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The Adopt-a-River program commissions an artist to create a sculpture to be displayed next to DNR duck pond at the Minnesota State Fair.
2014 marks the 21st year these works have appeared at the State Fair. In 2013, Minnesota artist Andrew Vomhof created the Adopt-A-River sculpture. He gathered materials for the project during a Mississippi River cleanup aboard a riverboat. He filled a trailer full of 1,200 pounds of material, including 800 pounds of tires retrieved from the backwaters and sand bars. The cleanup involved more than 100 volunteers slogging through the sand bar willows in a 1-inch rain storm.
The sculpture is a tribute to more than 90,000 volunteers who have removed 6.2 million pounds of trash from the public waters since 1989. It represents some of the diversity of materials found at a river cleanup. The great assortment of plastic bottles found illustrates how numerous certain items are in our public waters. Bottles arrive in the river every time it rains, from every storm drain flowing from our streets. The array of materials washed into the river is almost limitless, and that assortment of materials increases every time it rains, and during every spring flood.