New club raises awareness about Milwaukee’s river system

BY ELENA CRUZ —

The Milwaukee River Awareness Club is a new club that has been created this year. Its objective is to increase knowledge and consciousness about Milwaukee’s river system and the waters around it.

“[It’s] just a club that Nora [Klein] and Hanna [Fowler] started originally, and then they got me in it. Our goal is to advocate for and raise awareness about the Milwaukee River and other water sources around the river,” said Alberto Kanost, junior.

In order to raise awareness, the club is preparing some fun experiments and group tasks. The club is planning a research project with the Urban Ecology Center to learn how the water quality of the Menomonee River, the Milwaukee River and the lagoon at Washington Park affect the local ecosystem.

“[The research project] is kind of like a science project on steroids,” said Nora Klein, junior and co-founder. “Once we get this research, the plan is to spread awareness about it, and figure out what the pollutants are.”

The creators believe that this project could be extremely rewarding, resulting in an increased awareness about the need to clean up the pollution and a move towards the creation of a solution.

“I think the research project is something really cool, because once we do our own research, research that people are participating in, then the solution will be more important,” said Hanna Fowler, junior and co-founder.

The club aims to be engaging by finding creative ways to learn about the river. They have already gone on a hike to spur thoughts about their research question and be immersed in nature. The club is also planning kayaking and canoeing trips, river clean-ups, river wading trips, hikes and other activities along the river that anyone can take part in.

These activities will be continued after the research project is completed, with the intention of getting more people to take advantage of their close proximity to the river.

“In the summertime when the river’s able to be used, we’ll be taking trips on the river to get more people on the river, or using it, because we’re so close to it,” Kanost said.

With the club still planning many events, the excitement is brewing. “It’s exciting to see other people excited about [the river and club]. That’s what we want to see; other people excited about the river,” said Klein.

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