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2015 Expedition Crew

(Alphabetical by last name)

Hannah Arvold (Sophomore, Environmental Studies Major) I am from Minneapolis, MN.  I have yet to declare a major, but I am hoping that this semester will help me with that decision.  I am interested in environmental studies, nutrition, and business management.  I am doing an independent study that focuses on the health and nutrition of our group as we travel down the river.  One of my projects includes calculating our caloric expenditures and comparing it to our caloric intakes to find the best way to nourish our bodies on this kind of trip. I will also be doing an internship dealing with environmental education, teaming up with middle school classes at Seward Montessori. My plan is to blog with them, sending them stories, pictures, scientific data, and helping to enhance their curriculum however I can. On the River Semester I hope to discover and embrace the things that make me happy as well as learn as much as I can in an environment like no other. I’m excited to make connections between what we learn in our classes and the things we see and experience every day.

Noah Cameron (Junior, Political Science and Music Business) I graduated from Fridley High School in 2013. I have a great fondness for the outdoors; I’ve been going to summer camp since 2003, and I’m currently staffed at YMCA Camp Icaghowan, where I’ve lead several river trips down the Namekagon and St. Croix rivers. I hope this trip reveals and develops my skill as an outdoors-man so I can pass down that knowledge and skill to my campers and fellow counselors.  For my research and internship I will be working with Minnesota artist Monica Haller using a hydrophone to record underwater noises while on the river, archive them, and gain an idea of these noises’ relationships with the people along the river.

Christopher Dunham (Wilderness Inquiry Staff, lead guide for Upper Miss.) I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and found my passion for the outdoors on a river trip paddling down the Flambeau River in Wisconsin.  After graduating from Northland College with a degree in Outdoor Education a sense of adventure lead me to the Northwest. Working as a ranger, educator, guide, and cook has allowed me to connect people to the wonders of the outdoors in all the important realms of life; that being mind, body, and stomach! My favorite part about leading WI trips can be summarized by a quote from John Muir; “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” I am excited to join the guide team for the first Augsburg/Wilderness Inquiry River Semester and watch the transformation that will take place over our 3 month journey down the mighty Mississippi.


Glen Gardner (Junior, Undeclared)  My name is Glen Gardner and so far I am undeclared as a far as a major. I come from the great state of Montana and have lots of experience in regards to wilderness travel. What I hope to accomplish on the River Semester is to expand my comfort zone and decide what direction I want to go with my life. My interests include the outdoors, art, music, and many other things. I have an art project I am doing that is going to attempt to show the relationship between industry and wilderness.

Karl Hahn (Sophomore, Environmental Studies and/or English Major)  I’m Karl Hahn, a second year student at Augsburg majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Studio Art. Personally, I look at River Semester as an opportunity to understand more clearly who I am in relation to nature. As a native of Minneapolis who enjoys the outdoors, I’ve always sought out active places within my urban surroundings, and somehow, they always included the waterways. I will also be doing an art journal project on this trip. I want to use my encounters with urban and isolated communities along the river to express how nature and industrialization find different ways to assert themselves. Both positive and negative human intervention can enable this assertion.

Prof. Thorpe Halloran (Instructor in Fisheries Biology and Stream Ecology).  I am an aquatic ecologist whose research focuses on both the abiotic and biotic components that structure the life history strategies of biota within freshwater ecosystems (both vertebrate and invertebrate). At Juniata College and LSU I taught courses in Limnology, Ecology of Fishes, Field Research Methods and Freshwater Ecosystems. My doctoral research at LSU focused on the distribution of floodplain-dependent larval fishes in the Atchafalaya River Basin. I have experience examining the influence of large-scale riverine manipulations on water quality and seasonal river-floodplain connectivity. I’m also well-versed in the cultures associated with communities throughout much of the Lower Mississippi, with a strong interest in the traditions, myths and the importance of music in the region.

Katie Johnson (Junior, Political Science and Pre-law) I am from Lakeville, MN. I want to learn more about how water (particularly moving water) affects politics and the legal system as we get farther south. I am doing an independent study on environmental law and I will study the changes in the legal system and its relationship with the environment as we travel down the Mississippi.


Emily Knudson (Augsburg ’15; Teaching Assistant for Environmental Studies, Wilderness Inquiry Staff) Hi!  My name is Emily Knudson and I am a Canoe Guide and Supplemental Instructor for this expedition.  I grew up catching frogs and turtles on the shores of Lake Elmo, Minnesota with my brothers.  I really fell in love with the outdoors and minimalist living after spending a summer in a mountain village in Honduras and seeing how much happier people are when their lives are centered around people instead of things.  I graduated from Augsburg in Spring 2015 with majors in Environmental Studies, Spanish, and English Literature.  I have been dreaming about this trip for over a year now and couldn’t be more excited to be leading it!  I plan to teach some lessons relating to international perspectives on the earth and how they impact policy making.  I will also teach lessons relating to Ann Bancroft’s expedition down the Ganges River this fall and how environmental and political issues she encounters in India relate to what we see as we go down the Mississippi.  I am most interested in learning more about Environmental justice movements, urban runoff, and sustainable community projects.  On this trip I hope to develop my leadership skills and figure out what I want to do with my life.  I hope to hear a lot of stories from people we meet along the river as well as make some stories of my own!

Bobby Kohl (Junior, Environmental Studies and Economics Major) I am from Shorewood, Wisconsin and my internship is looking at stormwater management in cities/towns along the River. I will be looking at Urban infrastructure and look for existing urban buffer zones (or lack there of). Also I will be taking water quality readings and looking for links between to quality readings and urban runoff.  As part of the River Semester, I am taking POL 241, ENV 120, and BIO 495 and finding relevance between class material and physical information documented for storm water management internship.  I am also working in tandem with Hannah Arvold for her health and nutrition study during the trip. I will be recording everything I consume, and she will calculate my caloric intake. My bod pod reading prior to the trip with be compared to my post-trip results.

Natasha Localio (Sophomore, Environmental Studies) Hi, my name is Natasha Maria Localio.  I took an AP environmental studies class in high school and loved it, I learned I was very good in the matter of earth science as well, and I have always been interested in the way the world works and how we interact with it. My mother is also a science teacher, so she got me interested in science since I was very young and I have many relatives who work in environmental science. I am hoping to go into soil science when I graduate, although I am open to many other options in the field of environmental science. I someday hope to get a master’s degree in whichever field I choose to pursue.  On this trip, I’m hoping to challenge myself in a lot of ways. I’m really looking forward to the camping part of the trip, because as much as camping can be difficult and weary, grandpa was right when he said it builds character. I want to learn more about the Mississippi river, like how important it is to the welfare of the United States and the American people, and what we can do to take care of a resource we have taken advantage of for decades. I don’t know much about the cities and towns we will be passing, so I will have fun learning about the history of the civilization around the Mississippi too. I’m really excited to meet new people and scare as many people with my collection of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark that I can hopefully read out loud during bonfires!  When it comes to environmental studies, I’m not much on the political or economic side of environmental studies, I’d rather learn about the water quality of the river and such. However, I know it is something I have to learn, which is why I’m taking political science with Professor Underhill. I think all my classes will be challenging, I’ve never had classes outside a classroom before! I am doing an independent study/research that I am really excited about and also an internship. So my hands will be full; be it class work or paddles!

Mike Madson (Junior, Environmental Studies) I am from Plymouth Minnesota. I am an Eagle Scout, a certified SCUBA diver, and an avid biker and swimmer. I have been interested in environmental issues for a long time, so I decided to go with an Environmental Studies Major. I would like to learn how a lack of sediment deposition in the Gulf of Mexico is affecting Cajun culture in Louisiana. I will doing an Independent Study on light pollution and an internship on the River Trip’s environmental footprint.

Lily Moloney (Augsburg ’15; Intern and Teaching Assistant for Chemistry and Biology courses and labs) Hello, this is the Augsburg River Trip’s Chemistry/Biology TA, Lily Moloney. I’m going to let you in on my life’s secrets and ambitions. I come from the land of Iowa City, IA, where I was raised by parents who took me boating and fishing at our family cabin and would send me off to wilderness camp every summer. Once I became of age, I fled the nest to gain knowledge from the professors at Augsburg. Four years later, I somehow ended up with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry! My childhood memories of the wilderness and my knowledge in science led me to join the Augsburg River Semester. On the trip I will be working with students on researching and testing the water quality of the Mississippi River. We will be testing the concentration of nitrate, ammonium, and dissolved oxygen as well as testing the pH and salinity of the water. During the trip, when my science brain is turned off, I am excited to hear from the communities that live along the river and observe how they are similar or different. Well there it is folks, my secrets and ambitions! I’m signing off, over and out till next time!

Jubilee Prosser (Sophomore, Biology) I am a biology student at Augsburg minoring in environmental studies, public policy, and chemistry. I grew up in St. Paul and now am living in White Bear Lake. Camping is definitely a favorite hobby of mine, along with swimming and Nordic skiing.  I’ve been blessed with a life enriched by some wonderful things and wonderful resources. However I often get too caught up in what I think average living means, and what is necessary for both survival and happiness. This trip will carry me to some of the most unique cultures in the U.S. and open my eyes to other lives. As for the camping, I hope to realize what I can accomplish physically/mentally and what little I need to get by.  After doing ecology research this summer with Dr. Emily Schilling, I’m excited to do some more surveying of macroinvertebrate communities that we bump into during the upper level bio classes. I will also be doing my own project that will examine individuals around the Lower Mississippi who depend on food from the river, for both monetary and consumption needs. I plan to use interviews with fisherfolk and explicit data on water quality/pollution/bio accumulation to encourage an active awareness in Minnesotans. Our actions heavily impact those down the river.

Izzy Smith (Sophomore, Environmental Studies) I’m from Minneapolis MN and hopefully going to grad school for primary education. My dream is to teach young people about the world around us and help them learn how to cultivate our environment. Between now and then I hope to guide trips for young people to help them fall in love with the primitive wild just like I did.  On this trip I hope to gain more knowledge of my environmental surroundings and how people today are working to maintain our ecosystems. From this is hope to improve my stewardship of nature and increase my passion and knowledge of the bigger environmental picture. I also want to learn from people along the river, so for my internship I will be interviewing people for podcasts in various cities and towns along the river and asking them how the Mississippi River affects their lives, and what the river means to them. And lastly I hope to make some amazing memories and friends. I am also working with another student (Noah Cameron) to record the sounds the Mississippi River makes under the surface using a hydrophone.

Blair Stewig (Sophomore, Biology and Chemistry) I grew up in Maple Lake Minnesota. I am a biology and chemistry double major with the goal of attending a DO/PhD dual degree graduate program in order to conduct clinical research. At Augsburg I am active by being a member of the honors program, track and cross country teams, and campus kitchens. I want to learn more about the U.S. and how we rely on the river in many different ways for many different things. I am interested in learning how many different motivations for using the river influence one another and affect each other. On top of that I am really excited to learn more about the Mississippi on a molecular level and how the concentrations of various chemicals influence the river, river ecosystems, and the communities that surround the river.  Throughout the trip I will be collecting water quality data in order to assist in updating the National Park Services State of the River Report. I am also looking forward to working with Reuben Heine from Augustana College in order to collect subaqueous dune data via sonar rig.

Ricky Taylor (Junior, Film) Hello World! My name is Ricky Taylor. I’m currently finishing up my second semester as a Junior at Augsburg. From a small town in Wisconsin, to the big city, I’ve always been in love with wilderness and the arts. As a double major in Film and Graphic Design, this trip was a dream come true! I am the trip’s documentarian and videographer, taking pictures on a new Nikon, an old film Nikon, a Sony video camera, and 2 new GoPro’s! All I can say is keep your eyes open for new stuff about the trip coming faster than you can imagine!

Prof. Joe Underhill (program director and instructor for Political Science and Environmental Studies).  I have

been engaged in environmental politics for the last 30 years, from the Hudson River to San Francisco Bay and now on the Mississippi River.   Ever since I arrived in Minneapolis I have been working on bringing students out on the river, and over the past decade have led a number of shorter trips from St. Cloud down to Wabasha.  This trip is a major expansion, and has been exciting and challenging to plan and organize.  I am looking forward to seeing who and what we encounter along the way, and how all of us learn and grow in the process.  My over-all goal is to increase our understanding of the causes and dynamics of current social and environmental problems and help with efforts to decrease our impact on the environment, increase social justice, and move towards a more sustainable economy. Big goals, but things we can work on in small ways every day.  I’m hoping this will be a model for how we can teach and educate college students in the 21st Century–experiential, interdisciplinary, applied, challenging, problem-based, and big fun.