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Art and Barb Straub

bison boy

Children, Nature and the Minnesota River

Barb and Art Straub have been introducing children to the wonder of birds, natural history, wildlife and conditions along the Minnesota River Valley for a lifetime.

On this outing, Gillian Bowman, (pink top and hat) recorded the bird species sighted that day. Cliff swallows were in high volume under the Hwy 19 bridge.

After a child participates in a nature program given by the Straubs through Henderson Feathers, he or she usually signs up for the next one, creates stories about life along the Minnesota River, becomes a birdwatcher, hiker, scientist, writer, history buff, land steward, and, yes, even an environmental lawyer.

Barb Straub and Gracie Hardel return from the sandbar. Gracie fishes for bullhead on the Minnesota River.

Children find their voices and look forward to celebrating with tourists at events like the “Henderson Hummingbird Hoorah”.

Charlie is a student at Hilltop Elementary School where a new garden is named after the Straubs.

As a result of the Straubs’ teaching and administration of  elementary school programs in the Le Seuer, Faribault and Henderson areas for more than 45 years, curriculuum in southern Minnesota now includes more advanced environmental education classes.  Parents and children in southern Minnesota communities now plan with their schools to plant and maintain School Nature Area Projects (SNAP), together, where teachers can bring students outdoors for their studies.

Churches of all denominations invite Art and Barb to speak about the connection between nature and God.  As Art says, “You can preach all you want about saving your soul, but if there’s no earth left, what’s there to save?”

Today, both young and old continue bringing local creatures, bones, plants and shells to Art and Barb in the J.R. Brown Minnesota River Center and in their new museum on Henderson’s Main Street.  And in turn, the Straubs, share those collections with children and families all along the Minnesota River Valley.

Nature Neighbors check up on the garden they help maintain for the Henderson Hummingbird Hoorah.

It’s a long list of efforts and accomplishments in helping to celebrate and restore the Minnesota River by this couple from Le Sueur.  The prestigious 2011 WEM Outstanding Educator Award for Ethics in Education  was just added to the list.  Just as important to the Straubs, however, is the play that was written about them and their life along the Minnesota River by the children at the Green Isle Charter School intending to honor their elders.  As Barb sums it up, “It’s really about the kids.”

Meet Barb and Art Straub.

  1. Sheila Dixon #

    Great pictures and wonderful work Art & Barb are doing.

    August 1, 2012
  2. Marie Penote #

    Lovely articla about these wonderful people and their good works.
    Nice photojournalism !

    August 13, 2012

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