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While You Were Gone Part 2: Mississippi River Forum

September 13, 2012Patrick NunnallyProgram & AnnouncementsComments Off on While You Were Gone Part 2: Mississippi River Forum

We all know where our water comes from, right?  Easy:  the tap, just turn it, and if we’ve paid our water bill, we get water.  And where does it go?  Easy again:  down the drain.

Well of course it’s not quite that simple.  And many of us know that our water, in the Twin Cities at least, comes from the Mississippi River and returns to the Mississippi River.  But it’s much less clear what happens to it on either the “downstream” journey or the “upstream” passage.  The whole complex subject of why our water infrastructure is so opaque, and what cqan or should be done to make it more visible is a subject for another day and another post.

On August 24, the monthly presentation at the Mississippi River Forum was on the project “Downstream/Upstream: A Journey through the Urban Water Cycle,” developed by Jonee Kulman Brigham.  Brigham is a researcher at the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota; this project is part of her Masters program.

The project focuses on the preschool that Brigham’s children attend, and addresses how young children (4-6 years old) can be taught basic concepts of where the water in their washroom comes from and goes when it disappears down the drain.  The journey takes them to water treatment plants, local water towers, and, of course, to the Mississippi River.

There are many many dimensions to this rich project, and if you are at all interested in the problem of how to engage the public in knowledge of the Mississippi River and its role in urban water issues, this is a wonderful place to start.

The Mississippi River Forum is a monthly series of programs focusing on issues around water quality on the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities.  The Forum is a program of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, sponsored by the Mississippi River Fund and the McKnight Foundation.  To be added to the mailing list and receive notices of future programs, contact NPS Water Quality planner Lark Weller at


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