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Friday Favorites Blogroll: America’s Waterway

February 28, 2014Patrick NunnallyRiversComments Off on Friday Favorites Blogroll: America’s Waterway

As we all know by now, the Mississippi River is a big place, full of an almost-unimaginable range of interesting places, people, and issues.  Every so often someone comes up with the (not new!) idea that “If we could just get everyone interested in the Mississippi together, we could ____” fill in the blank with any number of transformative ideas.

Well, yes and no.  I’ve been at the Mississippi River planning and programming and project development business for nearly 20 years and have made several full-length trips in service to two or three efforts to coordinate around one project, or a particular theme, or constituency.  That more limited form of engagement is very difficult; the idea of getting “everyone” just doesn’t seem feasible to me, even with new digital technologies.

Still, people are going to try, and one of the most persistent is Anne Lewis, founder of America’s Waterway.  Lewis uses the full range of ordinary digital media in her quest, but also is connected up with an outfit called America Speaks, trying to put together a “National Dialogue” on the Mississippi River.

Whether or not I personally think such a dialogue is really possible, the work of America’s Waterway is a prime example of how interesting things happen while we’re trying to do something else.  Tweeting as @unifymissriver, Lewis continually turns up interesting and informative items across the range of subjects pertaining to the Mississippi River.  Some examples, from the past week alone:

National Weather Service hydrologists predict a low likelihood of spring flooding on the Mississippi, despite recent heavy snows.  Snow drifts higher than cars in my neighborhood in St. Paul call the science into question!

How was St. Louis founded, nearly 250 years ago?  Madame Marie Therese Choteau, wife of a prominent fur trader, was instrumental, as this historically-themed article makes clear.

Farther down river, Baton Rouge, LA makes significant progress in creating a new riverfront mixed-use development.  Check this article in The Advocate for more details.

Hard as it may be to believe, the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge will sponsor a geocaching event on March 22.  No word on whether they provide snow shovels or you have to bring your own.  More details, should you find yourself in the vicinity of Thomson, IL, can be found here.

These stories really demonstrate one of the great values of our wired world: dedicated people with a wide range of interests and the time/passion to share interesting items, work to inform all of us.

And speaking of inform, if you’ve read this far, you’re obviously interested in the Mississippi River! River Life is hosting two workshops today, Friday 2/28, in Coffman Union on the Minneapolis campus to develop ideas for research, teaching, and programs on the Mississippi River corridor.  Do come join us if you’re in the neighborhood and have some time.  Further information is here.

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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.