River Semester Itinerary

The schedule and activities will depend somewhat on weather and other unforeseen circumstances, but the itinerary will look something like the following:

Aug. 28-30 Orientation at Lake Itasca State Park (headwaters of the Mississippi River) introduction to course topics, basics of canoeing and water safety, introduction to sustainability, Native American perspectives on the environment, and environmental justice (traveling by van to and from the park from the Twin Cities).

Sept. 1 Launch and Celebration in Minneapolis (Pike Island confluence of Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers) in Voyageur canoes with Wilderness Inquiry guides.  Local musicians and community leaders, and send-off with Augsburg College and Twin Cities community.

Sept. 4 Red Wing, MN: town hall meetings and discussion of riverfront developments and meet with Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance.

Sept. 5-7 Lake Pepin: studying water quality and impact of farming and increased sediment load on the river; sampling with Fisheries biologists from the Minnesota DNR.

Sept. 11-14 Winona and LaCrosse: meeting with faculty and students at Winona State University; stream ecology labs; discussion of the impact of the lock and dam system on the river’s ecosystems

Sept. 19-20: Effigy Mounds and history of Native American communities

Oct. 1: Quad Cities and meeting with Living Lands and Waters; meetings with local farmers; field lab with Prof. Reuben Heine, Geography Dept. at Augustana College.

Oct. 2-3: Live stream video feed of the trip to the Imagining America Conference (at University of Maryland Baltimore Country).

Oct. 14-15 Hannibal, Missouri, the “Mythic River,” Mark Twain, Huck Finn, and the literature of the river.

Nov. 5-8: St. Louis (680 miles of paddling from the Twin Cities), layover with study of trade, urban economics, environmental justice, and the city’s relationship to the river.  Possibly making it to Cairo, IL (confluence with the Ohio) if weather permits.

Nov. 9 Transit by bus to Memphis

Nov. 10-11: Memphis, TN, Music, history, and food; meet with researchers from the Mississippi River Project at the University of Memphis

Nov. 12 Transit by bus to Helena, Arkansas, meet up with John Ruskie of Quapaw Outfitters

Nov. 13 – 19 Canoeing on the lower Mississippi with Quapaw Outfitters; Blues Country; paddling approx. 120 miles in 7 days.

Nov. 20 Vicksburg, Civil War and Civil Rights history; town hall meeting discussing local political issues.

Nov. 21 Transit by van to Atchafalaya River and Old River Control Structure; discussion of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood and river control efforts

Nov. 22-23 Natchez, bayou country and the industrial river; exploring the Atchafalaya.

Nov. 24 – 25  New Orleans, post-Katrina, music and food in the French Quarter, literature and culture of New Orleans, meetings with students from local universities; environmental justice.

Nov. 26 – Thanksgiving in New Orleans (deep fried turkey!)

Nov. 30 – Dec. 1 travel by van to Mississippi Delta, Morgan City

Dec. 2-7 Field research, marine biology, and estuarine ecology with the Louisiana Marine Consortium (including several trips out on the Gulf of Mexico)

Dec. 8-10 Return by van to New Orleans for final town hall meetings and celebration

Dec. 11 Travel by train to Chicago

Dec. 12-13 Chicago and urban waterfront developments, sustainability and the arts in the city

Dec. 14 Train from Chicago to St. Paul

Dec. 15 Welcome back celebration and student presentations at Augsburg College

Dec. 17 End of semester and final papers due.