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River Rangers Like Science!

February 17, 2014Reba JuettenEventsComments Off on River Rangers Like Science!

Recently, River Rangers has been doing our best at staying warm and having some fun with river-related science.

On Friday, February 7, we went on an excursion to the wonderful Science Museum of Minnesota!  While we were there, we also visited the Mississippi River visitor for the MNRRA park we love so dearly. We spent most of our time exploring the floor graphic of the park, just like we do during the Environmental Fair during welcome week. One new revelation was the ease in which golf courses are located on the map. The fact that Minnesota is the state with the most golfers and golf courses per capita was readily apparent. It left me wondering, what impact are all of these fertilized green spaces having on the Mississippi River?

photo (5)If you haven’t been following us on Twitter (which you should definitely do @RiverRangersUMN), I’d like to introduce you to Rzeka, our new mascot. She is a river-loving snail whose name means river in Polish. 

Rzeka tagged along on our adventure and hung out with some native Minnesota mollusks inside the visitor center. Exotic zebra mussels were nowhere to be found—lucky for those of us who had never seen any before, there was a sample in the Mississippi River gallery, once we entered the Museum collections.

Inside the museum we explored the environmental impacts of farming, electric cars, scientific fallacies, and mummies among other things. A group of us stayed all the way until the museum closed at 9pm, and we could have stayed a lot longer.

On Tuesday last week, the science continued, when I participated in River Life’s monthly “River Walk.”  Inside the Campus Club in Coffman, we discussed winter on the river with a scientist from the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. Highlights included the view of the river and a raptor siting, gaining some information about the impact of road salt on the river, and discussions on fish kills and carp.

Up next for River Rangers is a bit less science (though there is always some science…) and a bit more fun.  At our next meeting (Wednesday, February 26, 6pm STSS 121), some of the participants from Paddle Forward ( are coming to talk about their trip.  We’re also hoping to get out and so some cross-country skiing before all of the snow melts! We’d love for you to join us for one or both!

Reba Juetten

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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.