sacramento. Having recently finished a masters degree in public history, I now volunteer at the Center for Sacramento History working with textiles in the collections, assisting the senior archivist with the graduate archives seminar (taught thru California State University, Sacramento), and occasionally processing a collection.

No more moving as we expect to retire here!

Contact info:
Jim and Barb Eychaner
2634 Knabe Court Carmichael, California  95608


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