River Rendezvous #39
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A Memorable 25th Annual Forum

         The 25th River Watch Forum wrapped up in early May in quite an unusual way.   Although the Forum projects took place in person, in classrooms and community meetings throughout the Red River Basin, we were unable to gather all our students together in one place to celebrate 25 years of River Watch.   Though nothing truly compares to gathering students from across our watershed, we did create a series of videos to highlight the work being done by our River Watch Teams and to celebrate another year of River Watch.
        For this year's Forum project, River Watch students and teachers delivered many innovative and exciting programs to engage people of all ages in watershed education.  Portions of our virtual Forum videos came from elementary classrooms, early morning team meetings before school, and community gatherings throughout the Red River Basin.  We had a total of 19 projects turned in from 13 subwatersheds in both the North Dakota and Minnesota sides of the Red River Basin.  Combined, the efforts of our River Watch Teams reached over 305 people!   

        Though we were expecting to gather in March with over 300 students in attendance and we are looking forward to working with students again, we were encouraged that our videos, and students projects, were viewed over 2,400 times!  With so much of this year’s Forum being focused on the future of River Watch, one thing we want to continue to grow in is sharing information or videos online to reach a greater amount of people.
        Our programming is meant to provide a diverse skill set and challenge students to think critically about the watershed they live in.  As seniors in River Watch move on to their next chapter, we would like to thank them for being in River Watch and encourage them to keep in touch about special projects and internships in the future. 
If you are interested in viewing our 25th Annual Forum Video Series, please check out our Facebook page or the home page of our website
- Asher Kingery, Project Specialist-
River Watch Forum Awards
Red Lake County Central took home the 2020 River Watch Forum Judges' Choice Gold Award, with a project that focused on Clean, Drain, Dry practices to prevent the spread of AIS.  Congratulations to RLCC for their second Gold Award in a row!
Climax-Shelly tied to receive the 2020 River Watch Forum Judges' Choice Silver Award.  Climax-Shelly designed an education program that engaged community members in watershed monitoring techniques and motivations. 
Larimore tied to receive the 2020 River Watch Forum Judges' Choice Silver Award.  Larimore hosted a Watershed Extravaganza for the 3rd graders at their school.  Students moved throughout their "watershed" but traveling around the school, participating in a series of activities. 
Stephen Argyle Central (SAC) tied for the 2020 River Watch Forum Judges' Choice Bronze Award.  SAC created an education program that utilized a series of skits to engage 3rd graders in topics of water quality. 
Norman County East (NCE) tied for the 2020 River Watch Forum Judges' Choice Bronze Award.  NCE created an education program around the concept of Beavers and their watershed.  
For this year's forum, all River Watch Team members and their advisors were given the opportunity to view all project videos and flyers and were then able to vote for their favorite!
People's Choice 1st Place - Larimore; Watershed Extravaganza
People's Choice 2nd Place - Schroeder Middle School, Grand Forks; Trash Dash
People's Choice 3rd Place - Hawley; The Value of the Buffalo
Outside of People's Choice and Judges Selection, awards were given for Manager's Choice and years consistently sampling as a part of the River Watch Program.  Cavalier River Watch was awarded the Manager's Choice Award for their project creating a mural of the Tongue River with the 3rd Graders from their school.
Red Lake Falls River Watch was awarded the 20 Year Monitoring Award
Thank you sponsors!
Moore Engineering, Inc.
Red River Watershed Management Board
North Dakota Department of Health
Buffalo-Red River Watershed District
Sand Hill River Watershed District
Houston Engineering, Inc.
Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Paul Swenson
George (Bud) Sinner Scholarship Recipients
         The International Water Institute is excited to announce our inaugural scholarship recipients.  Starting in 2020 by the Board of Directors, the George (Bud) Sinner Scholarship will provide support for River Watch students and for students from the Red River Basin interested in water and natural resources.  George (Bud) Sinner (1928-2018) was the International Water Institute's founder and inaugural chairperson.  His leadership, vision and commitment to better prepare the next generation of watershed leaders and decision-makers is highlighted in these awards. 

River Watch Scholarship:
        The River Watch Scholarship is available to seniors who have participated in the River Watch program for at least one year and have shown excellence in leadership through our programming.  We are pleased to award this scholarship to
Sidney Olson from Red Lake County Central High School!  Sidney has been in River Watch for three years and has helped her team grow in numbers and in their overall determination to deliver high-quality projects.  As a team captain for the last two years, she led teams of three and twelve students to the top award at the 2019 and 2020 River Watch Forum.  River Watch staff have had the opportunity to work with Sidney as she has taken part in all of the available activities offered.  Sidney’s work ethic and confidence in leadership are a great combination and will suit her well as she pursues a degree in Education.   Good luck Sidney and please keep in touch!
Water & Natural Resources Scholarship:
        The Water & Natural Resources Scholarship is available to seniors from any high school in the Red River Basin who are pursuing a career in Water Resources, Natural Resources, Environmental Science or another closely related field of study.  We are excited to award this scholarship to Ivy Daws from Larimore High School! Ivy will be pursuing a degree in Biology and is passionate about educating others.  Her interest and dedication to science is a great start to a career in the Biology field.  As a River Watch student herself, Ivy knows the value of water and watershed education as her team has focused on educating her community about the Turtle River Watershed.   We are excited to award this scholarship and look forward to hearing from Ivy over the next few years!
Social Media Highlights
River of Dreams Update
        Due to school closures and social distancing guidelines, all group canoe launches were cancelled for this spring, as were the last remaining classroom visits.  In response, our teachers have had to adapt accordingly and we have been working to support whatever alternative works best for them and their classrooms.  A majority of our participants have postponed until the fall, with hopes of being able to launch canoes as a class.  Other schools have opted to have students launch their canoes with their family and share photos with one another.  Though being present at the canoes launches and hearing the dreams of each student are highlights of our staff team, we have appreciated the opportunity to support our schools in whatever we can! 
      Keep on the look out for more updates as this unique River of Dreams season continues to unfold! 
Published by Asher Kingery and Danielle Graham

The International Water Institute:

1120 28th Avenue North, Suite B, Fargo, ND 58102

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International Water Institute · 1120 28th Avenue North · Suite B · Fargo, ND 58102 · USA

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