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Minnesota Sea Grant

St. Louis River Quest
May 9-12, 2016

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 1,500 pre-teens from 14 area schools. Since its inception in 1993, River Quest has provided hands-on learning to over 19,900 students.

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.

2016 News Release:


2016 River Quest Sponsors:

Financial support provided by:

Platinum ($1,000+)
Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Enbridge, Donald Weesner Foundation, Gerdau-Duluth Grinding Ball, 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
Gold ($500+)
City of Duluth Stormwater, Compass Minerals, CRH US, Graymont (WI) LLC, Ikonics, Krech Ojard & Associates, Inc., Kwik Trip, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, Minnesota Power, USDA Forest Service – Superior National Forest, Verso Corporation, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District
Silver ($250+)
Altec HiLine, LLC, AMI Consulting Engineers P.A., Calumet Superior, LLC, Hunt Electric, Marine Tech, TKDA, Steve & Adele Yorde
Bronze ($100+)
A.W. Kuettel & Sons, Allouez Marine Supply, Anonymous, Grandma's Restaurant Co., Great Lakes Aquarium, LHB, Midwest Energy Resources Co., David Moeller & Bryce Nixon, Kathy Peterson, Brian & Melissa Resch, Aaron & Shelby Salmela, Paul Sneide, South Pier Inn, David & Jane Worley

2016 Learning Stations:

  1. Cold Hand Luke (Hypothermia & Water Safety) - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  2. What is the Es-chew-air-ee? - Lake Superior NERR
  3. Bringing Back the Piping Plover - St. Louis River Alliance
  4. Fishy Physics - Great Lakes Aquarium & MN DNR MinnAqua
  5. It floats, you don't. Wear your life jacket! - Duluth Sail & Power Squadron
  6. Get Habitattitude! - Minnesota Sea Grant Program
  7. Observation Station - River Quest Volunteers
  8. Bacteria: The Real Workers at WLSSD - Western Lake Superior Sanitation District
  9. What's the difference between Storm & Sanitary Sewers? - City of Duluth Utility
  10. Stream Table - USDA Forest Service - Superior National Forest
  11. Hydroelectric Power - Minnesota Power
  12. Great Lakes Cargo Capital - Duluth Seaway Port Authority
  13. Industrial Water: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Sappi
  14. Sustainable Forestry - Verso Co.
  15. Oil in the Environment - U.S. Coast Guard & USCG Auxiliary
  16. Break the Grip of the Rip - Twin Ports Rip Currents

St. Louis River Quest
May 11-14, 2015

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 1,500 pre-teens from 14 area schools. Since its inception in 1993, River Quest has provided hands-on learning to over 19,900 students.

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.

2015 News Release:


2015 River Quest Sponsors:

Financial support provided by:

Platinum ($1,000+)
Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Gerdau-Duluth Grinding Ball, ISD 709 Duluth Public Schools, Minnesota Sea Grant Program, Sappi, US Army Corps of Engineers, Vista Fleet
Gold ($500+)
City of Duluth Utilities, Enbridge, Genesis Attachments, Graymont (WI) LLC, Hallett Dock Co., Holcim (US) Inc., Krech Ojard & Associates, P.A., Kwik Trip, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, Minnesota Power, USDA Forest Service - Superior National Forest, Verso Corporation, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District
Silver ($250+)
Altec HiLine, LLC, AMI Consulting Engineers P.A., Calumet Superior, LLC, Hunt Electric, Marine Tech, Midwest Energy Resources Co., TKDA
Bronze ($100+)
A.W. Kuettel & Sons, Allouez Marine Supply, Grandma's Restaurant Co., Great Lakes Aquarium, LHB, David Moeller & Bryce Nixon, Brian & Melissa Resch, South Pier Inn, Adele & Steve Yorde

2015 Learning Stations:

  1. Cold Hand Luke (Hypothermia & Water Safety) - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  2. What is the Es-chew-air-ee? - Lake Superior NERRF
  3. Bringing Back the Piping Plover - St. Louis River Alliance
  4. Fishy Physics - Great Lakes Aquarium & MN DNR MinnAqua
  5. It floats, you don't. Wear your life jacket! - Duluth Sail & Power Squadron
  6. Get Habitattitude! - Minnesota Sea Grant Program
  7. Observation Station - River Quest Volunteers
  8. Bacteria: The Real Workers at WLSSD - Western Lake Superior Sanitation District
  9. What's the difference between Storm & Sanitary Sewers? - City of Duluth Utility
  10. Stream Table - USDA Forest Service - Superior National Forest
  11. Hydroelectric Power - Minnesota Power
  12. Great Lakes Cargo Capital - Duluth Seaway Port Authority
  13. Sustainable Forestry - Verso Co.
  14. Industrial Water: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Sappi
  15. Oil in the Environment - U.S. Coast Guard & USCG Auxiliary
  16. Break the Grip of the Rip - Twin Ports Rip Currents

St. Louis River Quest, May 12-15, 2014

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 over 1,400 pre-teens from 12 area schools and additional homeschoolers. Since its inception in 1993, River Quest has provided hands-on learning to over 18,500 students.

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.

2014 News Releases:

2014 Sponsors:

Financial support provided by:

Platinum ($1,000+)
Duluth Public Schools, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program, Rotary Club of Duluth No. 25, Sappi Fine Paper, US Army Corps of Engineers, Vista Fleet
Gold ($500+)
Gerdau-Duluth Grinding Ball, Graymont (WI) LLC, Holcim (US) Inc., Krech Ojard & Associates, P.A., Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, Minnesota Power, Minnesota Sea Grant Program, NewPage, USDA Forest Service - Superior National Forest, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District
Silver ($250+)
AMI Consulting Engineers P.A., Genesis Attachments, Hallett Dock Co., Hunt Electric Corporation, Midwest Energy Resources Co., Moline Machinery, TKDA
Bronze ($100+)
A.W. Kuettel & Sons, Allouez Marine Supply, Grandma's Restaurant Co., Great Lakes Aquarium, Marine Tech, South Pier Inn

2014 Learning Stations:

  1. Cold Hand Luke (Hypothermia & Water Safety) - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  2. It floats, you don't. Wear your life jacket! - Duluth Sail & Power Squadron
  3. Bringing Back the Piping Plover - St. Louis River Alliance
  4. Fishy Physics - Great Lakes Aquarium & MN DNR MinnAqua
  5. Get Habitattitude! - Minnesota Sea Grant Program
  6. Break the Grip of the Rip - Twin Ports Rip Currents
  7. What is the Es-chew-air-ee? - Lake Superior NERR
  8. What's the difference between Storm & Sanitary Sewers? - City of Duluth Utility Operations
  9. Sustainable Forestry - NewPage
  10. Bacteria: The Real Workers at WLSSD - Western Lake Superior Sanitation District
  11. We Catch All Fugitives - Midwest Energy Resources Company
  12. Great Lakes Cargo Capital - Duluth Seaway Port Authority
  13. Industrial Water: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Sappi Fine Paper
  14. Protecting the Environment during an Oil Spill - U.S. Coast Guard & USCG Auxiliary
  15. Stream Table - USDA Forest Service - Superior National Forest

St. Louis River Quest
May 13-16, 2013


2013 News Releases:

2013 Sponsors

Platinum ($1,000+)
BNSF Railway Foundation, Duluth Public Schools, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Vista Fleet
Gold ($500+)
Graymont (WI) LLC, Holcim (US) Inc., Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, Marine Tech, Minnesota Power, Minnesota Sea Grant Program, NewPage, Sappi Fine Paper, US Army Corps of Engineers, USDA Forest Service - Superior National Forest, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District
Silver ($250+)
Azcon Corporation, Gavilon Grain LLC, Hallett Dock Co., Midwest Energy Resources Co.
Bronze ($100+)
Allouez Marine Supply, Grandma's Restaurant Co., Lynn Williams Graphic Design

2013 Learning Stations:

  1. What is the difference between Storm & Sanitary Sewers? - City of Duluth Utility Operations
  2. Pollution & the River Watershed - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  3. Bacteria: The Real Workers at WLSSD - Western Lake Superior Sanitation District
  4. Sustainable Forestry - NewPage
  5. Great Lakes Cargo Capital - Duluth Seaway Port Authority
  6. Living Lands & Waters - Sappi Fine Paper
  7. Oil Spill Cleanup - U.S. Coast Guard & USCG Auxiliary
  8. Stream Table - Superior National Forest
  9. "Cold Hand Luke" Hypothermia & Water Safety - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  10. Fish Families - Great Lakes Aquarium & MN DNR MinnAqua Program
  11. It floats, you don't. Wear your life jacket! - Duluth Sail & Power Squadron
  12. What is the Es-chew-air-ee? - Lake Superior NERR
  13. Get Habitattitude! - Minnesota Sea Grant Program
  14. Break the Grip of the Rip - Twin Ports Rip Currents

St. Louis River Quest
May 14-17, 2012

Boatloads of area sixth-grade students, carrying "passports" to document their adventures, will travel through educational stations on the Vista Star and, for the first time, in Pioneer Hall at the DECC. The River Quest 2012 program is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a continued focus on the St. Louis River.

St. Louis River Quest 2012, scheduled for May 14-17, will draw almost 1,200 sixth-graders from 13 schools in the Duluth-Superior area, bringing the total number of students who have benefited from the program to more than 16,000 since its inception in 1993.

River Quest will provide hands-on learning activities for students in order to raise their awareness of the St. Louis River ecosystem and interrelated commercial, industrial and recreational activities. During two-and-one-half-hour sessions offered in the morning and afternoon, students will visit 12 learning stations staffed by volunteers who cover topics ranging from pollution prevention and stopping aquatic invaders, to boating safety and commercial shipping.

After the event, the sixth-graders will be encouraged to write about their experiences in an essay or a poem and enter their work in a writing contest. The Ray Skelton Award, named after one of the founders of River Quest, will be presented to the winner of the writing contest.

Financial sponsors for 2012 included: Duluth Public Schools, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Holcim (US) Inc., Sappi Fine Paper, Vista Fleet, Marine Tech, Minnesota Power, Minnesota Sea Grant Program, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District, Calumet Superior LLC, Fraser Shipyards, Gavilon Grain, Graymont (WI) LLC, Hallett Dock Co., Midwest Energy Resources Co., NewPage, Subway, Allouez Marine, Grandma's Restaurant Co., National Bank of Commerce

2012 News Releases:

2012 Learning Stations:

  1. What is the difference between Storm & Sanitary Sewers? - City of Duluth Utility Operations
  2. Pollution & the River Watershed - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  3. Bacteria: The Real Workers at WLSSD - Western Lake Superior Sanitation District
  4. Sustainable Forestry - NewPage
  5. Great Lakes Cargo Capital - Duluth Seaway Port Authority
  6. Living Lands & Waters - Sappi Fine Paper
  7. Oil Spill Cleanup - U.S. Coast Guard & USCG Auxiliary
  8. Stream Table - Superior National Forest
  9. "Cold Hand Luke" Hypothermia & Water Safety - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  10. Fish Families - Great Lakes Aquarium & MN DNR MinnAqua Program
  11. It floats, you don't. Wear your life jacket! - Duluth Sail & Power Squadron
  12. What is the Es-chew-air-ee? - Lake Superior NERR
  13. Get Habitattitude! - Minnesota Sea Grant Program
  14. Break the Grip of the Rip - Twin Ports Rip Currents

St. Louis River Quest
May 9-12, 2011

Boatloads of area sixth-grade students, carrying "passports" to document their adventures, will travel through the Duluth-Superior Harbor this spring aboard the Vista Star to learn all they can about the St. Louis River watershed through the River Quest adventure.

St. Louis River Quest, scheduled for May 9-12, 2011, will again draw over 1,000 sixth graders – bringing to over 15,000 the total number of students that have benefited from the program since its inception in 1993.

River Quest provides hands-on learning activities for students to raise their awareness of the St. Louis River ecosystem and interrelated commercial, industrial and recreational activities. During two-and-a-half-hour boat trips, students visit 11 learning stations staffed by volunteers who cover topics ranging from pollution prevention and stopping aquatic invaders, to boating safety and commercial shipping.

Financial sponsors for 2011 included: the Vista Fleet, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Sappi Fine Paper, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hallett Dock Company, Allouez Marine, and Grandma's Restaurant Co.

Learning station sponsors for 2011 included: City of Duluth, Duluth Sail & Power Squadron, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Duluth Public Schools, Great Lakes Aquarium, Minnesota Sea Grant Program, MN DNR MinnAqua Program, NewPage, Sappi Fine Paper, Superior National Forest, Twin Ports Rip Currents, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD)

2011 News Releases:

2011 Learning Stations:

  1. Cold Hand Luke: Hypothermia and Water Safety. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  2. Shared Station:
    (M,W,Th) Storm vs. Sanitary Sewers. City of Duluth
    (T) Sustainable Forestry. NewPage
  3. Fish Families. Great Lakes Aquarium and Minnesota DNR MinnAqua Program
  4. Shared Station:
    (M-Th) It Floats, You Don't. Wear Your Life Jacket. Duluth Sail & Power Squadron
    (M-Th) Break the Grip of the Rip. Twin Ports Rip Currents
  5. Efficient Industrial Water Use - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Sappi
  6. The Real Workers at WLSSD. WLSSD
  7. Shared Station:
    (M) Sustainable Forestry. NewPage
    (T,W,Th) Great Lakes Cargo Capital: Port of Duluth-Superior. Duluth Seaway Port Authority
  8. Stream Table. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Forest Service-Superior National Forest
  9. Get Habitattitude! University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program
  10. Containing Oil Spills. U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
  11. Observation Station. Observation & Police Reserves

+ Man Overboard Demonstration. U.S. Coast Guard (during voyage)


St. Louis River Quest
May 10-13, 2010

The 2010 St. Louis River Quest will teach 1,050 6th graders throughout Duluth-Superior how human actions impact water quality and how water impacts the environment. Youngsters will tour the harbor aboard the Vista Star, set up as a floating classroom with 10 learning stations, giving students hands-on experience in aquatic science.

The purpose of the event, now in its 18th year, is to instill environmental stewardship, and an understanding of the uses of the harbor—the industrial, commercial and recreational activities in the Duluth-Superior harbor, also called the St. Louis River basin.

Lessons this year are provided by the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Minnesota Sea Grant, the City of Duluth, Duluth Sail & Power Squadron, Great Lakes Aquarium, Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute, Minnesota DNR MinnAqua Program, Murphy Oil USA, NewPage, Sappi Fine Paper, Superior National Forest, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Western Lake Superior Sanitary District.

Participating schools from around the region include Edison Charter Schools, Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Hermantown School, Holy Rosary School, Marshall School, Morgan Park Middle School, St. James, St. John's, St. Rose, Superior Cathedral, Superior Middle School, and Woodland Middle School.

2010 News Releases:

Financial sponsors for 2010 included: the Vista Fleet, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Marine Tech, Minnesota Power Foundation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bernick’sTM Pepsi, Hallett Dock Co., Sappi Fine Paper, Gavilon Grain LLC, Lafarge North America-Superior, Midwest Energy Resources Company, National Bank of Commerce, Grandma'sTM Restaurant Co. and Zenith Management.


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