A River of Gifts
We will tell the story of how the River was formed, grew wild rice, became a water highway and was altered to what it is today. We will introduce to the audience the possibility of designating the River a National Heritage Area.
Presenter: Rod Olson
Barron County Historical Activist
Rice Lake, Wisconsin
For 35 years Rod Olson worked as a family and emergency medicine physician in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. He grew up on a farm in central Minnesota, married and raised two boys on Desair Lake. For 26 years, working with neighbors and the DNR, he developed innovative ways for water quality improvement. By kayaking the Red Cedar River and its major tributaries, Rod recorded the impact of our lifestyles on the land and water. He is Co-chair of the Red Cedar River Conference and a member of the Red Cedar River Partnership expanding his restoration skills to neighboring lakes and communities.
His latest efforts are to tie historical preservation, art and natural beauty to water stewardship. With a keen interest in local history and geology, he has helped to bring two sculptures to Rice Lake’s Lakeshore Drive. A steel mammoth named “Wooly” to tell the story of Ancient Times and “Trusty Rusty” a draft horse, who represents the arrival of Europeans and the building of Rice Lake. His committee will be working with the Ojibwa to bring the indigenous people’s past history alive along the Red Cedar River. “Knowing what happened along this River is another reason to save it”.
Presenter: Brian J. Gabriel
Dunn County Historical Society
Brian Gabriel is originally from Meridean, Peru Township, Dunn County, WI. He farmed for many years along the Chippewa River. He has done numerous presentations, conducted many oral interviews, collected local artifacts, hundreds of vintage photographs and produced many historical documentary videos on the Lower Chippewa River. He and his son Evan have been exploring and documenting the history of the Lower Chippewa River since 2005.
Brian is a graduate of UW – Eau Claire and UW – River Falls, and a member of the Dunn, Pepin and Buffalo County Historical Societies and the Chippewa Valley Museum. He lives in Menomonie with his wife Norma.
Memorial Student Center, Cedar/Maplewood, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm