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Rivers of Learning workshop to be held

PRESCOTT -- Two of the most important waterways in the United States are the subject of a workshop for teachers, educators, environmentalists and others interested in the natural resources of the St. Croix Valley.

"Rivers of Learning: A Multi-Disciplinary Study of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers" will be offered for credit through UW-River Falls and noncredit trough the Great River Road Learning Center in Prescott.

The workshop runs June 23-27 from 8:30 to 5 p.m. and is held at the Great River Road Learning Center, The instructor is Sandra Hudson, who is an educator at the center and former naturalist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The workshop includes tours and field trips to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway National Park Service headquarters in St. Croix Falls, a canoe trip from Taylor's Falls, Minn. to Osceola, and other activities. Program partners and presenters include the NPS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Historical Society, Science Museum of Minnesota and Paddleford Boat Packet Co. Participants will hear from NPS Ranger Dale Cox, Artist Vera Ming Wong, Riverboat Pilot Gene Tronnier and a character actor playing St. Paul schoolteacher "Harriet Bishop" from the MHS.

While both are breathtakingly beautiful and some of America's national treasures, the rivers are in jeopardy. The Mississippi, which bisects the continental United States for 1,500 miles north to south, is one of the greatest and most threatened rivers in the world. Participants will explore issues facing this national resource in hand-on experiences.

The St. Croix is one of 13 rivers designated a national wild and scenic waterway. Recently, the lower St. Croix, a bustling recreational stretch, was classified in an environmentally endangered status by the U.S. Department of Natural Resources.

The workshop explores the meaning of these rivers through an interdisciplinary approach including history, Native American culture, literature and environmental science.

For educators who participate, the workshop will provide skills and content to implement elements of river education for the curriculum for many disciplines. Project WILD materials that are correlated to national standards in science and environmental education will provide a guidepost to state standard-setting efforts.

Participants can take the class through UWRF for two undergraduate or graduate credits and pay fees accordingly. To register for credit, contact the UWRF Outreach and Graduate Studies Office at 425-3256 and request to register for course TED 495/695 Section 2. The cost for the noncredit option is $175 and registration is made through the Great River Road Leaning Center at 262-0104.