Contact: Julie Galonska, 715-483-2270
Contact: Dale Cox, 715-483-2272
Education Program on April 18 Highlights St. Croix River
In celebration of Earth Day, National Park Week, and the 40th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and the Festival Theatre have teamed up to bring 520 area sixth grade students to the St. Croix River on Friday, April 18, for a day of music, history, culture, environmental science, and a lot of river appreciation.
Hosted by Festival Theatre, the Big Top Chautauqua Blue Canvas Orchestra will perform their musical piece Wild Woods and Waters, a spectacular, multi-media tribute to the St. Croix River and Great Lakes waterways. Performances will take place at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.
Students will also make hand-bound nature journals, walk along the Gaylord Nelson Riverwalk (named for Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson), see first-person lumberjack interpretation by Mike Bauer, and view The St. Croix: A Northwoods Journey, a new film produced by the National Park Service. Fiber artist Loretta Pederson will also collaborate with students on a river-inspired art piece, featuring the St. Croix watershed in earth-toned wools along with student composed expressions on paper woven in among the fibers. Finally, the students will take a hike along segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and through St. Croix Falls’ 400-acre Wert Family Nature Preserve.
Students will rotate through the Big Top Chautauqua performances and the other activities between 9:00 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.
"This event serves as a kick-off for celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, legislation passed in 1968 that remains of huge importance to this river and our valley," said Park Ranger Dale Cox of the National Park Service. "Education, awareness, and enrichment are the objectives of our year-long celebration. Involving young people in the kick-off event seemed fitting and important." Take Me to the River is a program sponsored by the National Park Service in partnership with surrounding county extensions that encourages youth groups to develop service-learning projects on the river during this anniversary year. For more information, visit
"We hope to leave everyone with a feeling of gratitude for the treasure of a valley with a clear, clean river that is ours forever should we accept the job of caring for it," says Amy Klein, Arts Education Director at Festival Theatre. "We need to teach kids to love what we have here, to respect it and never take it for granted."
All activities will take place in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. The St. Croix River Visitor Center is located at 401 North Hamilton Street. The Festival Theatre is located at 210 Washington Street.
Public performances of Big Top Chautauqua’s "Wild Woods and Waters" will take place at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, and at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 20. For tickets and more information, call 715-483-3387 or 888-887-6002.
Did You Know?
Before the invention of refrigerators, people harvested ice from rivers and lakes in the winter and stored the ice, covered in sawdust, in buildings. An ice house, storing ice from the river, once stood near the site of the park headquarters for St. Croix NSR, in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin.