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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Environmental stewardship

at its finest

For two days last week, Bemidji Middle School students dug through the garbage of their classmates to learn more about their refuse habits.

The effort, known as a waste audit, helps gather data on how much and what kinds of waste the school generates. Middle school students and teachers, along with some Bemidji State University students, sorted through trash, separating items to recycle, including paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, glass, paper towels, newspaper, food scraps, plastic bags and packaging, unused foods and garbage.

Final results of the audit weren't immediately known, but the data collected will be used to educate Bemidjians on ways to reduce waste and improve recycling efforts.

Beyond the tangible results, the effort reinforces environmental stewardship, conservation practices and an educational opportunity for citizens of all ages.

While the Bemidji School District has a recycling program in place, the effort reinforces to young people the delicate balance of nature, human's obligation to protect it and a first-hand experience in learning about waste management.


Register it

The state review board of the Minnesota Historical Society recently endorsed a plan by Beltrami County to register Three Island Park on the National Register of Historic Places.

All that awaits placement on the Register is federal approval, which is considered a formality.

The park, where 1,702 artifacts and 2,737 faunal remains have been unearthed, is another gem for the area. Beltrami County added interpretive signs to provide context for the site's importance, both historically and culturally.

The national listing is important as 7 percent of Minnesota's 1,598 sites on the Register are considered archeological. Adding Three Island Park to the list demonstrates respect and appreciation for our past and provides educational opportunities for citizens.


A big fish

Congratulations to Donald Cloutman, an aquatic biology professor at Bemidji State University, for a distinguished career.

Since 1998, when he joined the BSU faculty, Cloutman's innovative and fascinating work has improved fishing tactics for anglers and provided scientific research for both the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the state's Pollution Control Agency.

One colleague, Mark Fulton, credited Cloutman for building BSU's aquatic biology program. "He was the guy who really established it as a unique program at BSU," Fulton said.