Freshwater at the State Fair

Are you going to the State Fair?

If you’re a real Minnesota, if you like malts from the dairy building and fried things on sticks, you will be there.

And, while you’re there, you will have two opportunities to learn more about water, the environment and the Freshwater Society’s role in protecting them:

  •  You can buy a Minnesota Weatherguide Environment Calendar, and maybe get an autograph on it from the naturalist, astronomer or one of the meteorologists who helped produce it, at the KARE 11 Barn.
  • When you tour the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s huge Eco Experience exhibit, you can point your smartphone at a Freshwater Society poster and take our online quiz on water.

The Freshwater Society has published the Weatherguide calendar since 1977.

It is a premier source of beautiful nature photography, weather records, astronomy data,  and information on phenology– the science of tracking biological and physical events like bird migrations, the flowering of plants and the ice-out and freeze-over dates on lakes.

Naturalist Jim Gilbert, astronomer Rodney Nerdahl and KARE 11 meteorologists Belinda Jensen, Jerrid Sebesta, Laura Betker and Sven Sundgaard are major contributors to the calendar.

The calendars are sold at the KARE 11 Barn, at Judson and Nelson streets, just across from the DNR pond. The calendars cost $17.95, but if you watch Channel 11, consult the KARE 11 web site or check Freshwater’s Facebook page before you head out for the Fair, you can get the “Word of the Day,” good for a $1 discount.

Jim Gilbert will autograph the calendar from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 22, the first day of the fair; Rod Nerdahl will autograph them from 5 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 23 and the meteorologists will be available for autographs from time to time.

And, now, about that quiz. While you’re touring the Eco Experience, stop near the exhibit on how to stop wasting water with a leaking toilet. Point your smartphone at the Freshwater poster there and take our online quiz on water. It is a mostly Minnesota-centric quiz with questions about the sources of our water, water usage and water pollution.

The Eco Experience is in the Progress Center on Randall Avenue, in the northeast corner of the fairgrounds.

Some of the quiz questions are easy, some will stump you.

If you are not yet a smart phone user, or if you are pressed for time and have to get to that cheese curds booth, take the quiz later at home. It’s available at

After you’ve taken the quiz, follow the links with the answers to learn more.




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