IRIS launches new series

WENATCHEE — The Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship (IRIS) will highlight success stories that connect and strengthen the communities of Orondo, Waterville and Douglas this November when the nonprofit organization launches a new series, Talk About a Place!

IRIS is working with local teams to record interviews with residents of Orondo, Waterville and Douglas to learn about the historical connections between these communities and how they have adapted to change over time. Once recorded, the interviews will be transcribed by volunteers and shared with a team of project scholars who will review the transcripts and note themes and elements of success to highlight at public presentations this fall.

Two free public presentations and discussions of these stories will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Waterville Federated Church and on Nov. 20 at the Grove Recital Hall on the Wenatchee Valley College campus. Interview excerpts will also be shared on IRIS’s Listening Post Network, a digital storytelling program that functions like a community scrapbook of success.

Among those participating in this year’s Talk About a Place! program include educator and Pateros School Superintendent Lois Davies, visual artist and teacher Martha Flores, Wenatchee Valley College sociology instructor Richard Brinkman and historians Darold Wax, Oregon State University professor emeritus, and Carli Schiffner, vice president of instruction at Wenatchee Valley College.

Talk About a Place complements two existing IRIS programs — Gathering Our Voice and the NCW Community Success Summit. The series will move to a different community of North Central Washington each year, along with the annual IRIS Community Success Summit, until 2020 when a larger regional Success Summit is planned for Wenatchee.

Partners and sponsors for this year’s Talk About a Place! program include Humanities Washington, the Town of Waterville, Port of Douglas County, Douglas County Museum and Wenatchee Valley College.

For further information or to volunteer, contact Nancy Warner, IRIS Coordinator, at 881-1812 or For information about IRIS’s Listening Post Network, visit