On Display
October 22 through March 5, 2021
Blue Earth County Historical Society
424 Warren Street, Mankato

This Exhibit is done in partnership with the following groups:


We Are Water is a traveling exhibit from the MN Humanities Center that is intended as a space for people of all ages and experiences to connect and learn through our shared connection to water.  The exhibit in Mankato will feature a variety of indigenous perspectives on water, a book presentation by noted biology professor emeritus Darby Nelson, a Water Stewardship contest, the Bend of the River Photography club exhibit highlighting their relationships with water, Water Storage Trailblazers, and more.

Share your water stories and images on social media using the hashtag #LoveWaterMN.

Upcoming Events

Click the links below for more information about upcoming events related to We Are Water Minnesota.

October 20, All Day – Bend of the River Photography Club Exhibit

October 22, All day  –  Exhibit Opening

October 27, 7 p.m. – For Love of the River Book Talk

Other events related to Water

October 22, 4 p.m. – Remembering the Flood of 1965

October 29, 4 p.m. – Historic Blizzards

November 5, 4 p.m. – Rapidan Dam Video Showing

December 3, 4 p.m. – A Closer look at We Are Water, MN

Listen to local water stories.

Water Trailblazer Awards

Nominate Your Water Trailblazer Here

Eligibility requirements

This is the first in a series of water storage trailblazer awards. This year, projects must be in located in the Greater Blue Earth River Basin (Le Sueur, Blue Earth or Watonwan River Watersheds) or Middle Minnesota River Watershed.

Award Categories

  • Water Storage Citizen Award: Given to an individual or family that has demonstrated a personal commitment to manage water on their land.
  • Water Storage Partnership Award: Given to a group, an organization, or a community that has demonstrated a commitment to implementing innovative and effective water storage management solutions.
  • Water Storage Outreach Award: Given to individuals or organizations that have raised awareness about the need for more water storage in our region.

Award Criteria

The Award’s Committee will consider the following criteria when reviewing nominations:

  • Demonstrates innovative practices or technologies
  • Stores and treats a large amount of runoff
  • Uses resources and budgets efficiently
  • Leverages resources
  • Proactively partners
  • Develops or expands relationships with partners and the public

Partners and Judges

A group of judges will review nominees and select trailblazers. Judges will include representatives from the following organizations:  Le Sueur River Watershed Network, Minnesota River Congress, Friends of the Minnesota Valley, Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance (GBERBA), City of Mankato, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The Award is coordinated by the Water Resources Center, Minnesota State University, Mankato and Blue Earth County Historical Society.

Water Creativity Challenege

You are invited to share your favorite water moments that highlight the importance of area rivers and lakes in southern Minnesota to your quality of life.  You can submit a photograph, video, drawing, painting, poster, or other creative outlets of your choice.

  • What’s your favorite memory on the water?
  • What is your favorite lake or river in southern Minnesota and why?
  • How do you like spending time in or near area lakes and rivers?
  • What is your connection to water and what do area rivers and lakes mean to you?


  • Open to students currently in grades K-12 or college
  • One artwork per entry, up to three entries per student
  • Artwork must be an original artistic product or performance created by the student
  • Artwork must reflect the contest water theme
  • Entry must be submitted using Instagram and the instructions below
  • DEADLINE to enter: March 5, 2020


  • Entries will be judged by a panel of regional artists, community partners, and conservation partners working to celebrate and clean up area rivers and lakes
  • Judges will review Instagram posts tagged with ##lovewatermn
  • Scores will be based on originality, creativity, and theme focused criteria
  • Age Categories for Awards: Kindergarten – 2nd grade; 3rd grade-5th grade; 6th grade-8th grade; 9th grade-12th grade; college
  • Top Award winners in each age category will receive an award certificate, gift card, and a copy of the book For Love of a River: the Minnesota
  • Be sure to follow @BECHShistory on Instagram so you’re the first to know when awards are announced!


  • K-12 Students: Before posting on Instagram, talk to your parent about the contest and make sure you have their permission to participate.
  • Prepare a digital image OR video (<60 sec) that clearly shows the artwork or performance. Maximum of 3 submissions per student.
  • On Instagram, create a public post with your photo(s) or video.
  • The caption of your post is your Contest Entry Form. It must include the following information:
    • #lovewatermn
    • Student’s Name (or initials)
    • Grade or College Name
    • Title of Art (optional)
    • Art media used
    • A sentence describing how the art reflects the contest theme (see above)

By submitting your Artwork, you agree that your submission will be shared on social media, and may be showcased for future use in newsletters, publications, posters, and websites.

Contest winners will be contacted by Blue Earth County Historical Society @BECHShistory through the Instagram account that posted their entry. Prizes will be mailed to winning students.

This exhibit and award program is co-hosted by Blue Earth County Historical Society, Water Resources Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato, the Le Sueur River Watershed Network, and the City of Mankato. The challenge is supported by a broad network of partners working to raise awareness about the rivers and lakes in our region.