Saturday, October 01, 1988

GOING UPRIVER: Interpretive Program Workshops

GOING UPRIVER included two workshops as part of the summer tour: "Citizen Action for River Conservation" and "Music and Folklore in Environmental Education." The first, developed and presented by Teresa Garen to resource professionals at Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm, Dayton, Ohio, was drawn from Eugster and Diamant's text of the same name. It included icebreakers (building a "river" of river-related words and images), a review of tools and techniques available to citizen activists, and a role-play "town meeting" developing a conservation plan for a hypothetical river. This admittedly simplistic example stimulated an excellent discussion, and facilitation of the workshop itself was a learning experience for a young professional.


Citizen Action for River Conservation: Aullwood Audubon Center, Dayton, Ohio, July 22, 1988

"Program was enjoyable. Solutions to Clearwater project were unrealistic: not showing economics and realistic demands detracts from the solution's credibility."
"River example used in presentation is very realistic -- i.e., canoeists, development, communities, etc. Need a little more time for presentation."
The second workshop was developed in 1987 (see "The CROSSCURRENTS Concert Series," page 18) for professionals in interpretation and education. This summer's presentation to the staff of Sault Ste. Marie Heritage Locks (Canadian Parks Service, Ontario) focused on the role of the storyteller/singer as steward and interpreter of cultural heritage. Participants chanted, drummed, sang, and acted out native folktales. The workshop concluded with a discussion of cultural heritage resources (primarily music and folktales) and of the legal considerations (copyright, etc.) involved in the use of recorded music and folklore in National Parks and sites.
WORKSHOP COMMENTS: Music and Folklore in Environmental Education

Citizen Action for River Conservation: Sault Ste. Marie Heritage Locks, Ontario, August 10, 1988

I enjoyed the part about the singing of "Hey Hey Watenay" (Indian chant). It was lots of fun and I think you're doing a great job. Keep it up."
"The workshop was incredibly inspiring. It showed what could be done to greatly improve interpretive programs with the little talent (musical or otherwise) that the average summer interpreter has. What struck me most is that even one song or story will create a lasting memory for a child or adult, whereas a lecture rarely does this. I hope to see the program back at the Sault Canal next summer."
"Lynn's presentations were inspiring and educational. I particularly liked the participatory nature of both the public performances and the interpretive workshops."
-- Sally Gibson, Visitor Services Co-ordinator, Sault Ste. Marie Heritage Locks
LEFT: A member of the "planning board" presents their recommendations for management of the Clearwater River at the "Citizen Action for River Conservation" workshop in Dayton.
PHOTO: Lynn Noel


GOING UPRIVER animated a touring exhibit for the Canadian Heritage Rivers System in the summer of 1988 with special interpretive programs presented at parks, historic sites, museums, and other venues. Bilingual (English/French) programs included CROSSCURRENTS, a series of illustrated concerts based on regional Great Lakes/St. Lawrence river themes, and WATERWATCH, a young audiences' program on stream ecology, as well as two training workshops.

The goal of this unique international co-operative effort was the promotion of awareness and stewardship of North America's river heritage, by sharing the social, cultural, and historical value of rivers as expressed in music, literature, folklore, and visual images.

Project staff traveled up the St. Lawrence from "Saint Croix to Saint Croix" (Saint Croix River, New Brunswick/Maine, to Lower St. Croix River, Wisconsin/Minnesota), crossing the U.S./Canadian border six times, to present a total of 77 public programs and eleven exhibit displays at 26 program sites. This report highlights the summer tour, describes and evaluates programs, and offers some reflections on the meaning of the journey.

GOING UPRIVER was bound together by several underlying themes and symbols:
  • • the geographical fact of the Great Lakes
  • • water transportation as a symbol of regional trade, natural resources and communication
  • • the confluence of individual lives into the river of history, as expressed in the stream of culture that is folklore
  • • the essence of rivers and of music: stillness in motion
  • • the spirit of the voyageur: adventure, wilderness, exploration and freedom in the path of the paddle
  • • heritage conservation as the nexus of natural and cultural landscapes in the uniqueness of place.

It was a remarkable project for several reasons: its international, transboundary scope; the collaboration of Federal and nonprofit organizations, supported by a coalition of public and private agencies; its use of music and folklore to communicate heritage values; and finally, the way in which the literal journey became an example of regional unity. Such a project can serve as a model for international, interagency co-operation, and catalyze exchange of ideas and technical expertise in education for river conservation.

GOING UPRIVER was sponsored by the Atlantic Center for the Environment, a division of the Quebec-Labrador Foundation. The Atlantic Center for the Environment promotes environmental understanding and encourages public involvement in resolving resource issues in Atlantic Canada, eastern Quebec and northern New England: the Atlantic Region. This interregional exchange and education project is a centerpiece of the Atlantic Center's new rivers initative.
Support for GOING UPRIVER was provided by The George Gund and William H. Donner foundations; the Canadian Heritage Rivers System; the U.S. National Park Service; and program sites.

For more information on this and other Atlantic Center programs, please contact:

QLF/Atlantic Center for the Environment
39 South Main Street
Ipswich, MA 01938-2321
(508) 356-0038

GOING UPRIVER: The Crosscurrents Concept

Speaking of contraries,
See how the brook in that white wave runs counter to itself.
It is from this in water we are from
Long, long before we were from any living creature. …
It is this backward motion toward the source, against the current,
That most we see ourselves in
The tribute of the current toward the source.
It is from this in nature we are from.
It is most us.
-- Robert Frost, West-Running Brook

The CROSSCURRENTS concert series was developed at Gros Morne, Terra Nova, and Kouchibouguac National Parks (Atlantic Canada) in the summers of 1986-87, with support from the Canadian Parks Service and QLF/Atlantic Center for the Environment. Originally symbolizing the upwellings of water off Newfoundland's Grand Banks and the resulting flow of human migration, the title has come to stand for the crosscurrents of natural and cultural landscapes that is the focus of heritage conservation. Each program explores the "terrains of consciousness" expressed in music, literature, folklore, and historical narrative, to capture the heart of a region in the "spirit of place."

Each unique place or theme suggests its own program approach. Thus, CROSSCURRENTS illustrates traditional ballads with slides of the "Newfoundlandscape." L'ACADIE blends Acadian French songs into dramatic readings of Longfellow's Evangeline. WILD THINGS captivates young audiences with singalongs and animal stories to illustrate concepts in wildlife ecology; SWEET SEAS explores the Great Lakes with maps, nautical charts and shipwreck ballads; and the bilingual C'EST L'AVIRON animates the fur trade through the eyes of "Lisette Duval," a character drawn from historical accounts who draws her audience into dramatizations of French-Canadian songs and folktales. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently honored CROSSCURRENTS with its 1988 "Tree of Learning" Award.

Throughout each program runs the current of music, that river of sound flowing from past to future. By raising our voices together in song, we become participants in our common heritage, and creators of harmony. The songs and stories of CROSSCURRENTS are tributaries to the river of history: "the tribute of the current toward the source."As they carry us on their journey into the landscapes behind our eyes, we develop vision and imagination: critical skills for understanding the past, shaping the present, and creating the future..+

GOING UPRIVER: Tour Highlghts

Here are some of the highlights of GOING UPRIVER's adventures.


NEW BRUNSWICK: After a "sneak preview" concert for Environment Week in Halifax, NS (sponsored by the Canadian Parks Service), we kicked off the exhibit tour with a special program for the Canadian Heritage Rivers Board on the St. Croix River in St. Stephen. The display then moved to Market Square, St. John, where our trip "upriver" officially began on the St. John River with a boat tour through the famous Reversing Falls. We headed inland from the Gulf of St. Lawrence at Kouchibouguac National Park (see sidebar).
QUEBEC: La Corporation pour la Restauration de la Jacques Cartier, a citizen's group, hosted us for nine programs in French (ably led by Alain) and a visit to a salmon ladder with "bus service" (to help spawning salmon around the dam). We canoed the wild rapids of the Jacques Cartier, a nominated Canadian Heritage River, in the spectacular Jacques Cartier Provincial Park.


ONTARIO I: As participants in Ottawa's Canada Day celebrations, we joined in the Voyageurs' National Campfire program and opened the awards ceremonies for the Voyageur Cup for an estimated 2000 visitors. St. Lawrence Islands National Park on the U.S./Canadian border made the perfect backdrop for songs of the Lakers, as the heavy-laden Great Lakes freighters steamed majestically downbound from Duluth to Panama.
We crossed the Ontario peninsula for a tour of Georgian Bay: SWEET SEAS concerts at Fathom Five National Marine Park (Canada's newest!) and Bruce Peninsula National Park at Tobermory; WATERWATCH programs at Georgian Bay Islands National Park; and a visit to Saint-Marie-Among-the-Hurons, site of the first Jesuit mission in the New World. We topped our end-to-end tour of the Niagara Escarpment at Niagara Falls, the only place one can see four of the five Great Lakes at once. Our regional vision gave us new eyes to appreciate the hugeness and power of the Lakes as they thunder over the Falls.
OHIO: The industrial heartland welcomed us to Cleveland, where we displayed the CHRS exhibit in the historic Old Arcade and celebrated urban rivers at the Sohio Riverfest with our hosts, the Cleveland Waterfront Coalition. Their Annual Meeting capped our outreach programs to the Cleveland Children's Museum, the Ohio Sierra Club, Bowling Green State University, and Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm in Dayton, where Teresa led a workshop in "Citizen Action for River Conservation."


ONTARIO II: The high point of the summer was the dedication of the Mattawa River as a Canadian Heritage River. Lynn led the singing in the voyageurs' canoe as it paddled upriver to the ceremony platform, where she and Alain opened the dedication ceremonies with "O Canada." Time telescoped at the Voyageur Heritage Center, where the exhibit was displayed: our characters "Lisette" and "Pierre" took on a life of their own as we voyageurs led the audience in songs and stories of the fur trade. An overnight paddle on the Mattawa was a magical chance to follow in Mackenzie's footsteps and attune to the power of the river at an Indian ocher mine in Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park.
WISCONSIN: After a concert and workshop at the Sault Sainte Marie Heritage Locks, we followed the Michigan lakeshore southward to Green Bay. Bay Beach Nature Center staged a whirlwind of activities for us: thirteen programs, two TV spots, and an all-day "Super Saturday" at their outstanding facility. At the other end of the Fox/Wisconsin Waterway in Prairie du Chien, the State Historical Society of Wisconsin's Villa Louis hosted two performances of C'EST L'AVIRON, and displayed the exhibit and our own Great Lakes map collection at the Villa's Fur Trade Museum. Our final trip "upriver" was a symbolic paddle down Marquette's route. After tracking the explorer across the continent, we paddled down his beloved Wisconsin River, and in his words, "entered the Mississippi with a joy I cannot express."


Officially, C'EST L'AVIRON at Minnesota's St. Croix State Park was the final program of the summer. But demand continued, and the return journey included a special presentation to the National River Preservation Conference in Columbus, Ohio. After a week at the University of Wisconsin Center-Richland, the exhibit made its eleventh and final display here, and was then returned to Ottawa with thanks to the Canadian Heritage Rivers System. The circle widens this fall with CROSSCURRENTS programs in Massachusetts schools and a special invitation to join Trent Unversity's annual Canadian Studies Retreat at Wanapitei Wilderness Canoe Centre in Temagami, ONT.

GOING UPRIVER: An interpretive tour to celebrate North America's freshwater heritage, Gulf of St. Lawrence to Great Lakes, Summer 1988

UPRIVER. The word evokes mystery, challenge, the lure of the unknown. Upriver swims the salmon each year to spawn. Upriver sought the Indians for the Father of Waters. Upriver came the first Europeans into the heart of an "unknown" continent, to find swift white currents and Champlain's "sweetest seas," the vast Great Lakes. Upriver strove the voyageur, the shantyboy, the paddlewheeler and the iron freighter. Upriver today lies most of our fresh water, and much of our foul.
The rivers of North America tell the story of our beginnings. Their song is the song of our future. GOING UPRIVER traces history's journey up the great St. Lawrence river from Gulf to Great Lakes, listening to the voice of the river in the stories and songs of its people.

In the summer of 1988, a special interpretive tour spanned the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence with an exhibit and program series on North America's freshwater heritage. QLF/Atlantic Center was proud to sponsor GOING UPRIVER as a centerpiece of its rivers initiative.

"What a magic way you have of creating a wonderful feeling about the rivers! Your program is a refreshing way to convey to people the specialness of these waters." Ohio


The Saint Lawrence Seaway stretches across half a continent from eastern Quebec to Minnesota. This vast waterway defines the world's longest freshwater boundary, between two nations that control 20% of the world's fresh water: the Great Lakes. QLF/Atlantic Center envisioned the GOING UPRIVER tour as a celebration of our boundary waters, and as a literal and metaphorical journey into the heart of the continent.


Our goal was to promote awareness and stewardship of North America's freshwater heritage. Two events catalyzed this project: the twentieth anniversary of the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, and the development of a magnificent photographic display by the Canadian Heritage Rivers System. The CROSSCURRENTS concert series (see page 2), and a freshwater ecology program, WATERWATCH, complemented the CHRS exhibit. Support for the project was provided by The George Gund and William H. Donner foundations, the Canadian Heritage Rivers System, the U.S. National Park Service, and program sites. 

Our objectives were fourfold:
  1. to educate U.S./Canadian audiences to an appreciation of our common history, geography and water resources;
  2. to place current river conservation initiatives in their regional and historical context;
  3. to collect, present and preserve river-related music and folklore as regional cultural artifacts;
  4. to encourage citizen involvement in river heritage conservation.


Our two chosen endpoints symbolized the transboundary nature of the tour. One St. Croix River forms the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick; jointly managed by both state and province, its nominated status as a Canadian Heritage River reflects its outstanding natural, cultural and recreational value. To the west, the other St. Croix was among the first designated U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers, and it too is jointly managed (by Wisconsin and Minnesota) to preserve its outstanding character. Both rivers were central arteries for early exploration, and their common name bears witness to a common history whose symbol became the symbol of the tour: the voyageur.

Our journey had its epic qualities, much like the early days of the fur trade when the heavy-laden canoes left Montreal each spring. Summer staff Alain Meunier and Teresa Garen joined me in May to travel from New Brunswick to Minnesota in eighteen weeks, crossing the U.S./Canadian border six times, to present a total of 77 public programs and eleven exhibit displays. The 26 program sites included museums, nature centers, retail arcades, schools and libraries, and national and provincial parks. Our tour was made possible by the welcoming support of our site hosts and the warm response of over 5000 audience members.


LYNN NOEL is a geographer, musician and environmental educator from Madison, WI. Born in Boston, she received her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her M.S. in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She appears on two albums by Revels, Inc. and on two solo cassettes, CROSSCURRENTS and GOING UPRIVER, both available from QLF/Atlantic Center. She continues to pursue her special interests in landscape imagery, conservation policy and women and wilderness.

TERESA GAREN hails from Defiance, Ohio. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and Biology from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, with a major in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana Student Exchange Program. As of this writing, Teresa is headed to Costa Rica with the Peace Corps.

ALAIN MEUNIER received his B.A. in Native Studies from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. A bilingual QuebeƧois, he has a special interest in Community and Human Resources Development. Alain is now working at a youth drop-in center in Montreal and preparing for a trip to South America in December.