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RIVER LIFE

Who “we” are and what subjects this blog will address

November 18, 2009Patrick NunnallyProgram & AnnouncementsComments Off on Who “we” are and what subjects this blog will address

This blog is one of the primary products of River Life, a program of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE).  We hope that it initiates thoughtful conversation on the myriad problems faced by planners, scientists, designers, programmers–indeed, all of the professionals who dedicate their work to establishing a sustainable Mississippi River.

So who are “we”?  River Life’s programs are managed primarily by staff, students, and faculty at the University of Minnesota, in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.  The Twin Cities are the first major metropolitan area located along the Mississippi River in its 2,350 mile descent from Lake Itasca in the Minnesota north woods to the Gulf of Mexico.  The University is a large, research- and teaching-oriented comprehensive university, with nearly 50,000 students enrolled in over a dozen separate colleges.  The University is also home to dozens, if not hundreds, of specialized institutes, centers, and research groups.  Taken together, the University of Minnesota includes pretty much any academic or professional specialty that would be needed to understand a large river like the Mississippi, the watershed surrounding the river, and how to move the river, watershed, and the millions of people living in the region toward sustainability.

So the Mississippi is our “home” river and the stretch of the river in the Twin Cities is our “lab,” where we examine first-hand the processes that make up the intersection of river and city.  Here, where complex biological and physical systems encounter complex human systems, is one of the leading battlegrounds, if you will, in the global human effort to live well on the earth.

We are more likely to report on developments in our most immediate neighborhood, or along the Mississippi, simply because we know that work better.  But we are also making a concerted effort to “listen in” on river restoration conversations from around the world.  We believe that healthy urban rivers depend on healthy cities, and vice versa, so you’ll hear about efforts to establish urban sustainability here also.

Our goal is to promote the exchange of information, and to leave our readers knowing more about how they can do their work better.  We hope that our readers will also be contributors to the blog, and the associated web sites that we are developing, so we invite you to register, to comment, and to let us know what you’re doing that you think others might find informative.

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Contact Us!
Send us a note at rvrlife@umn.edu to make suggestions for other places we should look, media to track, and stories to tell!
River Life in Video
Come Along for a Water Walk with Kare11 and River Life, and see Gifts at Work: The Mississippi River by the University of Minnesota Foundation
Open Rivers: Rethinking the Mississippi
A joint project of River Life, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Open Rivers is an interdisciplinary online journal that recognizes the Mississippi River as a space for timely and critical conversations about people, community, water, and place.