Riches Much Finer Than Gold

The most wonderful thing happened to me at the Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) mini-conference yesterday.  I walked away from the event with the most amazing book; it is a compilation of educational lessons and activities about the Upper Mississippi River. Erin Hilligoss-Volkmann of the Army Corps of Engineers gave a presentation, and I was one of the lucky ones to receive one of three copies she brought along.  I asked her if I could post some things about the book on my blog, and she said, “Yes.”


This book is the manifestation in the physical realm of what I have been envisioning in my mind as it relates the Missouri River.  Only it goes way beyond what I imagined possible.  It is complete, thorough, comprehensive, beautifully illustrated, and bursting with amazing science and social studies lessons and activities.  I’d say the book is somewhat like a dream-come-true, and gives my trip a rich new perspective.

Well deserved kudos go out to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) Cultural Resources and Stewardship Mitigation Team in La Crosse, WI, and design team led by Formations.



This book is given to facilitators at a workshop in which they are trained to train teachers to teach students about the upper Mississippi River.  Here are the titles to the units:

Unit 1 Introduction to the Upper Mississippi River Watershed

Unit 2 Introduction to Upper Mississippi River Ecosystems

Unit 3 Introduction to Mississippi River History and Culture

Unit 4 Introduction to the Mississippi River at Work

Unit 5 Introduction to A Shared Resource – Our Mississippi River

Here’s a peak at some of the activities:









Content includes activities relating to river habitats, glacial history, plants, animals, and habitats of the Upper Miss, bird migration, endangered species, Mississippi’s ancient civilizations, Native Americans, settlement and transportation, Underground Railroad, watershed occupations, steam power, Mark Twain, Lewis and Clark, floods, locks, dams, water safety, and caring for the river, among many other subjects.  The book even includes profiles of people important to the river today, such as Michael Clark and his Big Muddy Adventures.



To be honest, I am quite speechless as I look through this treasure chest of river education tools.  Seems reasonable and logical to have a complimentary Missouri River resource such as this, full of  riches much finer than gold.

Ahhh, the possibilities!

One thought on “Riches Much Finer Than Gold

  1. Good article.Hows the planning going?
    A note to mention…you have everything you need to do the trip. Your independence and past adventures and lifestyle you had….well there should be no concern or worry on your part about dealing with going solo. You will meet plenty of people, never be really in any danger sans weather. I think your only logistical challenge which will drain you in more ways than you can think of…is dealing with the technology such as updating, cell phones etc etc…..its a big pain in the ass. IT takes away from the adventure……like being outside camping then thrown into an office cubical all in the same moment.
    Make sure you have as much of that dialed in on that part before you go. If you can pre- type anything then do it…it will save you a lot. Cell coverage is limited and not sure about updating using it. I think Rod is your best resource….but take NOTE>….if you do as Rod you are going to need a long time to get to st. louis. In 2004 I had NO cell phone ONLY a Satillite Phone….a challenge. If you can figure out as much about your updates ahead you will be a lot better. Plan on certain areas such as ft. benton which is basically the only place in a month where you will have a coffee shop to use wifi. If you can maybe figure out everone on the facebook site…where they are located…then maybe you can relay info when you get to where they live etc.
    DOnt use Cellular One at all…they are reallly bad. Maybe Verison would be your best.
    WHat would maybe help a lot in areas where there is limited internet access….is maybe— If you could type each day…something on your computer….so that after say 10 days you have or encounter cell phone coverage… Store all the updates and somehow transfer them to your cell phone and send them that way. SInce you are more apt to have cell coverage more than internet you will have more abiliity to update. Im not sure how to do that but i think its a common means to send data etc. Im not a high tech person so i cant really help you out. Maybe check on your end. Your phone provider and see what they can do and or how they can help. Maybe you can get some free minutes.

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