Barbara Liukkonen

Hi! I'm Barb Liukkonen and I work as a hydrologist and an educator. I lived near Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis and really liked messing around by the water, but never imagined having a job related to rivers when I grew up. When I was in high school and college, I competed nationally and internationally in whitewater canoe and kayak races, so I got to visit a lot of fantastic rivers and see them in a way that many people never experience (upside down in my kayak!). Still I didn't imagine that I could have a job that combined my interest in rivers and love of the outdoors with "making a living."  I entered college as a history major, but after taking one geology course I was hooked - geology merges the history I enjoy (more than just human or social history) with science and the outdoors - what could be better? 

Since I graduated from college I've had many jobs including high school teacher, industrial technician, research scientist, and outreach educator - all related to rivers or lakes in some way. I researched acid rain and mercury deposition and got to visit nearly 1000 lake and stream sites northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan as part of an EPA project. For 12 years I worked for the University of Minnesota Extension Service as a water resources agent along the North Shore of Lake Superior, on the western edge of Minnesota along the Red River, and in St. Paul. 

I worked for the Rivers Council of Minnesota which is a small nonprofit dedicated to protecting Minnesota's 92,000 miles of rivers and streams. I don't get to be "out on the water" as much as I used to be and I miss that, but I get to do other things that will help people protect the rivers they love. The best thing about the many jobs I've had has been the opportunity to learn new things, meet new people, and get to know new rivers and lakes. 

I live on the north edge of the Twin Cities, in the Rice Creek watershed, with my husband, Luke, and our dogs, Maizie and Maija.  I still like to canoe and kayak, and also read, camp and hike, and quilt. 

I'm looking forward to your questions and expect to learn a lot from you, too during this journey. 

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