In southeast Minnesota, we are fortunate to have an abundant supply of groundwater. It is the water we drink and the source of water in local trout streams. However, the unique geology of this region makes it vulnerable to contamination. A complex network of cracks, open channels, and caves below the surface provides a quick and direct path for surface water to reach groundwater. As water travels over the landscape it can carry contaminants such as bacteria, pesticides, fertilizers and road salt underground.
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When They Blew the Levee is a fierce love letter to the power of community, one encoded to Black sociality, the broader American social imaginary, and the mythical power of the Mississippi River. In praxis, it is a political tool—a lyrical baseball bat—for the residents of Pinhook, Missouri to wield in a rally against the sustained structural violence of a biased justice system and racialized world.
While there are many ways of approaching community-engaged research, the way that research projects are set up rarely provides the time and resources to create a research deliverable for community partners. This needs to change. Creating research products for academia and partners advances both science and the conservation work of communities.