Dakota County preparing for We Are Water MN

Dakota County staff are preparing to host We Are Water MN, which will be comprised of both an indoor exhibit at the Pleasant Hill Library and an outdoor exhibit at Lebanon Hills Visitor Center Oct. 13-Dec. 5, 2022. The exhibit celebrates Minnesota’s relationship with water and, through the exhibit and related events, Dakota County will create opportunities to learn about water and build connections between the county and the community.

The Minnesota Humanities Center recently hosted a Dakota County Goal Setting meeting to establish overarching goals for the exhibit and associated events. Attendees included internal partners: Dakota County Library, Environmental Resources and Dakota County Parks; as well as external partners: the Vermillion River Watershed Joint Powers Organization (VRWJPO), the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA), Hastings Environmental Protectors, and Carpenter Nature Center. The group identified six goals:

  1. Build and strengthen lasting relationships
  2. Increase awareness of relationships between our water, our communities, and ourselves
  3. Reduce barriers that will help residents take individual and collective actions to protect water
  4. Reach diverse audiences using inclusive and effective communication methods
  5. Seek and include diverse voices, partners and communities
  6. Facilitate communication and education around connection between land use and water

Based on the goals, Dakota County and its partners are identifying potential interviewees/story tellers for the exhibit and organizing water education and connection events. Examples include a Hastings Drinking Water Treatment Plant Tour, Smart Salting for Local Leaders Workshop, a Story Trail: We Are Water Protectors, Nitrate Prevention Field Day, and other educational lessons, activities, and workshops.

Staff also participated in a two-day retreat with the other 2022 We Are Water MN host sites. Staff became more familiar with the exhibit and learned how to facilitate deep and connecting conversations about water.

This effort aligns with the Dakota County Groundwater Plan strategy 3A (tactic 3A1C) to inform and educate the public on groundwater resources and science, water conservation and pollution prevention.

Contact Valerie Neppl, valerie.neppl@co.dakota.mn.us, 952-891-7019 or Holly Carlson, holly.carlson@co.dakota.mn.us, 651-450-2918