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Science Museum of Minnesota wins ‘Gulf Guardian’ award

Never mind that the Science Museum of Minnesota is more than 1,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. It will be honored this week for helping to improve the Gulf’s environmental health. The museum has won a first-place award in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Gulf Guardian” program.

The museum has “conducted ground-breaking research on historic changes in water quality in the upper Mississippi River – the results of which are currently guiding comprehensive state-wide efforts to reduce nutrient and sediment inputs to the river,” the EPA said in announcing this year’s winners.

The EPA also commended the museum for its 7,000 square-foot traveling exhibition, “Water,” developed jointly with the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The Science Museum “is reaching hundreds of thousands of visitors on the role that water plays in shaping our land and cultures from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico,” the EPA said.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency nominated the museum for this year’s award. In addition to education programs the museum runs at its popular headquarters on the Mississippi River in St. Paul, the MPCA also noted research the museum conducts at the St. Croix Watershed Research Station in Marine on St. Croix. Scientists there conduct extensive research on the water Minnesota sends downstream via the St. Croix, Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.

“The Museum has a rich tradition of emphasizing the importance of water and society’s responsibility to protect water quality,” Rebecca Flood, MPCA assistant commissioner for water, said in a statement about the EPA award. 

The EPA has given annual Gulf Guardian Awards since 2000, recognizing achievement in seven categories: Business, Civic/Non-Profit Organization, Partnerships, Youth/Education, Individual, Government, and Bi-National. The Science Museum’s win was in the education category.

This year’s awards will be given Thursday at a ceremony in Biloxi, Miss.

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