I recently traveled to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands as a part of the first Adult and Continuing Education travel seminar through Winona State University. Dr. Tamara Berg, director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Winona State University, organized the trip based on the course she has been teaching for more than 12 years. She has developed invaluable connections on St. Croix to help students—and now voluntourists—immerse themselves in the history, culture and tropical island lifestyle. While hiking through the forest we learned about the plant-life as well as the history of enslaved African laborers from St. Croix ecologist Olasee Davis. Mistreatment of African slaves in the Caribbean islands occurred concurrently with indigenous people of our area being forced off their land. Emancipation of the Caribbean islands began in the early 1800s and not until July 3, 1878, on St. Croix.

In this issue of Rochester Women magazine, you can learn more about Prairie Island Mdewakanton Dakota history (page 19). It is our privilege to share their story and tell you more about their successful business known as the “Island.” These days Treasure Island is much more than a casino, it’s a place for the whole family to get-away and have fun not-so-far-away.

July finds us at the tail end of strawberry season in southeastern Minnesota, while midsummer berries will arrive soon. Despite her loss of memory due to Alzheimer’s, my grandma would tell us about how she loved to eat fresh-picked raspberries with ice cream as a child in Michigan. I remember going to Bridgeman’s as a child and ordering a malt or shake in a tall glass, served with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Read about and make some of your own berries and ice cream memories (page 27).

Summer is a busy time of year as you will see in this issue of Rochester Women with garden parties, tours, fairs (page 31) and festivals (page 38). I hope you do something that makes you happy each and every day like we Rochester Women do (page 22). Try to stay cool during the dog days of summer.

Thank you to our advertisers who give us the opportunity to do what we love (write, photograph and design) for Rochester Women magazine (see page 22). Together we are “empowering women to live passionately!”

Jorrie Johnson