River des Peres Watershed Coalition

Greening 36 Neighborhoods to Improve, Protect, and Maintain the River!



Theodore M. Smith

Theodore Smith became president of the River des Peres Watershed Coalition in 2016. Theodore is a lifelong St. Louisian with a love for parks, plants, rivers, habitat restoration, cycling and community improvement. Theodore graduated from Saint Louis University with a B.A in Urban Affairs. Theodore joined the RdPWC in 2010 serving as an AmeriCorps member engaging in various projects including rain barrel building, invasive plant species removal, stream cleanups and educational outreach.


Zoe Geist

Zoe Geist has been an adjunct faculty instructor teaching general education biology courses in the St. Louis area for 19 years. She has a Master’s in Biology from University of Central Missouri and is a Level 3 trained Water Quality Monitor volunteer with Missouri Stream Team. Zoe has been an active participant in River des Peres Watershed Coalition’s water quality monitoring projects such as the Bike with Your Boots On events on River des Peres Greenway and Gravois Creek Greenway and the annual Trash Bash for several years. She has also been serving on the RdPWC Board of Directors since 2017. Zoe is a bird-watching enthusiast and loves to keep companion dogs. Zoe and her husband like to hike, kayak and volunteer for stream cleanups together.


Besa Schweitzer

Besa joined operation clean stream in 1994 to pick up trash on the Huzzah river and has returned every year since. When she started doing trash pickups the canoes would return fully loaded with tires and appliances from dumping in the river, now the trash is mostly sunglasses and flip flops from paddlers capsizing. Trash pickups are not as challenging as they used to be but it is good to see the river being cared for. She now monitors Gravois Creek near her home and achieved level three Water Quality Monitor certification in 2016. She volunteers as a Missouri Master Naturalists since 2009 and treasurer of the River des Peres Watershed Coalition since 2016 and Stream Teams United since 2017. In summer Besa and her partner enjoy lazy multiday floats on the Eleven Point River and time at their favorite campsite on the Black River. Besa has a BA from Knox College in Environmental Studies and specializes in Missouri Native Plants.


Eric Karch

Eric is an engineer specializing in water resources. He began volunteering with the Coalition in 2009 to apply his professional background to a civic-minded cause and to meet fun like-minded people. He believes small and consistent steps forward can help Saint Louis improve the River des Peres, and are worth taking. Rain gardens are a particular interest for their 1-2 punch of having a real impact on water quality, and adding native habitats to urbanized spaces.