The One River, Many Stories team organized a meeting at Teatro Zuccone in late May to find out how the community storytelling experiment was received. Artists, journalists, bloggers, conservationists, scientists and students were among those who participated and helped us assess the project


A screen grab of the preliminary “mind map” created during the One River, Many Stories public forum on May 26 at Teatro Zuccone.

If you weren’t able to be at the event, we are still interested in your thoughts and feedback. Fill out the short online form at the bottom of this post to share your experience.

Everyone who attended on May 26 was first asked to gather in small groups to answer questions about their experience with the project. We then gathered participants back together and used a “mind mapping” method to track what you told us. Some common themes and patterns surfaced. Here are some highlights of what we heard from you:

Participation in the project encouraged learning. There were a number of ways our participants learned about the St. Louis River watershed, the communities and people in the region.

  • Gained a new understanding about the river and made unexpected connections with other participants and groups.
  • Raised awareness and appreciation about the St. Louis River that had been previously taken for granted.
  • Developed a new passion for telling stories about the river and its communities.
  • Sharpened storytelling abilities by participating in skill sessions led by local experts.

New relationships were fostered. Participants had many things to say about how the One River, Many Stories project encouraged new relationships and strengthened others.

  • Networked with new people and explored opportunities outside of their area of interest and expertise.
  • Created relationships among people and organizations that had been previously unconnected.
  • Made new alliances that resulted in new ways to tell stories, especially between the arts and sciences.
  • Gained a different perspectives on the river community from others.

Storytellers were creative. Participants noted the breadth and depth of stories told about the river.

  • Inspired experimentation with new and innovative ways to tell stories about the river, its community and its people.
  • Sustained and built community by telling stories together.
  • Empowered people to tell their own stories about the St. Louis River.
  • Used history to tell stories about the river that helped encourage discussion about the river’s future.

Now what? The broadness of the topic was both a benefit and a hindrance to participation, but everyone agreed that as the project moves forward, a few key items should be considered.

  • Solicit feedback from community organizations early in the process.
  • Encourage news media to collaborate in new ways and share stories.
  • Collaborate on a new topic, such as homelessness, in the region.
  • Make an effort to increase and encourage a diversity of voices.

Again, if you participated in the One River, Many Stories media collaboration project and could not attend our forum, please complete the form below to share your thoughts and experience to help us decide what’s next.