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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 372


Do you hear the Drum Roll?


Announcing our Charter Membership Program!

Categories:



$25 jump in the big canoe as a Paddler and join the crew in the excitement of starting a new journey down the river.

$50 become a Voyageur and connect with the river that connects us all.

$100 become a Steward for deep engagement in the next generation of river residents, our kids.

$250 become a Pathfinder and help us find our way around the next bend looking for greater understanding and appreciation of the biggest river in North America.

$1,000 become a Navigator and help steer us toward a balanced river wth equal access for all.

$2,500 (or more) become our Partner in bringing health & happiness to the biggest river in North America.

Details: annual membership, dated from the day we receive your donation. Our goal is to raise $10,000. Check is best. Checks make a better pathway for us, and we don’t lose 3% to the bank! Please send a check or if necessary, make your gift via Paypal on one of our websites. This membership program begins today, but we will continue taking charter members throughout New Years 2017. The LMRF is a 501(c)3 in good standing. All donations are considered tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.



We need your help getting down the big river -- and opening up more opportunities for kids, families, residents, and anyone else wanting to deeply engage in the rugged beauty of the biggest river in North America!



Send your check to:

Lower Mississippi River Foundation
291 Sunflower Avenue
Clarksdale, MS 38614


And thank you for becoming a charter member!


Online Credit Card Donations (via Paypal)


Please send an email to for a personalized Paypal Request, or go to one of our websites and use the “donation" button. LMRF: lowermississippiriverfoundation.org. Rivergator: www.rivergator.org. Wild Miles: www.wildmiles.org.


About the Lower Mississippi River Foundation:


The Lower Mississippi River Foundation (LMRF) publishes the Lower Mississippi River Dispatch newsletter that you are now reading. This newsletter, like most of our projects, is a public service, offered free-of-charge. The newsletter came to life in the late 1990s as a function of the Quapaw Canoe Company. The Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program was born at the same time under the direction of the Quapaw Canoe Company. Friends of the Sunflower River came about in 2002. Save Buck Island campaign in 2005.

But did you realize that the LMRF was created in 2011 to oversee the Rivergator project? At the same time, it became the umbrella organization for the newsletter (Lower Mississippi River Dispatch), and simultaneously the Friends of the Sunflower River, the Wild Miles, the Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program, the Dugout Canoe Carving Project, GRIOT River Arts, Between the Levees Project, Helena Canoe Club, LiNKS=Leave No Child On Shore, and most of our other community and environment based projects and activities!

Now the Rivergator: is almost complete with one million words describing the Middle and Lower Mississippi River, and thousands of photos, videos and maps. The Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi is an incredible resource, available to everyone online free-of-charge at www.rivergator.org!

Now we need your help to keeping it alive (as well as everything else we do!) We have decided the best way to do this is the introduction of a Charter Membership Program.


Businesses and Partners:


You can make a donation on behalf of your business. Any business donations of $2500 or more will be considered a partner of the Lower Mississippi River Foundation. We will include you in our internal conversations and meetings, as appropriate, and add your name and logo to our mailings, and on our website page for partners. There will be opportunities for additional partnerships with our 2017 map-posters and the final completion of the Rivergator project. Please email John Ruskey for more information.



Honorariums and Memorials:


You can make your donation in honor of or in memorial of a person of your choice. Please specify when making donation.

How will your donation be used?

Your donation will be added to our general fund, or to fulfill the purpose of our stated goals and objectives (see below). If you prefer, you can earmark your donation for any specific project we oversee, such as the Rivergator, the Lower Mississippi Dispatch, or our Mighty Quapaw Youth Apprenticeship Program.



General Annual Membership Meeting

Our general annual membership meeting takes place at noon on the Saturday closest to Valentine’s Day. The 2017 meeting is 12noon Saturday, Feb 18th, at Quapaw Canoe Company Clarksdale, with a potluck, and Sunflower River Cleanup afterwards. Come join us, if you can. We will have canoes and paddleboards for the cleanup. If you can’t join us, then wherever you are -- love your river. And as we say around here: “May the River be with You!”


History:


The Lower Mississippi River Foundation (LMRF) publishes the Lower Mississippi River Dispatch newsletter that you are now reading. This newsletter, like most of our projects, is a public service, offered free-of-charge. The newsletter came to life in the late 1990s as a function of the Quapaw Canoe Company. The Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program was born at the same time under the Quapaw Canoe Company.

But did you realize that the LMRF was created in 2011 to oversee the Rivergator project? At the same time, it became the umbrella organization for the newsletter (Lower Mississippi River Dispatch), and simultaneously the Friends of the Sunflower River, the Wild Miles, the Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program and most of our other community and environment based projects and activities. Now the Rivergator: is almost completed with one million words describing the Middle and Lower Mississippi River, and thousands of photos, videos and maps. The Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi is an incredible resource, available to everyone online free-of-charge at www.rivergator.org!

As the Rivergator neared completion during the New Years 2016 we started asking ourselves: “what will we do now that the Rivergator is done?” It was time for some soul-searching!


Soul Searching: the LMRF 5-year Strategic Plan


This winter/spring we did some intensive soul-searching for the long-term health of the LMRF. With the help of the Community Roots of Vermont we crated a 5-year strategic plan. We realized that the river has become a rarified environment accessible to a few. We seek to restore the balance. We think our most important work we can do is to help diversify and democratize the river by making it accessible to all. “The Lower Mississippi River Foundation promotes stewardship of the Lower and Middle Mississippi River through deep engagement.” This is our mission statement. Our 5-year objectives are focused on deeply engaging kids of all ages, with particular attention to Mississippi Valley youth and college students from the southern states along the river. We also intend to share the river with more community leaders and decision makers. At the same time we will work with our partners to make sure that no species are lost, that more public boat ramps will be created, and more public lands will be saved. These are very challenging objectives, for sure. But this is what we are best at. We just want to do more of the same. And strengthen our reach. We want to your help to enable us to do any even better job at what we are already doing, and to be able to do it more proactively... in other words: more thoughtfully, more thoroughly, and as always with the best of intentions.


Healthy, Balanced and Resilient River Ecosystem


We devote ourselves to sustain the Mississippi River as the nation’s best model of a healthy, balanced and resilient river ecosystem, good for kids, good for families, (at the same time good for fishing, hunting, transportation and industry). We all need each other. The river needs us, we need the river. We are all connected. The river makes this truism come to life.

LMRF Strategic Plan 2017-2021

Please let me know if you would like a copy of the final plan, and I will send it to you as a pdf. (email ). Eventually this will be available as a download from our website.


How else can you support the Lower Mississippi River Foundation? Four Ways:

1) Get on the River!
You can support the LMRF by going on an adventure with Quapaw Canoe Company. Quapaw Canoe Company donates 10% of its annual income to the LMRF in cash or in-kind services.

2) Sign up for the Rivergator Celebratory Expedition March-May 2017: we are now filling seats on the 6-week expedition from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico celebrating the completion of the Rivergator: one million words describing the Lower Mississippi. Your participation n this celebration will help make it a success!

3) Watercolor Map Posters: You can purchase original watercolor map posters of the Lower Mississippi River, hand-painted by river rat artist John Ruskey. Custom signed at your request. Great Christmas present! Go to the Rivergator Map Shop at http://www.rivergator.org/map-shop/map-shop.cfm

4) Volunteer: Contact John Ruskey, Mark River or Lena Von Machui for how to volunteer on behalf of the big river.


Watercolor Map Posters: You can help the LMRF with a purchase of an original watercolor poster. Go to the Rivergator Map Shop.


More about the Lower Mississippi River Foundation:

Mission Statement


The Lower Mississippi River Foundation promotes stewardship of the Lower and Middle Mississippi River through deep engagement.

Our Long Term Goal: Re-Connect to the River!

For too long the people of the south who seek the solace of the great outdoors have been forced to do so far away from their homes -- and in many cases not at all. Mississippi Valley residents have been insulated from the wonders of the Mississippi River by fear and ignorance. Within three decades we will complete water trails open to all people. We will help kids and families learn to swim, paddle, and enjoy the natural landscape created by the big river. We will help people recreate and interact with nature in the remaining wild places of the Deep South.

Vision Statement

Thirty years from now Lower Mississippi Valley residents will view themselves and their children as integral inhabitants in a complex ecosystem where every part no matter how small and seemingly insignificant is as important as all others. Children will be raised to understand, respect and take responsibility for the wild floodplain through continual engagement and life-long stewardship.

Diversify and Democratize

The river has become an elite environment accessible to a few. We seek to restore the balance. We will diversify and democratize the river by making it accessible to all.

Healthy, Balanced and Resilient River Ecosystem

We devote ourselves to sustain the Mississippi River as the nation’s best model of a healthy, balanced and resilient river ecosystem.


Our Partners include:


Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Leave No Trace Center of Outdoor Ethics, Louisiana Delta Adventures, Mississippi River Corridor - Tennessee, Lower Delta Partnership, Lower Mississippi River Conservation Commission, Visit Mississippi! (Mississippi Development Authority), Visit Clarksdale! (Coahoma County Tourism Commission), Mississippi Arts Commission, Nat’l Audubon Society, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Louisiana Lt. Governor’s Office Dept of Tourism, Arkansas Parks & Tourism, National Geographic Mississippi River Geotourism Project, Big Muddy Adventures, Race For Rivers,1 Mississippi (Bluestem Communications), KIPP Schools Eastern Arkansas, GRIOT Arts, Spring Initiative, O.A.R.S. Northwest, Quapaw Canoe Company Helena Outpost, Quapaw Natchez Outpost, Quapaw Vicksburg Outpost, Quapaw Memphis Outpost, Bluz Cruz, Outdoors Inc (Memphis Canoe & Kayak Race), Mississippi River Trail, Paddle Northeast Louisiana, Bluff City Canoe Club, Mississippi Outdoors Club, Houston Canoe Club, Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society, Mississippi River Paddlers, Missouri River Paddlers, Kinship of Rivers, Canoe & Kayak Magazine, USACE Our Mississippi Newsletter, USACE Rivers Project Office,National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, Lewis and Clark Community College…

…and many others who have participated with us, or us with them in their activities and projects concerning the Lower Mississippi River!

Mississippi River Network - 1 Mississippi

We are active members of the Mississippi River Network. John is on the steering committee, and Mark River is the southern intern of the 1 Mississippi Program.


Objectives:

LMRF is committed to working toward the following objectives related to its vision, mission and goals:

In 5 years (by January 2022)…

…100 legislators and decision-makers (including funders, CEOs, etc.) will have a Lower Mississippi experience that leads to care and respect of the River, as exemplified by 1) becoming a River Citizen; 2) helping to pass legislation beneficial to public access, recreation and the long term health of the river; or 3) their partnership with or support of the LMRF.

…25% of Coahoma and Phillips County parents will overcome their fear of the river, as measured by sending their children to field trips on the Mississippi River or its tributaries.

…10 colleges/universities in the Lower Mississippi River Region will engage with the River as a learning laboratory for its students.

…25 colleges/universities will engage with the River through service programs affiliated with alternative spring break.

…2,500 college students will have deeply engaging experiences on the Lower Mississippi River or its tributaries that leads them to becoming River Citizens

…25 local, regional or national secondary schools will connect their students to the Lower Mississippi River with deeply engaging activities such as class retreats on the river, educational programs on the river, leadership development on the river or river cleanups, with an average of 20 students per school = 500 kids total.

…250 Mississippi Delta youth will learn canoe design and carving, using with hand tools such as the adze, axe, score and plane.

…250 Mississippi Delta youth will learn wilderness survival skills such as navigation, orientation, shelter making, fire making, and cooking over a fire.

…25 Mississippi Delta youth will become youth leaders capable of leading and teaching other groups, and safely leading groups in voyageur style canoes.

…40 Lower Mississippi Valley youth between the ages of 12 and 18 will have gone through the LMRF Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program (or LiNKS), a hands-on, one-on-one, in-depth, multi-year apprenticeship focused on teamwork and challenging outdoor adventures on the Lower Mississippi River. Participation will be approximately half male half female, and approximately reflect regional demographics (80% black, 15% white, 5% other).

…10 youth (from Mississippi or Arkansas) between 18 and 24 will have summer jobs in outdoor recreation along the Lower Mississippi River. Again, the youth will approximately reflect regional demographics (half male, half female, 80% black, 15% white, 5% other).

…5 youth (from Mississippi or Arkansas) between 18 and 24 will have chosen careers in nature tourism or outdoor recreation along the Lower Mississippi River. Youth will approximately reflect regional demographics (half male, half female, 80% black, 15% white, 5% other).

…we will have added at least 1 public use island of over 1,000 acres to the list of 4 protected islands over 1,000 acres along the Lower Mississippi River (Hickman, Loosahatchie, Buck, and Choctaw).

…we will not have lost any endangered species along the Middle or Lower Mississippi Rivers.

…the least interior tern will be removed from the endangered species list due to its recovery.

…the alligator snapper will no longer be considered a species at risk

…5 additional boat ramps and/or public access sites will be created on the Lower Mississippi River




The Lower Mississippi River Foundation is now offering a first-time charter membership program to anyone who believes in what we do, and wants to help us make the next steps toward a better river, and a better river community. You can participate in our mission to foster deep engagement as we diversify and democratize the Lower Mississippi River. The big canoe makes the perfect metaphor for who we are and what we do. It’s about all of us putting aside our differences and working together for the greater good.

Get in on the ground floor of this exciting new foundation -- as a charter member!


Upcoming Events:

Sat Dec 17, 2016: Quapaw Canoe Company “We Survived the Flood” and annual Winter Solstice Celebration! Celebrating the shortest day of the year — and also celebrating our successful recovery from the 2016 Sunflower River Flood. A big thank you to all who pitched in and helped out! We would have been able to recover without your support! Open House with tours of the renovation. Live music, bonfire, food and drink. Starts at sunset (approx 5pm) and lasts until.

-- 2017 --

Saturday, Feb 18, 2017: General Annual Membership Meeting: 12noon at Quapaw Canoe Company Clarksdale, with a potluck, and Sunflower River Cleanup afterwards. Come join us, if you can. We will have canoes and paddleboards for the cleanup. If you can’t join us, then wherever you are -- love your river. And as we say around here: “May the River be with You!”

March-May 2017: Rivergator Celebratory Expedition: we are now filling seats on the 6-week expedition from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico celebrating the completion of the Rivergator: one million words describing the Lower Mississippi. Your participation in this celebration will help make it a success!

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation


Our Projects:

Rivergator:
1 Million words describing the Lower Mississippi River

Wild Miles: 71% of the Lower Miss is wild according to river rats. Will it stay that way?

Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program: long term apprenticeships developing personal character and young leaders through canoe building, big river guiding, and survival skills on the Lower Mississippi River.

LiNKS = Leave No Kids On Shore
LiNK-ing kids to the big river and mother nature -- with the passion of a LYNX.

Every LiNK in the chain is as important as the others. Real-time experiences for the betterment of personal health and environmental conservation along the Lower Mississippi River.

Friends of the Sunflower River
Established in 2005 for cleanups, paddle events and other educational programming on the Sunflower River. 

River Arts
Youth program begun in 2012 as an after-school river activity in conjunction with GRIOT Arts.

Watercolor Map Posters: You can help the LMRF with a purchase of an original watercolor poster. Go to the Rivergator Map Shop. 

Our Friends:

Quapaw Canoe Company:
custom-guided wilderness expeditions on the biggest and wildest river in North America, in our hand crafted cypress strip voyageur canoes. Now with outposts in Memphis, Vicksburg, Helena and Natchez. Home base: Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Big Muddy Adventures: custom-guided adventures on the Missouri, Mississippi, Meramec and Illinois -- covering the Grand Central Station of America's rivers from home base St. Louis.

Watercolor Map Posters: You can help the LMRF with a purchase of an original watercolor poster. Go to the Rivergator Map Shop.