25 Who’s Minding the Planet? HEADLINE SURFACE WATER Photos: NGRREC Award Winning Facility Just as NGRREC’s scientists expand their impact through collaboration, the Jerry F. Costello Confluence Field Station is meant to attract visiting scientists with specialized research equipment and meeting space. The facility features offices, labs and research support tools. One such tool is this large river mesocosm system, consisting of three 60-foot-long pairs of 6-foot-wide channels that can be set up in various configurations. Water is pumped directly from the river through the “raceways” allowing investigators to conduct studies in manageable, controlled conditions. A companion indoor wet lab is also available. A multipurpose conference room overlooking the Mississippi River provides a stunning backdrop and sense of place for bringing people together to discuss the river, its issues and management of this amazing resource. There are many water and energy saving features in the building, but as a river research center, the water conservation features are highlights. The green roof, with a minimum of 18 inches of soil, allows for a native prairie habitat on a site that was once a barren brownfield. These features, and others like them, are an attempt to practice what the center preaches, and demonstrate best practices in water conservation. ngrrec.org facebook.com/NGRREC @NGRREC NGRREC seeks to accomplish similar goals, connecting the St. Louis Metro East Community with the Mississippi River through varied educational programming, teacher workshops and community engagement activities. “Partnering with Swarovski to develop a Swarovski Waterschool on the Mississippi River is an exciting way to further our educational mission,” said Natalie Marioni, NGRREC Director of Environmental Education and Citizen Science. “This program will empower students to become stewards of change within their river communities, providing context for their relationship with the river by connecting them with Swarovski Waterschool students along other major rivers of the world, thus ensuring students better understand water issues through both a local and global perspective.” Get Involved Those curious about NGRREC now have the opportunity to meet some of the staff and explore the Jerry F. Costello Confluence Field Station in East Alton, Illinois. NGRREC is asking community members to attend its newest event, Neighbor Nights @NGRREC, which will take place on the first Tuesday of every month from 5:30-8 p.m. “NGRREC will be open for you to come and go as you please,” Environmental Educator Allison Rhanor said. “Feel free to explore our lobby and classroom exhibits, our native landscaping or take a stroll up to our green roof. A tour of the entire building will take place at 6 p.m., and a short presentation on a different river project each month will start at 7 p.m. Attend one or both of these, or just drop by for a bit.” greatlakestogulf.org For more on the Great Lakes to Gulf Virtual Observatory: For more on NGRREC and the Jerry F. Costello Confluence Field Station: