Joe Riederer

I was born in 1958, In Watertown, WI. Although I was too young to enjoy the view, the hospital overlooked the Rock River. As a child, I loved to explore the Rock River. I fished for blue gill with bread dough and fed corn to the ducks. I saved my paper route money ($1 per day) to buy a 12-foot johnboat. With this flat-bottomed boat, my friends and I explored every inch of that polluted river. When I was 14, I went SCUBA diving off the Florida Keys. I was almost carried away by the Gulf Stream (very much like a river).

In high school, an incredible science teacher took me whitewater canoeing on the Flambeau River. I was scared to death.

In 1976, I enrolled in the College of Natural Resources in Stevens Point, WI (a town along the Wisconsin River). I paid for college by working at summer camps. I took kids whitewater canoeing on the Namekagon River. They were scared to death.

I teach science in Wisconsin Rapids, WI (a town along the Wisconsin River). Last summer I took a river taxi ride with my mother, through downtown Chicago. It was waycool! In my spare time, I write. Sometimes the words flow like a river. Other times they stagnate like a backwater slough.

It would be dishonest to let anyone think that everything I do is about rivers. I live in a prairie-not on a river. I drive a tractor-not a bass boat. I raise chickens-not ducks. I could live a whole and productive life without ever seeing River Dance on PBS again.

Learn more about Joe, and his novel, "Restoration in the Barrens."

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