Join Root River watershed neighbors at six local events scheduled in March and April throughout the watershed to engage in respectful, citizen-led conversations about this place we all value.

Information about the watershed and the river will be shared by Fillmore SWCD staff. They'll ask for your insights about how to live and work in the watershed while protecting water quality now and for future generations.

"You'll have time to share your experiences, hopes and visions, and we'll explore together what we can do to protect the river and the drinking water aquifers," said Donna Rasmussen of Fillmore SWCD. "We hope to see people from town and country; members of 4-H, FFA, scouts, church and school groups; farmers; business owners; artists; public employees; landowners; hunters, cyclists, canoers and fishers."

The events include a free meal or snacks and door prizes featuring local businesses and products. Interactive activities will allow everyone to participate in providing information for a Root River watershed plan. The events are funded by a grant from Meadowlark Institute, which receives funding from In Commons, which is supported by the Bush Foundation. Other support for Root River watershed citizen engagement comes from Minnesota's Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment.

Pre-registration is preferred to facilitate planning for food but is not necessary to attend, so Rasmussen encouraged residents to come even if it is a last minute decision. To pre-register, or for more information, contact Rasmussen, Fillmore SWCD, (507) 765-378, ext. 3,, five days prior to each event, if possible. Watch the Fillmore SWCD website for updates:

This is a one-time series with no obligations, organized by the Root River Citizens' Advisory Group with support from Fillmore Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, University of Minnesota Extension, and In Commons, which inspires community-powered problem-solving.

Dates and times for the Root River Citizen Conversations:

Chatfield: Monday, March 25, 6 to 8:15 pm, Chatfield Center for the Arts, 405 Main Street South. Free meal provided. First 30 watershed residents/landowners pre-registered receive a $3 coupon for Kappers Big Red Barn ice cream. There will also be door prizes. Coordinated by Tim Gossman and Bob Coe.

Rushford: Thursday, April 4, 6 to 8:15 pm, Rushford Village Hall, 43038 State Hwy 30, Rushford Village. A free meal will be served by the Emmanual Episcopal Church as a fundraiser for the church. Those who pre-register will receive a bonus gift, and there will be door prizes. Coordinated by Bill Sullivan.

Lanesboro: Saturday, April 6, 2:30 to 4:45 pm, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, Schroeder Building; 28097 Goodview Drive; two miles west of Lanesboro off County Road 8, at the end of Eagle Bluff's main road. Pie and coffee will be served. The first 15 watershed residents/landowners who pre-register by April 1 receive a free $20 Dinner on the Bluff registration for that same evening at 5:30 pm. The topic is karst; the speaker is Dr. Calvin Alexander. Coordinated by Wes Harding and Nancy North.

Preston: Monday, April 8, 6 to 8:15 pm, Preston, F&M Bank meeting room. Free meal plus door prizes. Those who pre-register will receive a bonus gift. Coordinated by George and Kay Spangler.

Spring Valley: Tuesday, April 9, 6 to 8:15 pm, Spring Valley Ambulance Building meeting room, Highway 16 on the east side of Spring Valley by the highway sand/salt facility. Free meal and door prizes. Those who pre-register will receive a bonus gift. Coordinated by Rick Smith and Tim Gossman.

Houston: Saturday, April 20, 1 to 3:15 pm, Houston Nature Center meeting room. Food and door prizes provided. Those who pre-register will receive a bonus gift. Coordinated by Randy Mell.