Traveling exhibit on the importance of water coming to Pine River
Program is inspired by a Smithsonian exhibit
PINE RIVER — Pine River will be one of five communities to host an exhibit highlighting the importance of water and life around lakes with the opening of the "We Are Water" exhibit Thursday, April 27, at Happy Dancing Turtle's Old Main in Pine River.
The program seeks to demonstrate the many ways water impacts life on many levels. The exhibit will be in Pine River through June 19.
"So it's both a traveling exhibit and community engagement events happening all around the science, history, story, culture and relationships of water specifically in Minnesota," said Jenny Hill, Happy Dancing Turtle public relations and communications specialist.
We've interviewed lots of people locally and are hoping to have people who come to the exhibit tell local water stories as well.
"We've interviewed lots of people locally and are hoping to have people who come to the exhibit tell local water stories as well," she said.
“Bringing people together around an issue they care about is how the humanities can be put into action. When Minnesotans learn from each other about the water where we live, we can make decisions that account for the complexity of our world,” said Kevin Lindsey, CEO of Minnesota Humanities Center.
The exhibit will be at the Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District until April 24. After its time in Pine River from April 27-June 19, it will move to the Somali Museum in Minneapolis from June 22-Aug. 14, to the Roseau County Historical Society from Aug. 17-Oct. 9 and the Stillwater Public Library/Artreach St. Croix from Oct. 12-Dec. 4.
We have school kids who are interviewed, and citizens of all ages and all walks of life to get people who work with water, like through the DNR, and then people who are avid kayakers. So we tried to get a good cross section.
In Pine River, an opening and reception event will take place from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, April 27, after which the exhibit will be open to the public from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Local contributors to the We Are Water exhibit include Eagle View Elementary School teacher Deanne Trottier, fourth grader Mason Parry from Pequot Lakes, Pine River Public Works Director Mike Hansen and Happy Dancing Turtle program specialist Nora Woodworth.
"We're kind of spread out geographically within our local watershed," Hill said. "We have school kids who are interviewed, and citizens of all ages and all walks of life to get people who work with water, like through the DNR, and then people who are avid kayakers. So we tried to get a good cross section."
These contributors are among 2,300 stories that have been shared with the exhibit since it started in 2016. Stories include mysterious discoveries underwater, recent water related construction projects, lake life and more.
"The ultimate goal is to build community around water and awareness of water, the role it plays in our lives and our livelihood, and what each individual person can do to preserve our water," Hill said.
"But then also how this community can act to make sure our water is around and clean. The phrase they use is ‘drinkable, fishable, swimmable water for many generations,’” she said.
The program was first developed by the Smithsonian around 2015. It later changed to become the We Are Water Minnesota traveling exhibit.
The ultimate goal is to build community around water and awareness of water, the role it plays in our lives and our livelihood, and what each individual person can do to preserve our water.
There are other events surrounding the program in Pine River. Happy Dancing Turtle is holding a water photo contest through April 23. Finalist photos from the contest will be on display for judging during the exhibit.
People’s choice voting will open at an event Saturday, May 13, and finalists from the photo contest will be announced, Hill said.
The May 13 event will also feature a chance for water testing for those who bring a sample of their own water.
Individuals and groups may also schedule trips to see the exhibit.
Those who visit the exhibit will have the chance to put a pin on an 8- by 8-foot map of the Pine River Watershed to mark where their favorite water is.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.