Conferences and Symposia As part of our commitment to research and education, NGRREC regularly hosts symposia and conferences that bring together stakeholders to share research, exchange information and collaborate on new solutions for the study and management of great rivers. Our symposia series has attracted researchers, academics, policy makers, activists and managers, offering attendees an open environment for the exchange of ideas and dialogue. Past Events The 2014 Mississippi River Watershed Education Symposium incorporated keynote talks and presentations from speakers throughout the Mississippi River watershed and beyond to facilitate networking opportunities for educators, who wish to partner on unique, science-based watershed education programs. Professional development workshops and speaker presentations at Lewis and Clark Community College were offered on five topics: (1) Watershed Concepts; (2) Natural History and Environmental Education; (3) Cultural History; (4) Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); (5) Civic Engagement and Sustainability. The conference was planned by representatives from Bradley University – Center for STEM Education, Environmental Education Association of Illinois, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Institute of Godfrey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – St. Louis District, and US Forest Service – Shawnee National Forest. MRWES Proceedings Book The 2011 Bottomland Ecosystem Restoration Conference: Bridging Science and Management welcomed state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and additional stakeholders from the Upper Mississippi River System all the way down to the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. The conference focused on linking scientific expertise to specific restoration issues in order to provide better solutions to the Upper Mississippi River's ecosystem management problems. The conference was co-hosted by the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center and the U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry. 2009's Visions of a Sustainable Mississippi River: The Confluence of Ecological, Economic, and Cultural Values brought a diverse group of Mississippi River stakeholders, researchers, and natural resource professionals together to participate in presentations, panel discussions, and workshops on four topics: (1) ecosystem services and the economic value of the Mississippi river; (2) floodplain connectivity, flood management and the hydrologic regime; (3) biofuel production in the Mississippi River Basin; and (4) clean water and the Mississippi River. The conference concluded with a Policy Forum hosted by Congressman Jerry F. Costello where policy recommendations developed during the workshops were presented to elected officials and agency decision makers. The Illinois' Cache River: Advancing the Restoration of an Internationally Significant Wetland Ecosystem conference was held August 10-12, 2006 at the John A. Logan Community College in Carterville, IL. The Cache River in southern Illinois is one of just 23 designated Wetlands of International Significance in the U.S., yet it was nearly lost to timber cutting and drainage for agricultural development in the 1970s. Co-organized by the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center and the Cache River Wetlands Joint Venture Partnership, the Symposium reviewed progress in restoring a 60,000-acre corridor along 50 miles of the river and described the economic impacts on local communities followed by roundtable discussions focused on development of future restoration strategies. The conference concluded with tours of the Cache River conducted by local experts. The International Conference on Rivers & Civilization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Major River Basins, held on June 28, 2006 in La Crosse, WI, included sessions 36 and 41, co-organized by Dr. Rip Sparks of NGRREC℠ and Dr. Jane Buikstra of the Center for American Archeology. Lessons from the Deep History & Recent History of the Missouri, Illinois, and Mississippi River discussed how nationally-known scientists used geological, archeological and historical records to examine patterns in floods, droughts, and other manifestations of climate change. The speakers noted contributions of humans to the historical changes in climate, and the effects of prehistorical and historical changes on human societies. 2005's A Confluence of Interests: Nature and Tourism in River Cities and rural Areas invited Ted Eubanks, President of Fermata, Inc., and a nationally-known consultant in development of eco-tourism to give the keynote address, "What Can Nature-Based and Culture-Based Tourism Do for Your Community?" Afternoon sessions at the one-day symposia included: "Planning Tools for Communities", "How to Turn Culture and Nature into a Business" and "How to Assess and Profile Your Community". The inaugural event in NGRREC's series of river conferences, Indicators of the Health of Great Rivers was held on campus at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, IL. The April 2004 event was attended by scientists from the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Illinois Natural History Survey, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, the University of Louisville, and the South Dakota Center for Biocomplexity Studies. The invited participants joined together to describe and discuss the latest techniques to evaluate the health of rivers and their ecosystems.