Help Us Inspire the Next Generation!

Mary Hammes, Environmental Stewardship and Volunteer Manager, Mississippi Park Connection

One of our favorite things about fall is watching the park come alive for young people who experience our river through educational field trips. There is so much to explore as the seasons change: What kind of trees grow near the river? What kind of birds live and migrate along the river? How does phenology interplay with our changing climate?

Such joyful curiosity comes naturally to youth when exploring the park. Tapping into this curiosity is a great way to engage kids in our community and teach them about the river. There are many opportunities for volunteers to encourage and assist learners in our riparian classroom. Volunteers help kids learn how to navigate their way using a compass; how to fish for the first time; or understand the implications of climate change.

One example is our Big River Journey program, which offers an integration of river and classroom experiences that connect 3rd-5th grade students with the science and heritage of the Mississippi River and promote stewardship. Another program, Journey to the Falls, couples classroom and river experiences with a riverboat excursion featuring hands-on learning stations, journaling, and visual literacy activities. The common thread in these programs though, is the opportunities they create for us to inspire the next generation of caretakers for this great river. But we couldn’t do without the help of volunteers!

Do you enjoy working with kids, especially outside? Do you want to spread your knowledge or enthusiasm for the Mississippi River? We are seeking volunteers to help bring the river to life for community youth in our education programs. Help us bring the classroom outdoors this school year!

Contact Ranger Karen at or 651-293-8458 to learn more about educational volunteer opportunities.