Stillwater Summit Seeks to Celebrate All Things St. Croix

Inaugural event will cover the river’s relationship to the arts, recreation, conservation, and communities.




3 minute read

St. Croix Summit graphic

Conservation and celebration of the St. Croix River keeps growing in importance around the region. More attention than ever is being focused on its value as a mostly healthy river in an era when such streams seem increasingly rare.

The new St. Croix Summit being held in Stillwater on Wednesday, April 29 is evidence of this trend.

A collaboration among people and organizations working for the river, the summit will include presentations during the day, and a dinner in the evening with another featured speaker.

On the East Metro Water blog, writer and educator Angie Hong says the summit “will be an opportunity for citizens, scientists, policy makers and local implementers from throughout the basin to engage in a full day of learning and collaboration.”

St. Croix spectrum

The event will feature speakers exploring many aspects of the watershed. The changing river and changing climate are the main theme, with keynote speaker Mark Seeley, Minnesota’s official state climate scientist. Afternoon keynote speaker Ryan T. O’Connor, of Ramsey County Policy and Planning, will talk about how parks and public spaces can be vital parts of communities.

It’s not all about protection and stewardship, though. The arts and recreation are also a vital part of the river, and the summit.

Recent artist-in-residence at the Pine Needles Cabin, and exhibitor at ArtReach St. Croix (as well as St. Croix 360 collaborator on last October’s “Reading the River” event), Susan Armington of Minneapolis will lead two brief sessions, using art to envision the river’s future, and presenting “a one-of-a-kind St. Croix watershed piece of art.”

A mussel in the river, photo by Jaden
A mussel filtering water in the river, photo by Jaden, courtesy Northwest Passage

Art and the healing power of nature will be part of Ben Thwaits’ presentation about New Light Under the Surface, which features amazing underwater photographs of the river, taken by young people with behavioral, mental, and emotional challenges. The inspiring program was the subject of a recent article in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ magazine.

Anybody who thinks conservation can’t be funny should probably stick around for the last scheduled program of the day. A troupe of comedians calling themselves The Recovery Project will provide a “hilarious and thought-provoking original improv sketch about lessons learned from St. Croix conference sessions.”

In the evening, Bill Berry, author of a book about how Wisconsin banned the harmful chemical DDT, will speak.

Everyone is invited

The summit is hosted by the St. Croix Basin Team, a coalition of local, state, and federal government agencies that work on river stewardship, and the St. Croix River Association, the non-profit advocates working across the watershed.

“Attend the Summit to learn more about specific issues affecting the watershed, then follow that up with a delicious dinner and an engaging presentation by author Bill Berry, in an evening of celebration with your fellow members of community who love the St. Croix River,” the registration website says.

Daytime activities will take place at the Water Street Inn, and SCRA’s dinner in the evening will be at The Loft @ Studio J. The costs for tickets are as follows:

  • $55.00 (day portion only)
  • $40.00 (evening only)
  • $85.00 (day & evening)

Registration is available at this link.

Note: I will be there, tweeting and reporting back on the highlights. Please say hello if you see me.