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Summit focuses on St. Louis River health

The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve holds its annual St. Louis River Summit March 13-14 in the Yellowjacket Union at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Information is presented by 38 speakers about progress related to the river environment, community well-being and scientific monitoring techniques. This year's summit features Wallace "J." Nichols, an internationally known marine biologist and author.

"The theme for this year is 'Reflecting on the Blue Mind and a Blue Economy,'" said Erika Washburn, Lake Superior Reserve manager. "The health of waterways like the St. Louis River and Lake Superior are connected to our personal well-being and the economic health of our communities. When we restore waterways, we are doing more than meets the eye. In addition to encouraging biodiversity, jobs, and recreation, these efforts help the minds and emotions of those who visit and live along their shores."

After welcome remarks by university officials and local dignitaries, keynote speaker Nichols will give the talk, "Blue Mind Community." The goal of the summit is to bring together key audiences working in the region to share information about the St. Louis River and encourage coordination of activities and funding proposals. Other summit presentations include topics such as the movement of sturgeon in the estuary, progress on the proposed Water Trail, and the impact of wild rice rule revisions.

A session featuring 17 posters will take place Tuesday, March 13, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Students will then be leading a community conversation and question-and-answer session with Nichols. At 6:30 p.m. in the Yellowjacket Union, Katie LaPlante, a graduate student with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, will describe her research documenting the types of spiders living in the St. Louis River Estuary with "The Search for Superior Spiders." This evening talk is being held as part of the popular monthly River Talk series. These events are free and open to all.

College students will find value in a natural resources and science careers networking event at 4 p.m. March 14 in the Yellowjacket Union. This interactive session will help students visualize themselves in an environmental career by learning job-seeking skills from diverse professionals in the field.

Summit pre-registration is required for full-day participation. The cost is $30, which includes lunch and refreshments. Students are free, but need to register. The deadline is Saturday. To register and view the agenda, visit