Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Water Journey Day 3: A Mississippi River boat tour!

Today the campers visited a water tower on campus to get an inside look at how one works. Cathy Abene, a Senior Engineer at the University of Minnesota and Lauren Wimler a Civil Engineer at the University of Minnesota opened the door (which many campers thought would lead to a rush of water) and led students inside to showcase the ladder that climbs all the way up to where the water is stored. Water towers rely on hydrostatic pressure produced by elevation of water (due to gravity) to push the water into the homes of local residents. Near the water tower was a pump station where campers saw the water meter that gages how much water is used on the St. Paul campus as well as pressure pumps.

Water pressure site. Photo courtesy of camper
Ladder going up the water tower.
Photo courtesy of camper.

Afterwards, the campers got to peer down a sewer manhole to see the stream of sewage that leaves the Institute on the Environment. Cathy and Co-Worker Dan Doyle lifted the over 250 pound lid closing the sewer with a strong magnet. Campers exclaimed how they saw toilet paper at the bottom while Cathy explained the importance of sewers and their role of keeping rivers and lakes clean.

Students surrounding the manhole. Photo courtesy of Jonee Brigham.

The journey continued to Harriet Island for a river boat ride along the Mississippi River. After students explored the different levels of the Padelford river boat, Brian Goodspeed, a Park Ranger with the U.S. National Park Service, answered a flurry of questions about our rivers and how to keep them clean. Some included “what happens downstream?” and “do you see any beavers?”. As a group, we poured out the water that we collected at the beginning of our journey (at the River Park intake) back into where it once came! What a day!

Brian Goodspeed and campers on the upper level of the river boat.
Photo courtesy of Jonee Brigham.

Campers were also encouraged to document what they were seeing along the Mississippi river in their journals. Here is a look at some of their amazing art:

Camper Sophie

Camper Tandece 
Camper Haley

Camper Allie

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