Big River Continuum gets a boost

December 17, 2019

Itasca-based artist exchange receives grant to expand reach in local communities. 

Big River Continuum -- a collaboration between Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories (IBSL) and A Studio in the Woods -- recently received a grant through the University of Minnesota Extension’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) program that aims to support sustainability work across the state. The grant will support engagement related to the program in communities near the station. 

The additional engagement will support the program’s goal of using art and science as a catalyst for  broader discussions about humanity’s connection and impact on the Mississippi River and its associated ecosystems. 

“We are integrating the arts at Itasca, less as a vehicle for specific initiatives and more as a way to broaden the conversation about the values of inquiry and co-creation with rural communities,” says IBSL Director Jonathan Schilling.

University Extension offers RSDP grants to support agriculture, clean energy, natural resources and resilient community projects across Minnesota. For the Big River Continuum, this grant will help support their efforts to build an artist-scientist cohort at Itasca. Schilling sees how this grant will not only support the group’s curation efforts, but also help broaden perspectives on our relationship to the Mississippi River.

“It is such a natural human instinct to wonder where the river goes and where it's been, and to stop and listen to it flow,” he says. “These connections run deeper than our science can describe. People long for these connections and to talk about how we are connected - this common ground is something to celebrate, and it depolarizes conservation issues by sharing clear goals.”

–Lance Janssen