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Minnesota Sea Grant

St. Louis River Quest
May 15-18, 2017

Each May, boatloads of Duluth-Superior area sixth-graders travel through educational stations aboard the Vista Star and in South Pioneer Hall at the DECC. Carrying "passports" to document their adventures, they learn about the St. Louis River ecosystem and related commercial, industrial and recreational activities. During the 2.5-hour "excursions," students are introduced to topics ranging from pollution prevention and stopping aquatic invaders, to boating safety and commercial shipping.

This year, the St. Louis River Quest will draw 1,530 pre-teens from 14 area schools. Since its inception in 1993, River Quest has provided hands-on learning to over 23,000 students.

Vista Fleet. Photo by Chris J. Benson

After the event, the sixth-graders are encouraged to write about their experiences in an essay or a poem and enter their work in a writing contest. The Capt. Ray Skelton Awards, named after one of the founders of River Quest, are presented to the winners for the essay and poetry entries.

2017 River Quest Sponsors:

Financial support provided by:

Platinum ($1,000+)
Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Enbridge, Donald Weesner Foundation, Hallett Dock Co., ISD 709 Duluth Public Schools, Minnesota Sea Grant Program, Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program, Sappi, US Army Corps of Engineers, Vista Fleet, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District
Gold ($500+)
City of Duluth - Utility Operations, CRH US, Gerdau-Duluth Grinding Ball, Graymont (WI) LLC, Hunt Electric, Ikonics, Krech Ojard & Associates, Inc., Kwik Trip, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, Marine Tech, Minnesota Power, USDA Forest Service - Superior National Forest, Verso Corporation
Silver ($250+)
Altec Industries, Inc., AMI Consulting Engineers P.A., Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Calumet Superior, LLC, Great Lakes Fleet/Key Lakes, Midwest Energy Resources Co., Rotary Club of Superior, TKDA, Steve & Adele Yorde
Bronze ($100+)
A.W. Kuettel & Sons, Allouez Marine Supply, Jim & Susan Banks (in honor of Jerry Fryberger), Grandma's Restaurant Co., Nathan & Jennifer Hartman, Amy Herstad & Jim Einbu, Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, Doug & Kathy Jensen, Erin & Damian Makela (in honor of Jim Banks), Robert & Mary Maki, David Moeller & Bryce Nixon, Kathy Peterson, Brian & Melissa Resch, Aaron & Shelby Salmela, Jim & Kathy Sharrow (in memory of Capt. Ray Skelton), Paul & Pam Sneide, Yvonne Prettner Solon (in honor of Adele Yorde), Amy & Mark Wolcott, David & Jane Worley
Anonymous, Deb DeLuca & Eric Dott, Barbara & David Sheedy, Dr. Richard Stewart
River Quest. Photo by Chris J. Benson

2017 Learning Stations:

Vista Star

V1. Cold Hand Luke (Hypothermia & Water Safety)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
V2. Pollution & the River Watershed
US Environmental Protection Agency
V3. Fishy Physics (M,T)
Great Lakes Aquarium
V3. Bringing Back the Piping Plover (W,Th)
St. Louis River Alliance
V4. It floats, you don't. Wear your life jacket!
Duluth Sail & Power Squadron
V5. Get Habitattitude!
Minnesota Sea Grant Program
V6. Observation Station (Top Deck)
River Quest Volunteers

DECC Pioneer Hall

D1. Bacteria: The Real Workers at WLSSD
Western Lake Superior Sanitation District
D2. What's the difference between Storm & Sanitary Sewers? (M,T)
City of Duluth - Utility Operations
D2. Stream Table (W,Th)
USDA Forest Service - Superior National Forest
D3. Water Power (Hydroelectric) (M,T)
MN Power/Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center
D3. Great Lakes Cargo Capital (W,Th)
Duluth Seaway Port Authority
D4. Industrial Water: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (M,Tues)
D4. Sustainable Forestry (W,Th)
Verso Corporation
D5. Maritime Oil Spill Response
US Coast Guard &
D6. Break the Grip of the Rip!
Twin Ports Rip Currents


This event was funded in part by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, administered by the Office for Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under Award NA14NOS4190055 provided to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program.

River Quest Audio Listen to more audio from MN Sea Grant

Title Description Main Topic Aired Speaker(s)
River Quest's 25th Season (6:46) Host Jesse Schomberg talks with Adele Yorde, public relations director at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, about the history of the St. Louis River Quest for area sixth-graders. River Quest 2017.03.28
Host: Jesse Schomberg, MN Sea Grant; Guest: Adele Yorde, public relations director, Duluth Seaway Port Authority


River Quest Video View more MN Sea Grant videos on YouTube

Students board the Vista Star to learn about the Duluth-Superior estuary and the people who work there. Enjoy a glimpse of history, the St. Louis River, & River Quest.

Credits: Narrated by Ellie and Michael; Music by Michael; Edited by Chris J. Benson; Produced by Minnesota Sea Grant. Photographs: Photographer-Chris J. Benson; Historic Duluth Photos-St. Louis County Historical Society; Learning Station Photos- Special Thanks to all that donated; Vista Star with Slip Bridge-www.vistafleet.com (edited); DECC Map-www.decc.org (edited). Narration Writers: Writers-Kathy Peterson, Sarah Lerohl; Editors: Sharon Moen, Pattie Kolar, Susan van Druten.

This page last modified on April 25, 2017     © 1996 – 2018 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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