March 1–3, 2021 • VIRTUAL

11th Annual St. Louis River Summit

Resilient Ecosystems, Resilient Communities

Given the challenges we have faced over the past year, this year’s St. Louis River Summit theme, “Resilient Ecosystems, Resilient Communities,” seeks to highlight the many ways the St. Louis River Estuary contributes to community well-being in the Twin Ports and beyond. The work invested into sustaining this resilient ecosystem provides much broader benefits to community resilience. We hope you will join us to celebrate the healing power of the Estuary as we review our successes and look toward the future in this 11th year of the Summit.

The Summit is a multi-day opportunity to learn and share about the St. Louis River.

Like an estuary, the St. Louis River Summit is a place where people meet and mix. It provides a diversity of solutions and strategies for a healthy St. Louis River watershed and nourishes the community with education and outreach opportunities. The St. Louis River Summit brings together key audiences working in the region.

The Summit provides many learning opportunities.

Join us in learning about the following:

  • the status and findings of current research
  • the results of implementing projects
  • ideas and status of future work

2021 Summit Registration

  • General Admission $30
  • Students FREE
Registration Details

2021 Summit Schedule

The full Summit agenda listing all speakers and presentation titles will be shared when details are finalized.

Monday, March 1

keynote speaker • 9:00–10:00am CST

The Disconnect Between African Americans and the Outdoors

Dudley EdmondsonDudley Edmondson is an established photographer, author, filmmaker and presenter. His photography has been featured in galleries and nearly 100 publications around the world. 

He was one of the first to highlight the involvement of African Americans in the public lands system. Unsatisfied with the numbers of people who looked like him among those he encountered in his outdoor pursuits, Mr. Edmondson set out to create a set of outdoor role models for the African American community by writing his landmark book, Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places (AdventureKeen Publications, 2006), featuring luminaries in the environmental and outdoor recreation fields. Mr. Edmondson has also been immersed in the effort to help the conservation sector become more inclusive.

His latest book, What’s That Flower? A Beginners Guide to Wildflowers, was published in 2013 by DK Publishing, London, UK.

Morning Sessions • 10:20–11:40am CST

Speakers will present on a broad range of topics related to the St. Louis River.

Afternoon Sessions • 2:00–3:30pm CST

Speakers will present on a broad range of topics related to the St. Louis River.

Tuesday, March 2

keynote speaker • 9:00–10:00am CST

A Field Guide to Hugging the St. Louis River

Cameron Davis is a vice president at GEI Consultants, where he helps the region with coastal resilience, green infrastructure, climate adaptation and water resources. In 2018, he was elected as commissioner at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago after what was one the most unusual races in Illinois history, where he ran as a write-in candidate, beating the previous statewide write-in record set by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1944.

From 2009 until 2017, he was President Obama’s Great Lakes “czar,” coordinating the work of 11 federal departments and serving as the Administration’s liaison to Capitol Hill in investing more than $2 billion under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. He also led the federal effort to block Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes through the Chicago River.

Cam has dedicated his entire career to the public’s interest in water, having served as a public interest Clean Water Act attorney, professor at the University of Michigan Law School, and President & CEO of the Chicago-based Alliance for the Great Lakes. But his proudest achievement is having started his career as a volunteer.

He lives across the street from Lake Michigan with his wife Dr. Katelyn Varhely, a child psychologist, and two children.

Morning Sessions • 10:20–11:40am CST

Speakers will present on a broad range of topics related to the St. Louis River.

Afternoon Sessions • 2:00–3:30pm CST

Speakers will present on a broad range of topics related to the St. Louis River.

Poster Session • 4:00pm CST

This year’s virtual poster session will begin at 4:00pm. You’ll have an opportunity to continue learning about a number of important St. Louis River projects and will have the chance to interact with folks in a virtual space.

Wednesday, March 3

Optional Field trips • 9:00–11:00AM CST


Looking to get away from your computer and spend some time outside? There will be four St. Louis River Estuary field trip options for Summit attendees to consider on Wednesday, March 3rd. Following COVID-19 safety precautions, field trips will be conducted outside in groups of 10 or less (including the guide/s). Sign up using the Summit event registration page. Field trips will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Field Trip Descriptions (Optional, space-limited)

Afternoon Sessions • 1:15–3:40pm CST

Speakers will present on a broad range of topics related to the St. Louis River. There will be a break in the middle of this session.

The River Talks Poetry Extravaganza • 7:00–8:00pm CST

This virtual River Talk event will feature selected poets reading their poems about rivers – the St. Louis River or others. Come experience a different perspective on our waterways! River Talk event details

2021 Summit Cost & Registration

Join us in celebrating the St. Louis River Estuary.

  • General Admission $30
  • Students FREE

Registration provides access to the following:

  • two inspiring keynotes
  • live and recorded presentations about current St. Louis River work
  • virtual live poster session
  • breakout sessions
  • optional field trips
  • exclusive access to Zoom session links and event resources

*Attendees can opt to sponsor a student during the registration process. Student sponsors will be recognized during the Summit.

Questions about the summit?

Deanna Erickson, Lake Superior Reserve Director