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Sixth-graders quest for river and lake knowledge

Lincoln Park sixth-grader Aidon Persson submerges his hand in ice water to feel the effects of hypothermia. In the "Cold Hand Luke" station, the Army Corps of Engineers educated students about hypothermia and water safety. The students plunged their arms in the ice water for one minute to feel the effects of hypothermia on their skin. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)1 / 7
Sixth-grader Caydan Archambeau points to microorganisms on the screen as Craig Lincoln of the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District moves a microscope around. At this station, students learn how wastewater is cleaned by microorganisms in the WLSSD treatment plant. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)2 / 7
Lincoln Park sixth-graders Alayna Ferguson and Jada Brown attempt match the invasive species on their cards with the specimens in the jars in the "Get Habitattitude!" station by the Minnesota Sea Grant program. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)3 / 7
Dave Carlson of the Duluth Sail and Power Squadron holds up a red bell pepper, asking the students if they think it will float. This station taught kids the importance of wearing a lifejacket when out on the water. Carlson demonstrated how different fruits and vegetables sink or float depending on their outer skin. "A good life jacket, is like that skin. It keeps you from sinking to the bottom, like that potato," Carlson said. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)4 / 7
Sixth-grader Katelyn Macall and friend react to the ice cold water as they plunge their hands in. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)5 / 7
Max Reese, Lincoln Park sixth-grader, holds up two jars, one filled with water from Lake Superior, one with water from the St. Louis River. This station by the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve demonstrates how lake and river water mix in estuaries. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)6 / 7
Rebecca Gordon of the Army Corps of Engineers calls for volunteers to answer questions about hypothermia in the "Cold Hand Luke" station. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)7 / 7

Are you smarter than a sixth-grader? See if you can answer these questions:

1. An example of a negative buoyancy object would be a) a rock; b) a ping pong ball; c) a raft; d) a wooden barrel.

2. To get to the Twin Ports, oceangoing vessels ("salties") must navigate how many sets of locks on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway?

3. What river is the hydrologic connection between the Superior National Forest to the estuary that the Duluth-Superior Harbor is part of?

4. What travels in a storm sewer system and what travels in a sanitary sewer system? a) rain and snowmelt water; b) house and industrial sewage; c) bathwater; d) wastewater.

Busloads of area sixth-graders from around the Twin Ports found the answers to these and more questions about the Duluth-Superior Harbor at River Quest this week, May 9 -12. The students learned about the St. Louis River estuary as they moved through a dozen learning stations on land and on water.

The 24th annual St. Louis River Quest drew a record 1,495 students from 14 area schools to the waterfront this year. During each morning and afternoon session, small groups of students moved through a total of 12 unique stations — six aboard the Vista Star and six inside Pioneer Hall at the DECC — where students were introduced to topics ranging from pollution prevention and stopping aquatic invaders to personal water safety and commercial shipping. They all carried River Quest passports to document their adventures. After the event, students are encouraged to submit essays or poems about their experiences for an annual writing contest.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

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