River Tour 2017

Wisconsin’s rivers are dynamic products of the forces of nature. People have been living along Wisconsin’s rivers for about 12,000 years, during which time rivers have been both dividers and conduits. They have formed barriers and borders while also aiding in the dissemination of peoples, languages, customs, and goods.

Rivers make us contemplative: of history, of time, of connections, and of the interweaving of things.

The 2017 Wisconsin Idea Seminar RIVER TOUR traveled through the state, stopping on the banks of the Mississippi, the Kickapoo, and the Wisconsin. Rivers provided a narrative frame for participants to learn about and explore Wisconsin life.

We visited a dairy farm, met environmental stewards and business owners, walk the valleys, and explore the rolling hills of the Driftless Area, the non-glaciated portion of Wisconsin’s southwest through which the Mississippi, Kickapoo, and Wisconsin all flow. These are lands deeply familiar to many of the UW-Madison’s students and to residents of a state that take pride in its university.

The RIVER TOUR included:

  • the International Crane Foundation
  • an archaeological sites in Trempealeau
  • the Pump House Regional Arts Center in La Crosse
  • the La Farge Medical Clinic that serves nearby Amish communities
  • Ho-Chunk Nation historical sites in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve
  • the farming operations of Gottschalk Cranberry Inc.
  • University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
  • fifth-generation-owned Kelley Country Creamery and its milk source, Oak Lawn Farm
  • Milwaukee’s Vincent High School and their agricultural learning spaces

Read CALS’ GROW story about Vincent High School, A Big-City Ag High School Blossoms (Spring 2017)

The UW Cartography Lab produced this map and others for the 2017 Wisconsin Idea Seminar tour book. The 2017 journey covered many miles of Wisconsin with stops in between where Seminar participants met with farmers, environmental stewards, tribal leaders, high schools students, health practitioners, gardeners, educators, and many others.
Image of Mississippi River at Trempealeau, Wisconsin