Emergent Streams of Interaction. Your Input Requested.

Have you ever found yourself hypnotized by sitting next to a river or a waterfall for 10 minutes studying how the water flows?

It is a great exercise to focus your eye on one point of the flowing water upstream and then follow that point as it flows through your plane of vision and then out of sight.

Do this long enough and you may experience the mystery of fluidity — how flowing water is at once fully present — bound water droplets congealed as one stream —  and on the move.

That is what CURE aspires to be like.  We seek to listen to understand, but then move forward as one stream, right now, with what we feel and know to be true, together.   We seek collective momentum and we are fed by the energy that springs from the empowerment of happy, joyful and excited people.

Such an evening of fun, challenging and engaging collective empowerment took place at a water quality dialogue held in the Summit Room of the St. James hotel in Red Wing Minnesota on March 29, 2012.

We gathered farmers, landowners, government agencies, environmental activists, business owners, university professors and researchers and just plain folks from the Mississippi and Minnesota River watersheds.

We ate and we talked.  We listened and imagined together as the barges plied the big bend in the Mississippi near Red Wing and the sun set on a gorgeous early spring day.

Our goal for the evening was to find ways we could all work together to address water quality issues in the two river systems.  It was our third such meeting in 5 months and our last before the rush of planting season.

After a couple hours of give and take listening and report backs, our ideas centered around 7 broad areas for potential collaboration:

1.   Model Collaborative On-Farm Research and Demonstration Projects  and sub Watershed demonstration Projects.

2.   New Models for collaborative Urban Runoff and Storm Water Quality    Projects.

3.  New Models for collaborative Expert & Citizen Research and Science   projects.

4.  New Models for collaborative Community Awareness, Education and    Organizing.

5.  New Models for placing value on things that we cherish in order to incentivize stewardship and protection.

6.  New Models for collaborative Media Communication about the  Minnesota River & Mississippi River/Lake Pepin Water Quality  Issues.

7.   New Models for collaborative public policy development work.

In the coming weeks, CURE will be working with passionate partners who want to help us figure out the best on-line platform to continue and grow discussions in these areas so we can continue working together across the watershed to bring big ideas down to doable projects that we can continue to run with (or should I say flow with) in the months ahead.

Presently CURE Staff and consultants are typing up notes and action plans and assembling photos and videos from the dialogues that can help shape and inform the work. View that progress here — but here is our question:

What is the best way to share all this on-line so that it lives?

CURE’s approach to these issues is that we create the future we want by doing things together and taking small steps today.  (As we often say — we build the road by walking).  It is our experience that successful collaboration needs a focus.  We are seeking through this blog and other work to focus our efforts toward projects we all can participate in to develop a mutual sense of trust and accomplishment.

Please post your ideas for how we can best keep the upstream/downstream Friendship Tour Network alive on-line to friendshiptournetwork.posterous.com by sending an email to friendshiptournetwork@posterous.com.