By: Katie Hathaway
It’s hard to believe another Missouri River Academy has come to an end. Every year is unique and incredibly special, but this year was really one for the books. The lessons learned and friendships made will not be soon forgotten.
|Campers and a few staff members pose outside of Peers Store during their bike ride on the Katy Trail!|
To give you a better idea of how the week flowed, here is a day-by-day breakdown!
Sunday, July 7th – Welcome to Missouri River Academy
Twenty-one eager campers arrived at Camp Trinity and were welcomed to the 2019 Missouri River Academy! The first day of camp was focused on getting to know one another and gearing up for the next four days of learning about the Missouri River!
|Campers prepare for the first round of Missouri River Olympics!|
The day finished with a night scavenger hunt hike, where students got to know each other better and learn about the stars.
|The campers embark on their night hike!|
Monday, July 8th – Connecting to the Missouri River
With the question “How do I explore my connection to the Missouri River?” in mind, the second day of Academy included getting to know the history behind the Big Muddy, and learning about how it functions.
The day started at Pinckney’s Bed & Breakfast on a beautiful overlook above the Missouri River, where we learned about the history of the Missouri River, and some of the extinct wildlife that once roamed the watershed by examining fossilized teeth!
|Campers Mackenzie and Emma practice using hand lenses to refine their observational skills.|
|Charlie and Gabe disposing of some trash during the river clean up.|
Later in the day we explored a nearby stream and met wildlife along the way. Many toads, grasshoppers, and other insects were caught!
|Campers check out some captured wildlife during the stream exploration activity!|
The night capped off with stargazing, during an astronomy and night sky lesson, where students learned more about what’s beyond Earth. They even saw the rings of Saturn!
Tuesday, July 9th – Behind the Scenes of the Missouri River
During the third day of academy, we explored the ecology of the Missouri River. Students focused on the question, “What components make up the Missouri River ecosystem?”
We started the day off at Shaw Nature Reserve for some serious birding with Missouri River Bird Observatory! We saw and heard 17 different bird species, including an Indigo Bunting, a Summer Tanager, and a Blue Herron!
|Campers look for birds using binoculars and bird identification books.|
|Angie reviewing what birds campers had just listened to during the "draw a bird song" activity.|
River Academy wouldn’t be complete without a little time on the water! We headed to the Meramec River where we participated in some fisheries activities with Sarah Pepers and her staff from Missouri Department of Conservation. We caught fish using nets and through electrofishing! The Missouri Department of Conservation folks were kind enough to educate us on what fish species we caught as well. We caught a wide variety of fish, two of which were the Stoneroller and Brook Silverside!
|Campers trying out electrofishing on the Meramec River!|
|Campers fishing around the lake at Camp Trinity.|
Day three of Missouri River Academy ended on the best note possible- with an ice cream social at New Haven Ice Cream Shoppe!
Wednesday, July 10th – Forces that Shape the Missouri River
From learning about wastewater treatment along the river, to hearing stories from those who have paddled the river, to discovering how life has developed in a historic river town, we dove into a number of activities to get the kids thinking about the question, “What is the relationship between humans and the Missouri River?”
We kicked off the day touring the wastewater plant in New Haven and got the chance to learn about the importance of treating water, as well as the challenges that go with it. We learned about the hardships various flushed products have on the wastewater treatment process!
|Lance presenting a glass-blown sea turtle to the campers!|
While downtown, we stopped by Avant Garden, and Charissa Coyle talked to us about the importance of supporting local agriculture, as well as how this year’s flooding and heavy rain has impacted growing produce in the Missouri River Valley. Using ingredients from Avant Gardens, we made fresh salsa together and celebrated with tacos for lunch!
|Jay and Bridget cutting up peppers fresh salsa.|
After a day of activities, we headed back to Camp Trinity, where students were introduced to the Creative Art Project. Campers partnered up, chose an issue relating to the Missouri River, and began thinking about how to develop their projects!
The Olympic Games were intense, but after winning the “Face the Cookie” challenge, and solving the most riddles, Below Sea Level took first place again!
|The Olympic teams attempting to solve riddles.|
Thursday, July 11th – Connecting Others to the Missouri River
The last day of Missouri River Academy was spent reflecting on the past week and thinking about how to take what was learned beyond New Haven, Missouri. Students focused on the question “How do we deepen a sense of responsibility to the care of the Missouri River?”
We kicked off the day with the final round of Missouri River Olympics. The kids participated in a relay race! It was neck and neck, but after a tie-breaker ring toss between Below Sea Level and GELEC, Below Sea Level took the prize this year! Each member of the team received handmade petrified wood necklaces, crafted by Gale Johnson!
|Below Sea Level with their new petrified wood necklaces!|
|Elsie cleaning up some trash to use for her recycled trash sculpture!|
During student presentations, campers were able to show off their creative art projects to friends and family. It was amazing to see the kids talk so passionately about the issues they researched and to call their audience to action!
|Bridget presenting her Creative Art Project on Japanese Hops to another camper's family.|
To see more photos from 2019 Missouri River Academy, check out our Facebook and Flickr!
Last, but certainly not least, thank you to the following individuals and organizations who made this year's River Academy possible. We are so grateful for the support you have given Missouri River Academy and this year's campers!
· Scott Mansker, River Miles
· Diana Papoulias, Board Member
· Dave and Fran Stous (Former Board and Committee Members)
· Ellen Zobrist
· Shelia Voss
· Katie Hathaway, MRR Education Assistant
· Carly Hopkins, NGRREC Intern
· Kampbell and Ben, Counselor in Training
· Bruce Templer
· BluePrint4Summer, The Clark-Fox Family Foundation
· Ann Renee Gargrave
· Missouri River Bird Observatory, Paige Witek
· Art by Angie, Angie Jungbluth
· Eastern Missouri Dark Sky Observors, Rick Schwentker
· Avant Gardens, Charissa Coyle
· Missouri Department of Conservation , Darby Niswonger, Sarah Peper & Crew
· Deutschheim State Historic State, Cindy Browne
· Astral Glass Studio, Lance Stroheke & Gary Rice
· New Haven Public Works Department, Peter Otten
· Scenic Regional Library, New Haven Branch, Rachel Terbrock