St. Louis Estuarium Postcard by Emilie McNeely

St. Louis Estuarium Postcard

Acrylic paint, Modge Podge, yellow scrap paper, black Micron pen

Emilie McNeely, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

In Collaboration with Luciana B. Ranelli, Education Coordinator, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve

Luciana Ranelli and her co-workers research and monitor the St Louis Estuary as well as educate the community of its importance. As an artist, McNeely enjoys having more structured criteria and tends to take things more literally. Some of her favorite pieces she’s made thus far include materials such as acrylic, watercolor, and a touch of repurposed trash. She loves the challenge and texture it can create, and this piece is no different. 

McNeely and Ranelli were tasked with creating a postcard for the St. Louis Estuarium, a learning center for the public to visit and learn about the significance of Lake Superiors Freshwater Estuary. Through their meetings, Ranelli and McNeely noticed an Estuary is a collage of different water and ecosystems, a place where a lake and a river collide. Because of this, it was important to both of them that the final piece be a collage of pictures and materials showing examples of the efforts people have put in to clean up the estuary and bring back the community and the products this unique ecosystem can create. A very important aspect they wanted to be sure to include is the restoration efforts to bring back the native wild rice that has been growing in the estuary since the Ojibwe people first inhabited the land. McNeely was inspired by postcards from the 30s and 40s, with bright colors and landscapes within the letters. She is an Interior Design and Architecture student but enjoy doing art as a hobby, and is self-taught when it comes to painting but really enjoy the process of experimentation that comes with every piece she creates.

“What the artist noticed in colors of the water that I took for granted, or heard as a theme in my descriptions–it helped me celebrate the work I do and better understand points of connection in terms of sharing or communicating about it.” –Renali


Emilie McNeely is an Interior design and Architecture student but enjoys doing art as a hobby. She is self-taught when it comes to painting but really enjoy the process of experimentation that comes with every piece she creates. You can find Emilie and reach out to her on Instagram @mcneelyemilie for Interior Design work and personal life and @ap_artstuff for only art related content.

ABOUT THE Water Partner

Luciana B. Ranelli is the Education Coordinator of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve. Inside the Lake Superior Estuarium, beautiful interactive displays tell stories of the St. Louis River Estuary, Lake Superior, and the communities along their shores. Visitors to the exhibit hall learn more about how fresh water, ecology, and culture coexist and thrive in the Lake Superior watershed. The Estuarium is part of education efforts at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Lake Superior Reserve incorporates research, long term water quality monitoring, stewardship, coastal training for local leaders and professionals, and education in schools and public program settings to improve the understanding of and caretaking with Lake Superior estuaries and coastal resources. 

The Lake Superior Reserve is one of 30 Reserves in the United States, with research and programs operated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension with leadership from NOAA and based on the UW-Superior campus in Superior, Wisconsin. The Reserve encompasses over 16,000 acres along the St. Louis River freshwater estuary.