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Robbie Monk's Journal May 11th/Final Reflection
Today was the last day of the trip. I woke up really early and had a nice walk on the lake. We cleaned up the cabin and packed our things in the van until 9:30, when we left for the Dakota School Celebration. We rolled in at 10:50 and were forced to hide in the bushes for 10 minutes, so we wouldn't be too early.

As we walked down the road for the celebration, the student K-5 began cheering and clapping, we all felt like heroes. It was so cool, it was the best feeling ever. They sang us songs, and Peggy introduced us to all the students.

We broke into stations, Our group members making two stations out of six. The first station, Dan, Sarah, and I, talked about the trip, what we liked the most, answered questions, and showed them the video of the trip that we made. The second station, Martina, Anna, and Max, sang songs with the students. Whenever the video was playing, I would run over to their group and help with the singing. After the stations, we had lunch and listened to a speaker (he was kinda boring).

At the end, we sang some more songs and walked the kids back to the buses. They waved to us until we were out of sight, it was like the feeling on the way in, and nothing could have been better. Peggy, John, Sara, and Max were then interviewed by a Winona TV station. We walked to the van and drove back toward Hamline, to be back at exactly 5:30, the scheduled get back time.

That concludes the entire trip. Word: love Song title: Hello Goodbye.


This was the best trip I have ever been on, and I will never forget it or especially the people who were on it with me. I'd like to thank all the people who sponsored it and organized the trip.

Peggy, it was great, you topped off the trip and made it more enjoyable for everyone, even if you did the PR thing for most of the time. John, the video is amazing, the cameras were everywhere but it was so worth it, your driving abilities were also top notch. Erika, you added a happy, full of cheer presence to the trip, even if you were cold all the time. (Look, the sun, I'd better put on my coat). Pam, thank you for your enthusiasm and willingness to participate in all activities, especially in the act of conversation. Martina, I don't know what the trip would have been like without you, you volunteered first, were so competitive, and you added so much to my trip and everyone else's too. You were WONDERFUL!!! Thank you for everything. I hope to see you again. Anna, I'm sorry I had trouble pronouncing your name sometimes, you were so upbeat and peppy, you made it more enjoyable, by extending your happiness and friendship to all in the group. (Speed not accuracy). Sara, your Titanic play was great, I love your sense of humor, also, you sing so beautifully I was amazed. You were so kind the whole time, and even showed me how to use chopsticks and swear in German, thank you. I will miss you. Dan, you are so built, you were so devoted to your project and took an objective view on everything, you were never mean, always caring, and I enjoyed the time I spent with you, thank you. Max, you are my hero only second to Peggy and several others. That's high praise, you remember things so well, and whenever something happened you were like, "I'm fine, things happen", and you were always so kind in translating German and explaining things kindly, thank you.

With the first ride in the car, I thought the trip was going to be hell, with no one talking to each other and no good times. Even by the end of the day, we had become acquainted and things were looking better. One of my favorite things about the trip was getting to know the individuals I previously talked about. Getting to know 8 people well over the course of the week and seeing how we all changed with the week's activities, was a true highlight, and I will never forget the 7 of you I got to know so well.

Also, thank you to Martina, Sara, Max, and Anna for not talking German the entire time. I understood none of it, even if you did speak it only when you didn't want me to understand what you were saying. (Insults in German). With such nice people, it was easy to learn all about the river, especially with all the people we went to talk to who were extremely knowledgeable in their field.

I thoroughly enjoyed Pat Nunnally, who showed us St. Anthony Falls and the surrounding area. He was a professional historian and knew lots of information. Another highlight of the trip for me was the high ropes course. It was an excellent experience because when people were scared (or facing a fear), and others helped them through it, the group become closer together to each other.

Also, the majority of the group didn't trust me very much, and when I helped them with as much encouragement as I could muster, it changed their view of me. That was a good turning point of the week, and it was also so much fun, what an adrenaline rush. There is no way, in my mind, that the trip could have been better in any way. I had so much fun and learned so much about the river; nothing has ever compared to this experience. I will never forget you guys. Thank you Mr. Leiseth for this excellent opportunity. Thank you again to Peggy, John, Erika, Pam, Anna, Dan, Sara, Max, and Martina. You were all WONDERFUL!!! I mean WOW!

Robbie Monk's Journal May 10th

Pickwick, MN, a small town many have probably never heard of, but was once the site of the largest flour mill for miles around in Southeastern Minnesota. We rose early this morning, and were on our way to the canoeing by 10 minutes after 7:00. On the way, we listened to Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits; it was good because it was relaxing and fun to sing along. We got canoes at The Little River General Store, which rents canoes, bikes, cross-country skis, and also has an antique shop. It seemed odd.

We set off canoeing at about 10:00, I canoed with Martina, and our canoeing skills were far superior compared to those of the others. During our journey, we splashed one another and had a fun time, everyone got at least a little wet, especially Anna, and I got water in my ear. We were finished by 12:15 and ate lunch where we landed.

We then proceeded to Winona and had a stop at the Winona National and Savings Bank. At the bank, we admired the stain glass windows and looked around in their vault, which is special cutting and drilling proof. The huge vault door is closed at night by the strongest man alive (or one of ladies who closes the bank).

We then went to Pickwick, and the Pickwick Mill, where we got a tour from the owners who are restoring it to its original milling ability. Interesting facts about the mill: It was used to supply the Union Army with flour during the Civil War, the walls are 4 feet at the bottom and 18 inches at the top, and no nails were used in the initial construction of the mill. The mill had six floors, most of which were used as storage, and was completely powered by a 20 foot tall water wheel.

On the way back to the lodge in the van, I fell asleep, and we were back in no time at all. After returning to the lodge we began journaling (which I am currently doing). We already had an excellent dinner of tortellini, ravioli, French bread, salad, white sauce, and red sauce. The evening is also shaping up to be a relaxing one, it should be a good one. Goodbye and goodnight. Enjoy the words and song title. Word: groovy Song title: The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) by Simon and Garfunkul

Robbie Monk's Journal May 9th
It (the flood) could have been worse. I couldn't sleep, so I woke up at 6:15, and it was an hour before anyone else was even awake. We didn't have much planned today and we didn't do too much either. After my favorite day of the trip, we took time out of the schedule to rest, and it was "wonderful."

In the morning we edited video and I was interviewed by Peggy and so was Martina. Martina is the best (even better than Anna and Sara). The video that John masterminded is truly amazing and I hope you will all have time to see it. While I was doing an amazing interview, Anna and Max went out into the neighborhood to do their interviewing thing with the neighborhood folk.

After lunch, at 12:45, we went to help people with the clearing of the debris in their yards. First, we helped Joan by moving things from her basement to her garage, also we picked up the wood and stairways in her yard. After an hour, we went and talked to neighbor Libby (we didn't actually do any real hard labor, just talking). Sara is the best. After Libby, we went to help Bob, who was already hard at work making a new deck.

By this time it was 4:00, and it was a race to finish editing the video and make it to the UPS place by 6:00. We made it to the UPS place at 6:02 and thankfully , it was still open. We then proceeded to the library to gather information, I printed out 25 pages of stuff and it cost me 2 dollars and 50 cents. CoRIPOFFugh. See, the rip off is in the cough. Anna is the best.

Then, instead of cooking again, we went to Golden China, a wonderful Chinese restaurant. While, we were there we were under a tornado warning (Martina and Sara seemed quite frightened), it was funny. Also, there was an enjoyable lightning show, it was wonderful.

On the way back, it poured down rain, and we could barely see out the window. We unpacked the groceries, which Peggy and John had gotten while the rest of us were at the library, and everyone got wet. Now, we are writing our journals and watching the movie "The Dakota Conflict." Overall, it was a relaxing day that was a good break from the planned schedule. Now, you enjoy the word and song title of the day as much as I enjoyed my day. Goodbye. Word: wonderful Song Title:"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith

Robbie Monk's Journal May 8th
After Peggy set a school night curfew of 11:00 PM, we were forced to go to bed at midnight. We had planned go canoeing at 7:00, but it quite windy, so, instead, we lazed around at the lodge until 9:30. During that time we played cards, dozed off, and laid around.

We met David Palmquist at 10:00 along a road near the bluffs of Southeastern Minnesota. He talked with us about the geological history and bluff ecology. We then piled into the van and followed David's DNR truck along a gravel road and saw many birds, turtles, more birds, and geese (whether those can be considered birds or not only Sara knows, but I'm afraid to ask her, just kidding, I'm joking).

We reached the bluffs and climbed the nearest one, which was about 150 vertical feet at a 70 degree upward angle. On the way up, David found a garter snake and passed it around for everyone to see at the top, and Martina put it in my hair. It felt weird. On top of the bluff, we discussed controlled burning and burning in general, also, we talked about exotic species of plants. For example, in David's back yard, in Winona, he has Locust trees, buckthorn, and Honeysuckle, all of which try to dominate one area and are hard to eradicate.

After we climbed down from the bluff, David brought out the Timber Rattlesnake, which he let roam through the grass. We got a brief history of the Timber Rattler and other snakes in the area. FYI: Minnesota was the last state to remove the bounty of Timber Rattlesnake in 1989. After we were in the van to leave, Max remembered that we had forgotten to talk of something that David had planned to tell us. He told us of Algific Talus Slope, which are caves that have permafrost in them all year, a glacial habitat. After this conversation was completed we stopped for gas and returned to the cabin for lunch of more sandwiches.

We later went canoeing through a neighborhood that was underwater. Sara and Max were in the same canoe and they knew very little about it, so they had many problems. Anna is the best. We came back to the cabin and journaled happily for a time until it was time to go to the ropes course. Sara is the greatest! (truly she is, and so is everyone else on the trip). We went to the high ropes course and it was the highlight of the trip up to this point.

It is thirty feet high, and everyone was pushed beyond their "comfort level" (there you go Mr. Hawkins). I also surprised everyone else, who previously didn't trust me, by being very encouraging and supportive. It was a great time, and everyone participated 110%. We came to a dinner of tacos and cookies, and everyone helped with the cooking, first time of the week.

After dinner, we set out toward the beach with three bags of marshmallows (Martina and Sara had never tried them before). After we made a fire, we found sticks, made them pointy, and got to the marshmallow heating. Martina tried one, didn't like it and got sick. After we put out our excellent bonfire, we went back inside for the journaling, which I am currently doing at the early hour of 11:30. Go journal!! Now it's time for the word and song title of the day. Hooray, everyone's favorite time of the day. Word: shan't Song Title: Help! by The Beatles "It's better than perfect, it's done," Peggy Knapp, everyone's hero

Robbie Monk's Journal May 7th

So much could have been done but so little has been accomplished. After going to bed at 1:00, I rose at 7:00 while the rest of the group woke at 8:00, except Martina who feels the need to go jogging in morning (only she knows why). We left at nine to go to the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) building in Lake City. There we met with Mike Davis, who showed us a slide show demonstrating the ecological danger that the Mississippi River is in at the present time.

He talked about how, since the very beginning, humans have tried to control the river. Humans exploited the fur trade (beavers, who Alice Outwater said could have been responsible for creating a huge number of wetlands), humans utilized the process of clear cutting which leads to erosion and sedimentation of the river. Mike is a fisheries biologist and ecologist, who has the attitude that dams and human control of the Mississippi River is bad.

After the slide show, we went with Mike to have lunch near a flooded farm with several snakes, much to Anna's dislike. After lunch we traveled to the sand dunes, a highlight of the day, where we walked around, saw flowers, and took in the beautiful scenery. And I have to say that Sara is the most intelligent girl I have ever met. She is the greatest. (Thank you Sara).

After the sand dunes we went to see Prickly Pear Cacti, and mean Martina took the pokey part and poked people with it. It hurts. We then came back to lodge to write our journals. When I was about one sentence into the journal, I got into a staring contest with Martina for over one hour. We had to quit when it was dinnertime and both John and Peggy were become quite upset. That was the true highlight of my day.

Everyone ate dinner, and afterward we went to pick up the debris from the flood on the beach. Now I am writing the rest of my journal, it's quite a fun time. Overall, it was a very good day. Now, I hope you enjoy the word and song title of the day. Goodbye. Word: jogging Song Title: Fish Heads

Robbie Monk's Journal May 6th

After a dinner of linguine and salad, we discussed the day's activities and watched an exciting video called "Flood." The movie was about the flood of 1993, and how it affected a nine-state area.

Later, as I tried to doze off Martina and Sara began hitting me with pillows, and that began an intense pillow fight in which everyone participated. It was great fun, even though Anna refuses to hit in the head (it's just a pillow). When Peggy broke up our fun time, we sat around and talked for a while, I washed the dishes, we all exchanged glasses, and everyone got a creative nickname. My nickname is Fuffy, I don't know why, but I think it's because of my hair. (You will find everyone's nickname in Sara or Anna's journal, which you all read everyday anyway).

We went to sleep at 11:45 and got up at 7:00. At around 8:30, after breakfast, we went to Cannon Falls to rent bikes and helmets (safety first). We biked to Welch (a small town about 10 miles from Cannon Falls, Population 50). We stopped at the Trout Scream Café to get drinks and chat with Erika, the new member of our crew who joined us today. On the way there, Max fell off his bike (but he will say he fell "with" his bike) and on the way back we saw a snake (possibly a Bull snake) of which Anna was very scared. We stopped at a park to eat our lunch, and during lunch, Dan got pictures of ducks and it started raining. Perfect timing for the rain because we had just finished our 20 mile bike ride, as Peggy says "it's better to be lucky than good."

After lunch we were going to go to Red Wing to take part in a scavenger hunt, but everyone was much too tired, and we returned to the cabin place to take naps and write journals (which I am presently writing). After lazing around for a while we (Max, John) edited the few short minutes of video we collected over the past two days. Also, the camera was on in the bag, so many of the precious minutes of tape were unusable.

Later, we (Dan and I) played foosball while Martina and Sara played ping pong. We then ate a dinner of Pokemon and Cheese (a variation of Macaroni and Cheese) and a compilation of all the other dinners we have had this week, weekend, or whatever. We then went our separate ways to journal writing, editing, and nagging (mainly Peggy).

May all who read this have a better day than you would have had if you didn't read it. Here's your word and song title of the day, enjoy! Word: boat Song Title: "Drunk Sincerity" by Bad Religion

Robbie Monk's Journal May 5th
After I finished my journal entry yesterday, we ate dinner from a pizza kit, discussed daily activities and our expectations for the trip. We then went for a walk and participated in team building activities. We did the "zigzag" and did the thing with the boards and the moving of them together like a team.

Both these things will be explained in the video that we spent four hours editing, a video you all will see eventually. It was by far the best video I have ever had a part in making. After we played ping-pong and foosball until 12:30 we finally went to sleep, at least we didn't stay up all night. Even though we're still all like walking zombies.

We awoke to the lovely voice of John at 7:00 and wandered from the dank basement for a leisurely breakfast of cereal (marshmallow mateys, said by Martina and Sara to look like cat food) in tiny children's bowls and donuts. After watching the video several more times, we piled in the van and drove to the technical college in Red wing to take part in the live webcast.

While Peggy and John set up the electronic equipment, the rest of drew on a nearby whiteboard, played tic-tac-toe, hangman, and the line game. As the time dragged on and the webcast became only a dream, we gathered around cards and played games including, spit, speed, BS, AH, and 7 up 7 down.

As Peggy swore at the electronics, Martina and Sara translated them into German, it was quite amusing. After a long while, we got in the van and traveled to Barn Bluff. We climbed multiple tiers of stairs and took in the breathtaking view at the end. After that we got in the van and were on our way to wander around the city of Stockholm, Population 89.

Anna and Max had and recorded an interesting conversation with two commercial fishermen, while I walked to various shops looking for photographs of the river (I never did find any, I was quite disappointed). Now, I'm writing my journal, the true highlight of my day (except not really).

Now, I shall leave you with a word and song title of the day. Word: antiestablishmentarianism Song Title: "I;m a cranky old yank in a clanky old tank on the streets of Yokohama with my Honolulu mama doing those beat-o beat-o flat on my seat-o Hirohito blues" Walking on the railroad tracks is fun. Hello Mr. Leiseth, hope you liked the video.

Robbie Monk's Journal May 4th
The chicken came before the egg. For, when God created life, He said go forth and multiply. The chicken decided that to multiply it would lay eggs and sustain the cycle of life that way.

We started our day at Hamline University by playing a game of "Tetris," as Pam called it, which is just a fun name for strategic packing all of our bags in the van. After Peggy, everyone's hero, arrived several minutes late, we examined each other's CDs and were on our way.

Our first stop was at the river city of Hastings were we strolled the streets, examined the city's levee, and stopped at a coffee shop. At the coffee shop, Anna and Max talked with the city folk about how the river influenced their life, they later illegally broke into a barricaded area around the river. The rest of the group talked about the impact of levees and flood walls on the river. During the conversation, I found an original Woodstock record, I was thoroughly impressed. Soon after my discovery, we were directed toward the van and continued toward Prairie Island.

At Prairie Island Reservation, we met Joseph Campbell, a native "turtle-islander," the term used to describe Native-Americans who originally lived in modern-day North America and the surrounding areas. He described in detail the life and history of Native-Americans, including how women own everything. He also told us about dreams, his interpretation of them, and, also, how the chicken came before the egg, a quandary with a simple enough answer. After two hours of talking and discussion Joe took us to the Treasure Island buffet located in the casino on the reservation. It was by far the best buffet I have ever experienced and had a desert counter like no other. Anna gorged herself and ate more than anyone else. She ate and ate and ate and never seemed to have enough. It was funny and she became the head of many jokes.

After lunch, we went to Econo Foods to break the bank, and after an hour of power shopping we were done. We packed the food in the van and completed our journey to Camp Pepin. However, instead of canoeing we floored the van (went slow) and made waves in hopes of not getting stuck. We arrived at the beautiful lodge where we will stay for the week. The trip continues to improve, and it rocks.

Go journal, I've been writing for over an hour and I hope you enjoyed it. Good day to you all.

May 3, 2001

We set out toward our first destination at about 8:45, and the ride in the van was characterized by an awkward silence. Anna, who is extraverted, seemed put off by the silence and lack of effort to talk to one another. At St. Anthony Falls, we met Pat Nunnaly, our friendly and capable professional historian. I got information concerning my topic, such as, how the river played such a vital role in founding the city and was used in the city's early industrial phases especially flour and hydroelectric power.

We walked the Stone Arch Bridge, snapped some pictures, then backtracked across the Hennepin Avenue bridge, that is, after we saw a huge tree, crown, roots, and all, go down the falls. Wow, it was cool lookin'. We then ate lunch and concluded the tour "wrap-up" with Pat.

After lunch, piled in the van headed for Fort Snelling. We met with David Wiggins and he talked with us about Fort Snelling's peaceful dealings with Indians and how the river was a lifeline, which made life in such a remote place possible in the early 1800's. We soon went on a tour of the fort, the highlight of which was the Blacksmith's shop. The blacksmith craftily crafted a shapely nail out of a red-hot piece of metal. He was quite skillful. On our return trip in the van, we began talking, and we "bonded," as Anna would say. When we got back to Hamline we played cards and everyone felt better about beginning to know one another. Overall, it was a good, if not grand, first day.

Center for Global Environmental Education
Hamline University Graduate School of Education
1536 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104-1284
Phone: 651-523-2480 Fax: 651-523-2987
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