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Thousands of people across 13 MN cities will 'March for Science' on Saturday

It comes at a time when the scientific community is facing funding cuts and skepticism.
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Thousands of Minnesotans are expected to march in the name of science this coming weekend.

March for Science events are being planned in 13 cities across the state on Saturday, which is when the world marks Earth Day.

It's part of a global movement, with marches set to take place on every continent (besides Antarctica). Minnesota's organizers say on Facebook they are marching in support of "higher education and the discovery, access and understanding of scientific information."

Where the marches are being held

The biggest march here in Minnesota starts at Cathedral Hill Park in St. Paul at 11 a.m. According to a Facebook event post, more than 9,000 people are planning on attending, including members of the science community, representatives from nonprofits, labor unions, and religious groups.

The others are being held in Rochester, Alexandria, Northfield, New Ulm, Morris, Brainerd, Moorhead, Park Rapids, Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Duluth and Grand Marais, and you can find more details about individual marches here.

The state of science

It comes at a time when the scientific community is facing funding cuts and skepticism from the new White House administration, particularly when it comes to climate change, according to Nature.com.

The Trump administration's first budget proposal contains major cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes for Health. And President Donald Trump has also said he wants NASA to focus on deep-space exploration rather than "Earth-centric research."

Meanwhile, government employees working at the EPA, USDA and the Department of Transportation have been ordered not to speak to the public about their work, the Guardian reports. The publication argues this is an example of censorship by imposing "gag orders" on climate change research.

The current climate for scientists doesn't sit well with University of Minnesota scientist Geoffrey Rojas, who has taken up the mantle of organizing the St. Paul rally.

“More and more people are coming to grips with the fact that they need to speak up,” he told the Star Tribune, saying the grass-roots march is about protecting science from an "unprecedented assault."

But not all Minnesota gatherings will have political overtones, with the New Ulm Facebook event promising it will be a "science celebration" featuring speeches, and a group project to kill invasive buckthorn.

"New Ulm is a conservative town," organizer and ecologist Megan Benage told the Star Tribune. "I wanted to do something that felt inclusive instead of just marching through the streets."

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