2016 Missouri River Academy
Imagine exploring the Missouri River by boat, learning about ecology, history and the biology of aquatic river life from experts in the field. That is exactly what fifteen high school students did during the Missouri River Academy in New Haven, Missouri!

The Missouri River Academy at Camp Trinity in New Haven, MO was a four day camp where students were able to engage their innate sense of wonder and natural curiosity to explore the Missouri River, while increasing their knowledge and understanding of the longest river in North America! By deepening their connection and sense of responsibility for the river, we hope these young people will become the next generation of river stewards and conscientious community members.

Day one saw lots of introductions and team building activities, along with groups beginning to brainstorm their future Missouri River Action Projects, of which you, the public are invited to attend presentations at the Old School House in New Haven, on Thursday, July 14th at 1 p.m.

Now its on to campfire songs, stories and s'mores! What could be better?

Day Two - Today was all about connecting to the Missouri River in a deeper sense using observation. We talked about things we noticed and wondered about while drifting down the big river. Painter, Elizabeth Parris led a watercoloring activity under the Katy Trail. After lunch we headed up the hill to gain a historical perspective of the river from author and historian, David Menke. We got to ride on a tractor and take in the views of native prairies and woodlands high above the river. We could imagine what life might of been like for all the cultures that have lived on and used the river over time. It was a great first full day. Tonight we will continue to work on our Missouri River Action Projects after some free play and learn about astronomy and the night sky! Stay tuned...

Day Three - The day started off at 94% humidity and a whopper of a rain storm! So we did what we always do, and powered through it as best we could. The great folks from the Missouri River Bird Observatory set up some mist nets to give us an personal view of songbirds here in the woodlands at Camp Trinity. Sadly, because of the weather, all we caught was a cardinal! But we still learned a ton about the diversity of birds in this area. Then it was off to the river. Mike Smith, an educator from Washington, MO joined us for a wetland and forestry discussion. Today's focus was all about understanding the interconnected communities that make up the Missouri River. After a hike through the bottom lands, we did in a mini-river clean-up. 6 bags of trash and two tires later, and we were back to the boats! We now have a deeper understanding of how humans impact this river, in both positive and negative ways. After lunch, we were joined by commercial fisherman, Cliff and Kathy Rost, along with MDC Big River Specialist Joe McMullen, who took us out fishing with gill nets! We got up close and personal with several different Missouri River fish, and even netted a few turtles! To wrap it all up, the Rost's brought us a special snack, caviar! Lucky for us, it turned out to be just another great day on the Missouri River.

Day Four - Our last full day of the 2016 Missouri River Academy! Today was all about our human connection to the Missouri River. We began our morning with a phone conference with Janet Moreland, solo expedition paddler who is currently paddling the entire length of the Mississippi, and in 2013, was the first woman AND American to descend the Missouri River from source to sea!

We spent some more time with historian David Menke in downtown New Haven, imagining what it was like when the steam boats arrived, taking a deeper look at the history of this town, how the area developed over time and the complexities and interactions of economic, environmental and social systems on the river. We also got to hear some really cool stories about New Haven legend, and Mountain Man John Colter.

Then it was over to Avant Garden CSA and the Riverfront Cultural Society! Carissa Cole gave us an idea of what it was like to farm this area and run a local business, while sharing some excellent produce. We headed to Hermann, and toured the Hermann Sand & Gravel Operation where we learned all about the giant piles of sand and rock dredged from the Missouri River, and what it's like to work on a barge with Kathryn Ann Engemann, who just happens to have a tow boat named after her! Pretty cool stuff.

Lastly, we headed over to the Public Works to learn what happens when we flush the toilet. From history, to the economics of a river town, and the environmental variations that shape this place, we took it all in stride in and out of one of the hardest rain events we've seen this week! A huge thanks to all of the friends and presenters we have met in the these cool little river towns of New Haven, Washington, Augusta and Hermann!
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