St. Louis River Quest celebrates 25th anniversary, with spotlight on the estuary and lifelong learning

DULUTH, MN (May 9, 2017)—Hundreds of area sixth-graders converging on the Duluth waterfront May 15-18 to participate in St. Louis River Quest won’t even realize that this is the program’s silver anniversary. And, that’s as it should be. They instead will be laser-focused on seeking answers to questions about the Duluth-Superior Harbor—to learn all they can about the St. Louis River Estuary—as they move through a dozen Learning Stations on land and on water.

The 25th annual St. Louis River Quest is expected to draw a record 1,530 students to the waterfront this year. During each morning and afternoon session, small groups of students participate in a series of unique hands-on learning stations—six aboard the Vista Star and six inside Pioneer Hall at the DECC. They will be introduced to topics ranging from pollution prevention, stopping aquatic invaders, fishy physics and piping plover habitat to industrial water reuse, sustainable forestry, waste water treatment, oil spill response, hydroelectric power and commercial shipping. Sessions on hypothermia, rip currents and wearing lifejackets/boating safety round out each session. Students carry River Quest passports to document their adventures. Afterward, they are encouraged to submit essays or poems about their experiences for the program’s annual writing contest.

St. Louis River Quest is a community-based, volunteer organization founded in 1993 to provide area sixth-grade students with hands-on learning experiences that enhance their awareness and understanding about the St. Louis River ecosystem and the interrelated commercial, industrial, and recreational activities in the Duluth-Superior Harbor, part of the Louis River Estuary. From its launch, this outreach education program has continued to grow and evolve. Station sponsors now work directly with educators to align resource materials with Wisconsin and Minnesota science and social studies standards to make the experience an even more effective teaching tool. Over 23,000 students have participated in River Quest since its inception, including this year’s participants.

“Visionary leaders launched this program a quarter century ago to help young people become more civically engaged, more environmentally conscious,” said Adele Yorde, River Quest board president and public relations director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, the program’s lead sponsor. “We continue to build on that momentum by helping students understand the impact we each have on the environmental health and the economic vitality of this estuary … and that thoughtful partnerships between industry, government and the public can result in safe, productive use of our natural resources.”

River Quest relies on the support of nearly 300 local businesses, nonprofits and individuals who donate their time, talents and resources each year to engage and educate area youth. For details about River Quest, to view teacher resource materials and/or read writing samples: www.seagrant.umn.edu/riverquest.

2017 River Quest Learning Stations & Sponsors on the Vista Star
Cold Hand Luke (Hypothermia & Water Safety) US Army Corps of Engineers
Pollution & the River Watershed US Environmental Protection Agency
Fishy Physics Great Lakes Aquarium (M/T)
Bringing back the Piping Plover St. Louis River Alliance (W/Th)
It floats, you don’t. Wear your life jacket! Duluth Sail & Power Squadron
Get Habitattitude! Minnesota Sea Grant Program
Observation Station St. Louis River Quest
2017 River Quest Learning Stations & Sponsors in Pioneer Hall (DECC)
Bacteria: The Real Workers at WLSSD Western Lake Superior Sanitary District
What’s the difference between Storm & Sanitary Sewers? City of Duluth – Utility Operations (M/T)
Stream Table USDA Forest Service– Superior Nat’l Forest (W/Th)
Water Power (Hydroelectric) Minnesota Power/Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center (M/T)
Great Lakes Cargo Capital Duluth Seaway Port Authority (W/Th)
Industrial Water Use: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! sappi (M/T)
Sustainable Forestry Verso Corporation (W/Th)
Maritime Oil Spill Response VS Coast Guard & USCG Auxiliary
U Break the Grip of the Rip! Twin Ports Rip Currents

2017 River Quest Donors

(Platinum $1,000+) Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Enbridge, Donald Weesner Foundation, Hallett Dock Co., ISD 709 Duluth Public Schools, Minnesota Sea Grant Program, Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program, sappi, US Army Corps of Engineers, Vista Fleet, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District

(Gold $500+) City of Duluth – Utility Operations, CRH US, Gerdau-Duluth Grinding Ball, Graymont (WI) LLC, Hunt Electric, Ikonics, Krech Ojard & Associates, Inc., Kwik Trip, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, Marine Tech, Minnesota Power, USDA Forest Service – Superior National Forest, Verso Corp.

(Silver $250+) Altec Industries, Inc., AMI Consulting Engineers, Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Calumet Superior, LLC, Great Lakes Fleet/Key Lakes, Midwest Energy Resources Co., Rotary Club of Superior, TKDA, Steve & Adele Yorde

(Bronze $100+) A.W. Kuettel & Sons, Allouez Marine Supply, Jim & Susan Banks (in honor of Jerry Fryberger), Grandma’s Restaurant Co., Nathan & Jennifer Hartman, Amy Herstad & Jim Einbu, Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, Doug & Kathy Jensen, Erin & Damian Makela (in honor of Jim Banks), Robert & Mary Maki, David Moeller & Bryce Nixon, Kathy Peterson, Brian & Melissa Resch, Aaron & Shelby Salmela, Jim & Kathy Sharrow (in memory of Capt. Ray Skelton), Paul & Pam Sneide, Yvonne Prettner Solon (in honor of Adele Yorde), Amy & Mark Wolcott, David & Jane Worley

(Other ) Anonymous, Deb DeLuca & Eric Dott, Barbara & David Sheedy, Dr. Richard Stewart

This event is being funded in part by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, administered by the Office for Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under Award NA14NOS4190055 provided to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program.