The Ghost Valley - Sara Holger, Lead Interpretive Naturalist at Whitewater State Park

Please join us on Monday, November 14th for two events featuring Sara Holger: a panel discussion at 12:30pm and a Beyond the Lab Seminar at 3pm.

Sara Holger, Lead Interpretive Naturalist at Whitewater State Park in Minnesota

Panel discussion with Sara Holger, Prof. Andy Wickert & Jimmy Wood 

Monday, November 14th

In-person at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at 12:30pm

Sara will be in conversation with SAFL collaborators Prof. Andy Wickert and Jimmy Wood, with the discussion moderated by Shanti Penprase. Panelists will discuss the benefits of collaboration between the University and state parks, balancing priorities amongst partners, funding interdisciplinary work and more. Panelists will also engage with audience members, so please bring your questions! Snacks will be provided.

Beyond the Lab Seminar - The Ghost Valley

Monday, November 14th

In-person and online at 3pm

Abstract: The Whitewater River Valley lies within portions of Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties in the Driftless area of southeast Minnesota. Once home to five towns, visitors to the valley today find several ghost towns and the footprints of nearly 100 farms that have vanished. This presentation will explore the fascinating history of the Whitewater River watershed and how human land use, erosion and destruction catastrophically altered human lives and the natural resources of the valley.

Sara Holger

About: Sara has been an environmental educator since 1994. She graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus in 1998 with an undergraduate degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies. Over the course of her career, she’s worked for various agencies and organizations including the US Forest Service, the Bell Museum of Natural History, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – Division of Fisheries, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, Olmsted County Parks, and Minnesota State Parks and Trails. Sara is the Lead Interpretive Naturalist at Whitewater State Park. She is also the Founder of a non-profit organization called Project Get Outdoors, working to connect low-income youth and Children of Color to the natural world. Sara farmed for 11 years in the Whitewater River watershed and is grateful to have learned through experience about the farming community and the incredible work our farmers do to feed the world. In her spare time she enjoys fishing, kayaking and exploring public lands in southeast Minnesota with her family.

Beyond the Lab Seminars

We love learning from prominent figures in environmental science and fluid mechanics through the SAFL Seminar Series, just as we recognize the value in examining any issue, idea, or area of study from a multitude of perspectives. Beyond the Lab seminars allow us to do just this: by bringing in experts from other fields and the community, we enrich our understanding of environmental science and fluid mechanics while situating research and other concepts in a holistic context. 

Do you have an idea for a Beyond the Lab Seminar? Email Clare at

Start date
Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, 3 p.m.

The PANEL is an in-person event at 12:30pm. 

Attend in-person: St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, 2 Third Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

The SEMINAR is a hybrid event at 3pm. 

Attend in-person OR

Watch the Recording