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Augustana Observer

Augustana professor conducts Riverine Walk

Dr. Heine locates and identifies various parts of the Mississippi River on a map. Photo by LuAnna Gerdemann.

“I can’t remember a time I wasn’t interested in the river,” said Augustana’s Dr. Reuben Heine, Associate Professor of Geography, as he began his Riverine Walk, “Deep Maps: Historic Geography of Pool 16 of the Mississippi River” on Saturday, August 13.
Riverine Walks are a series of educational and informational guided walks throughout the Quad Cities. The walks are offered by River Action which is an organization located in Davenport, IA that seeks to maintain the environmental, economic, and cultural vitality of the Mississippi River and surrounding Quad City area.

The Stewardship boat tour started and finished at Potter Lake. Photo by LuAnna Gerdemann.
The Stewardship boat tour started and finished at Potter Lake. Photo by LuAnna Gerdemann.

Heine hosted an educational boat tour of Pool 16 of the Mississippi River on Augustana’s own Stewardship boat. The boat tour started and ended at the north end of Lake Potter in Rock Island’s Sunset Park. The tour covered various historical geographic topics about the upper part of Pool 16 (pools are the area between a lock and dam, with the pool number determined by the number of the lock and dam upstream from the pool).
Heading into his eleventh year teaching at Augustana, this is Heine’s ninth year leading a Riverine Walk.
“Each time I think about what I’d like to have the group come away with,” said Heine. “I always feel like I come away knowing a little something more about the river each time I offer one of these trips.”
Heine got involved with the River Action after hearing about the program from a fellow geography department member, and now retired Augustana Geography professor, Dr. Norm Moline.
“Dr. Moline has been very active with River Action. Immediately upon coming here he was encouraging me to become a member and get active,” said Heine.
There were 11 people who participated in Dr. Heine’s Riverine Walk boat educational tour.
A number of people from the Quad City community participated in Dr. Reuben Heine’s Riverine Walk. Photo by LuAnna Gerdemann.

Since Heine is a geography professor, the information he shares with the Riverine Walk groups is very similar to what he talks about in his classrooms on campus.
“What I do on a day-to-day basis at Augustana can be condensed into what I talk about here,” said Heine.
Heine also said that he essentially gets to “cherry-pick” what sort of topics he covers on the Riverine Walks. His walks also include time for conversation amongst the people in the group. “I try to leave room in the talk for people to share their own knowledge about the ways they know the river as well,” said Heine.
Heine’s longtime involvement with the Riverine Walks has given him new insight with every tour he has given.
“It’s evolved for me into getting a perspective into how we’ve managed this river and understanding how it looks today as a product of choices that have been made over the previous decades, and that we continue to make choices that will influence how the river looks ten years and thirty years from now, and we’re the active generation that will be doing that,” said Heine.
Dr. Heine and Dr. Moline have an upcoming Channel Cat Talk, another type of educational tour on August 16th and August 18th. More information can be found at

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Augustana professor conducts Riverine Walk