Northwoods Adventure: Aitkin County Hosts Rivers and Lakes Fair
“I guess I just hate to see a mess,” Aitkin County Master Gardener James Ravis said.
To try and prevent those messes, the Aitkin County Soil & Water Conservation group held their 22nd annual Rivers and Lakes Fair to educate the public on the local bodies of water. The major concerns at the fair were aquatic invasive species, controlling run-off, and keeping the lakes clean.
“They found enough garbage, like fishing line and plastics and things like that, to fill a pick-up bed full of trash bags,” Ravis said.
Booths were set up around the Aitkin High School gymnasium educating people on what they can do to help.
“We put in a rain garden there and found out how amazing they work with helping to promote the drainage of the areas, instead of just having it runoff and run into the street and down into the waterways,” Carmen Rinta, a Watershed Management Project Volunteer, said.
Another way to help with runoff is with rain barrels which filter the rain and save water so you can water your plants, but perhaps the biggest concern at the fair was…
“Aquatic Invasive Species, and you can clean your boat,” Janet Smude, Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District Technician, said. “Don’t travel from lake to lake and spread the infestations.”
The event mainly focused on educating the public on rivers and lakes, but many organizations brought their wildlife as well, including a porcupine appropriately named Spike. Along with the wildlife, there was a water safety coloring contest, a booth to dress up like fur traders, and a virtual target practice game.
“I encourage everybody to bring their children out here,” Ravis said. “This is a very friendly fair for children and also very informative for adults.”
It was also a great opportunity for organizations to share their information.
“Everyone has similar information, but there are different aspects of it,” Rinta said. “So it gives people more knowledge about things that are available, and what people are doing to protect our resources.”
But at the end of the day, it was all about protecting our rivers and lakes.
“We need to be good stewards of our water,” Smude said. “They are good for the most part now, but they may not be good forever, so we have to learn how to take care of them and treat our resources wisely.”
To learn more on how you can do your part to protect the waters of Minnesota, visit http://www.aitkincountyswcd.org/contact.html.