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Media Memo: UW-Eau Claire students develop 'Pedal and Paddle Pollution Tour'

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume

DATE: Sept. 15, 2010

SUBJECT: UW-Eau Claire students develop 'Pedal and Paddle Pollution Tour'

Several UW-Eau Claire faculty members and 21 students will spend Friday morning canoeing the lower Chippewa River as part of a class project that will help educate the public about pollution issues in the Lower Chippewa River State Natural Area.

Students in the "Environmental Conservation and Action" class will leave Phoenix Park in downtown Eau Claire at 9 a.m. Friday. They'll take the canoes out of the river at the Highway 85 rest stop around 11:30 a.m.

With the help of several community partners, the students are researching pollution issues along the river and learning how to promote community stewardship of the LCRSNA.

Students will use their findings to create a "Pedal and Paddle Pollution Tour," which will provide the public with information about pollution issues in the LCRSNA. The tour will be accessible from bike trails or the river.

Once completed, the tour will invite the public to hike, kayak, canoe or bike to pre-set GPS waypoints on the river, where they can read messages the students will create about various types of pollution affecting the river or listen to student-created podcasts.

The students also will produce a virtual version of the tour — a movie that people can view on YouTube and UW-Eau Claire's Watershed Institute for Collaborative Environmental Studies website.

During Friday's excursion, students will discuss with faculty and representatives of the community partner organizations the pollution messages they want to communicate via the tour. They also will identify locations for the GPS waypoints.

Faculty teaching the course are Dr. Ruth Cronje, associate professor of English; Dr. Paula Kleintjes Neff, professor of biology; Dr. Garry Running, professor of geography and anthropology; and Dr. Don Mowry, professor of social work and director of the Center for Service-Learning.

Students are working on the project with seven community agencies: Clear Vision Eau Claire — Sustainability Task Force; Lower Chippewa River Alliance; River Country Resource Conservation and Development Council; UW-Extension Lower Chippewa River Basin educator; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; UW-Eau Claire Environmental Adventure Center; and Xcel Energy.

The project has received financial support from UW-Eau Claire's Blugold Commitment and the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board.

For details about Friday's river trip or the project/class, contact the faculty leaders at:
Dr. Ruth Cronje, 715-836-5384,
Dr. Paula Kleintjes Neff, 715-836-5284 or
Dr. Garry Running, 715-836-2731,
Dr. Don Mowry, 715-836-4649,

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