Local storyteller voices on display at Smithsonian inspired exhibit in Pine River

Exhibit includes interactive and informational items about local water culture

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Mason and Evelynn Parry look at a map marked by other attendees at the We Are Water event in Pine River on Thursday, April 27, 2023. The map shows everyone's favorite body of water.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

PINE RIVER — The traveling We Are Water exhibit inspired by a Smithsonian display by the same name finally arrived in Pine River on Thursday, April 27.

An opening event featured guest speakers, including Pine River City Council member Brent Norman, a Soil and Water Conservation District representative and more.

The exhibit is a collection of information celebrating water and life surrounding water. The informational exhibit includes a map visitors may use to mark their favorite body of water and write why it is significant to them.

The many interactive displays are spread through the Happy Dancing Turtle Old Main and Atrium buildings.

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Part of a highly celebrated and successful reconstruction of the Norway Brook Dam in Pine River, Pine River City Council member Brent Norman was among the attendees and storytellers at the April 27, 2023, opening of the We Are Water exhibit at the Happy Dancing Turtle campus in Pine River.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Among displays is one featuring common contaminants and an interactive analysis of their impact on water, a water tower display, displays on farming and a display of the impact of lead on loons. An interactive display features voice recording with local storytellers who were recorded talking about water and some aspect of their life.


Happy Dancing Turtle anticipates over 600 students coming to see the displays in the coming weeks.

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A model water tower at the April 27, 2023, opening of the We Are Water exhibit at the Happy Dancing Turtle campus in Pine River included spinning panels.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

The exhibit will remain in Pine River until June 19. During that time it will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

There are several special events surrounding water during that time, including local water testing May 13.

The displays are also open to small groups.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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