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Last updated:
August 30, 2002

UW-RF Co-Sponsors Forum on St. Croix River Valley

The future of the St. Croix River Valley in Wisconsin and Minnesota is the topic for two free public forums titled, "The Future of the St. Croix River Valley: Our Common Landscape," scheduled for 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, and Sept. 26, at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wis. An exhibition of art with a landscape theme will complement the forums.

The forums are sponsored jointly by UW-River Falls, The Phipps Center for the Arts, the St. Croix Scenic Coalition, the National Park Service St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.

Because of the St. Croix River Valley's proximity to the Twin Cities metro area, the region has experienced fast-growing development and suburban sprawl. As farmland is replaced by housing developments, the ecosystem of the St. Croix River, one of the cleanest free-flowing rivers in the country, has become threatened. The St. Croix, which is designated by the U.S. Congress as a National Wild & Scenic River, is the only river on the North American Continent that is protected for its entire length.

Discussions will address the connection between the way residents live and the future of the river and its landscapes, with a range of topics that includes water quality; conservation; land use planning and Smart Growth; agriculture; and the rights and responsibilities of property owners.

Each forum will feature a keynote speaker, followed by a panel of local citizens representing a variety of voices and perspectives on the changing landscape of the Valley. There will be time after the speaker and panelists for dialogue with the audience.

The keynote speaker for Sept. 12 is Dave Cieslewicz, co-founder and executive director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, an organization that develops and supports land use policies to reduce sprawl and strengthen communities. His topic will be, "City Ethic: Urban Conservation and the New Environmentalism."

On Sept. 26, the keynote speaker will be Harvey M. Jacobs, professor at UW-Madison where he holds appointments with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. His topic will be, "Who owns the St. Croix River Valley?"

The evening will end with a short reception where attendees can talk with speakers and panelists, network with one another, and view the exhibit, "Uncanny Visions: Contemporary Romantic Landscapes," in the Phipps galleries.

Throughout the coming year, the St. Croix Scenic Coalition will sponsor several workshops in communities throughout the region, which will be followed by sessions on sustainable economic and community development sponsored by UW-River Falls.

The collaborative art exhibition in The Galleries of The Phipps Center for the Arts will be on view Sept. 6 through Oct. 13. The show will feature the works of 23 area artists who work in a range of media, including painting, drawing, ceramics, photography, video, installation and the Internet. For gallery hours, call 715/386-2305.

The Phipps Center for the Arts is located 15 minutes east of St. Paul in Hudson, Wis. Take I-94 to Exit 1, which is Hwy. 35 North. Follow Hwy. 35 through town to Locust Street and turn left.

For more information, call 715/425-3256.

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