By Aaron DeLonay
August 31, 2018
A critical part of a scientist’s job is to share what they learn with stakeholders and the general public. Sharing knowledge and expertise increases awareness and helps to educate the public about issues that affect the management of the Missouri River and the species that live there. Scientists from the Comprehensive Sturgeon Research Project participate in numerous outreach and education events throughout the year, but one of the most exciting events is the “Missouri River Days” program sponsored by Missouri River Relief (https://www.riverrelief.org/) in cooperation with Columbia (Missouri) Public Schools. During the last week in August, more than 250 4th grade students left their classrooms to investigate the Missouri River. Participating scientists, river experts, and local artists from Missouri River Relief, Universities, and State and Federal Agencies met busloads of enthusiastic students on the banks of the Missouri River at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area near Columbia, Missouri. Students got the chance to talk to scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Missouri Department of Conservation about the tools they use to study the river and fish that live in it. They also got the chance to take a ride on the river in boats similar to those used by scientists. Students also spent time investigating plant communities along the river and using watercolors to translate their scientific experience on the river into art in much the same way explorers Lewis and Clark did more than 200 years ago. USGS Scientists look forward each spring and fall to the opportunity to reach out and educate the next generation of citizens and scientists.