Likely larger than anything your children have ever built, a giant Lego topographic model of a watershed now lives at Whitewater State Park. The scale model of the Whitewater Watershed in SE Minnesota measures about 20 square feet and contains over 26,000 Lego bricks, many of which were donated to the project. The model shows the topography of the region and is color-coded for land use.
The project was led by Allison Bender, a Minnesota GreenCorps member who's worked at Whitewater State Park for the past year.
Nearly forty volunteers helped construct the watershed model. Before the building began, many others donated and sorted bricks and helped spread the word about the project. Area Soil and Water Conservation Districts partnered in sponsorship. Volunteers mapped the watershed, converted those maps into a digital “legotized” model, and used that model to generate pictorial instructions for 392 small mosaic sections that volunteers constructed. One volunteer made a custom table for the model, another helped order used bricks online.
The model will help teach people about watersheds and how to the protect the water that flows in them.
When it's not traveling, the model will be housed at Whitewater State Park. Visit the park or stop by the Winona and Olmsted County Stormwater Conservation District booths at their respective county fairs this July to see the model in person.
Minnesota GreenCorps is a program of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that places members with non-profit and government organizations, and focuses on a range of environmental goals.