Charlie Rader updated us on the the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust (KRLT), which has focused since 1993 on conservation and protection of the Kinnickinnic River and the watershed which feeds it.  Charlie's talk covered what KRLT has done over this time and where they are planning to go in the future.  He noted that this year is the 30th anniversary of the KRLT, a fact that will be celebrated (and should be!).
 
The mission of the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust is to work with the community to preserve and protect the beauty and health of the Kinnickinnic River and its watershed. The source of the Kinnickinnic is Casey Lake. The river covers 22 miles through Hammond, Roberts and River Falls. The estimated population of its 174 square mile watershed is 30,000 people.  The Kinnickinnic River is a class one trout stream that has not been stocked since 1974 and has 2,000 to 8,000 trout per mile. The area along the river is home to a diverse plant and animal population.
 
 
KRLT is a community-based non-profit organization that acts to permanently conserve land. There are several mechanisms used by KRLT, including acquiring land outright and partnering with landowners through the establishment of conservation easements. Once land is conserved, the trust will manage or restore the land, in the process protecting clean water and habitat for plants and wildlife.  Working with each landowner is a unique experience because every family is different.
 
The Kinnickinnic Land Trust was Wisconsin’s first Accredited Land Trust and manages four preserves encompassing 206 acres. It maintains 10 miles of protected streambank open to the public. KRLT was instrumental in facilitating access to the school forest (about 80 acres) near Rocky Branch Elementary School. Ben Toppel, who will be speaking to Rotary in the future, takes his class to the river and uses it as an outdoor classroom for art, math, and science projects at least twice a year. The goal of the school district is to have all classes use the school forest at least twice a year. Charlie noted that, over the next couple of years, the RFSD and community partners plan to build an education building for instruction and as a place to store classroom materials used in outdoor education.
 
During the course of his talk, Charlie mentioned that KRLT will announce the appointment of a new director soon – perhaps by the time  you read this!
 
About the Speaker:  Charles Rader holds a Ph.D. in Geography from Michigan State University. He a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin- River Falls where he served on the faculty from 1993-2020.  His teaching and geographical work centered on spatial cognition, cartography, geographic information science, people-environment relations, land use and environmental change assessment.  He served as department chair for 13 years and was actively involved in education abroad programs. 
 
He has volunteered on mapping projects for the KRLT since its start in 1993 and has served as a board member and board president of the organization.  He is currently serving as the KRLT interim executive director.  He is an avid canoe paddler, canoe builder, hiker, and landscape photographer. He lives up the hill from the South Fork with his wife, Nancy, and a mutt named Gromit.