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The Thrive Outside Twin Cities Community, led by Wilderness Inquiry, is using community organizing techniques to coalesce a new and diverse group of partners to help families connect with the outdoors on the Mississippi River and other local waters. Wilderness Inquiry has a strong history of introducing children to the outdoors. Together with some of its existing partners, the group seeks to engage entirely new community-based leaders and organizations to engage a more diverse population into outdoor activities on the water in Minneapolis and St. Paul. In North Minneapolis, for instance, there is only one public access point to the Mississippi River, and it includes a steep, eroded bank that makes exploring the river difficult and unsafe. These efforts will include a summer school model that connects youth to place-based learning opportunities which tie into school standards and invest in social-emotional support for youth.

Key Focus Areas:

Deep community engagement, landscape assessment and barrier mapping, and river-based activities on the Mississippi River

Backbone Organization:

Wilderness Inquiry Steering

Committee Partners:

MEO Collaborative Career Pathways, Mississippi River Activation, Affinity Travel, and Outdoor Credit Recovery

Community Partners:

St. Paul Public Schools, Minneapolis Public Schools, Friends of the Mississippi River, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Environmental Initiative, Center for Energy and Environment, Clean Water Action, Climate Generation, Great Plains Institute, Metro Blooms, The Nature Conservancy, Freshwater Society, Conservation Corps, Capitol Region Watershed, Mississippi Park Connection, Wilderness Inquiry, Minnesota Academy of Science, City of St. Paul, National Park Service, Girl Scouts River Valleys, Lee Vue Consulting, Great River Greening, Lower Phalen Creek Project


“Wilderness Inquiry is thrilled to partner with the Outdoor Foundation to support a collective impact approach to youth outdoor engagement in the Twin Cities, breaking down barriers to access to ensure that all youth can learn, grow, and thrive in the outdoors, Thrive Outside Twin Cities provides an incredible opportunity to build meaningful, equitable pathways to outdoor participation for Minnesota youth and families.” — Erika Rivers, Wilderness Inquiry Executive Director

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Development and Programs Manager