Members of Wild River Academy’s Paddle Forward trip have been busy doing presentations about their voyage down the Mississippi River, in addition to gearing up for the summer season. On April 15, Martha and Anna spoke at the River Management Society’s conference, titled “Managing Rivers in Changing Climes.” They had a great time meeting and learning from experts in the field of river management, and were honored to be included in the conference. Peter Hark, son of beloved Larene “Ma” Hark, whom the groups stayed with on day 6 of the Paddle Forward expedition, was in the audience.
The duo also did a presentation at Colorado College, their alma mater in Colorado Springs. They told stories about their adventures, talked about the value of paddling in non-wilderness areas, and detailed how they were able to fund their adventure post college, as graduates are no longer eligible for adventure grants through the institution.
Over the weekend of April 26 and 27th, five of the Paddle Forward crew spoke to a friendly audience at the Midwest Mountaineering expo. The expo is always a fun and exciting event, and Wild River Academy enjoyed tabling throughout the weekend and meeting new folks interested in the organization. It is exciting and heartwarming to see people’s enthusiasm for watershed education.
On May 2 and 3, the WRA crew was in Granite Falls for the River History weekend put on by Clean Up the River Environment (CURE). It is always a delight to connect with our friends and allies in southwestern Minnesota working hard to protect and maintain the Minnesota River valley, and this weekend was no different. The “Don’t Worry, We’ve Got This” event on Friday night was an energizing way for young leaders to connect. On Saturday morning, Nick, Natalie, and Anna led a canoe water safety training. That evening, they were warmly received when they spoke about their travels down the Mississippi River at the CURE annual meeting. WRA was thrilled to be included in the celebration of the hard work that CURE and the greater Granite Falls community is doing to protect and restore the local environment.
There are presentations in our future as well! The WRA crew is looking forward to speaking with students at the School of Environmental Studies on June 11. Natalie will be talking with a group of professors in Madison on Thursday about incorporating adventure learning into the college setting.
Thank you to everyone who has attended our presentations! We look forward to continuing to share our story with others, and hope that you will share your story with us.