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February is Sunflower River Month!

Sat, Feb 19th @ 12noon -- Meeting for Friends of the Sunflower River

at Quapaw Canoe Company -- Street level 3rd & Sunflower Ave.

In downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi

Schedule for Saturday, February 19, 2011:

12noon - 2pm General Annual Membership Meeting of the Friends of the Sunflower River Including a presentation from the Big Cypress Outdoor Club about the Yalobusha, Tallahatchie and Yazoo Rivers and the “Great Island of Greenwood, Mississippi!” Also: the Coldwater Blueway. Also: The Mississippi Water Trail Association. Update from Yazoo Water Management District. See below for entire agenda.

Afterwards, anyone interested in creating water trails in the Mississippi Delta is welcome to join the first organizational meeting of:

2pm - 4pm Yazoo Basin Water Trails Meeting -- to identify waterways in the Yazoo River Basin and make recommendations for the State of Mississippi Water Trails Association.

For more info contact: John Ruskey or 662-902-7841

Upcoming for Spring 2011:

February 26-27: Lucy’s Revenge

Overnight on the Sunflower River with Keith Plunkett. Lucy's Revenge is a project in memory of Lucy Plunkett to raise funds for Alzheimer's research and support services while showcasing Mississippi's waterways. All donations go directly to the Mississippi Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. Sponsored & hosted by the Friends of the Sunflower River. Do you want to join in on this overnight adventure & help support this worthy cause? Contact for details.Expedition down the strange Sunflower River tributary: the Hushpuckena.

TBA: Hushpuckena Expedition

Expedition down the strange Sunflower River tributary. The Hushpuckena was historically formed by the overflowing of De Soto Lake. Today it drains everything between the Mississippi River levee and the Sunflower River from Farrell to Shelby. Born of springs & runoff around Rena Lara, the Hushpuckena meanders under Hwy 1 downstream south through Walnut Grove, Alligator (via Annis Brake Bayou), Duncan, and then cuts East at Hushpuckena under Hwy 61 to join the Sunflower River in the wilds between Shelby & Parchman. The head of navigation of the Sunflower River was considered to be at this confluence, downstream of which the Sunflower becomes the “Big Sunflower.”

March 5-6: Leave No Trace

Valuable training for Friends of the Sunflower River! Leave No Trace is for individuals who love the land. The trainer course introduces the ideas and principles of Leave No Trace and the teaches the importance of taking a personal role in preserving the outdoor experience for future generations. Learn the Seven Leave No Trace Principles and teach them to others.

TBA: Exhibition of Paintings - Robin Whitfield

Legendary Mississippi painter Robin Whitfield explores the waterways of the Delta & Hill Country and paints from the cockpit of her kayak. Exhibition opening TBA. Artist’s Retreat TBA.

April 14-17: Juke Joint Festival

Quapaw Canoe Company will be offering two canoeing & kayaking activities during the long weekend of Juke Joint Festival: 1) Paddling on the Sunflower River and 2) Canoe-Carving Workshop. Both will take place all day 9-4pm every day Thursday April 14 – Sunday April 17. Location: Street level 3rd & Sunflower in downtown Clarksdale.

All Year: 1Mississippi River Citizen Campaign!

We have become the headquarters for the Southern Region 1Mississippi Campaign. You already are a River Citizen if you are reading this! Sign up with John Ruskey, or go to and do it online. See exhibit at Quapaw Canoe Company.

Please Remember -- 20% off any rentals of canoes, kayaks or SUPs for Friends of the Sunflower River in current good standing!!!


5th General Annual Membership Meeting

of the Friends of the Sunflower River

When: Saturday, February 19th, 12noon - 2pm

Where: Quapaw Canoe Company 289 Sunflower Avenue in Downtown Clarksdale (3rd & Sunflower)

4 Presentations:

1) Big Cypress Outdoor Club about the Yalobusha, Tallahatchie and Yazoo Rivers and the Great Island of Greenwood, Mississippi

2) The Coldwater Blueway about the establishment of the Coldwater River Blueway

  1. Mississippi Water Trail Association

4) Yazoo Water Management District


Adopt a Ramp


Walk the Walk

Spring Cleanup

The Weir


Stormwater Drainage in downtown Clarksdale

Nonprofit status

Sunflower Riverwalk repaving, picnic benches & tables

Any other business brought up before group

February is Friends of the Sunflower River Month!

20% off any rentals of canoes, kayaks or SUPs for Friends of the Sunflower River in current good standing!!!

Why is February is Sunflower River Month?

Its that time of year: If you’ve never before participated in Sunflower River Month this year you can catch up and join in the fun.

What is Sunflower River Month? Its a month-long celebration for the sad & neglected & lonely little bluesy river we call our own.

Why February? Its that time of year that things slow down enough we can take a little extra time to look over the 2nd Street Bridge and gaze at that interesting dark muddy ribbon of fluid magic flowing through downtown Clarksdale. Or maybe a noon-time walk during lunch break? The riverwalk has been closed off to vehicular traffic. Walk across the bridge, or park your car at Soldier’s Field and enjoy a peaceful stroll down the only street in the Mississippi Delta that is reserved for pedestrians only (or bicycles, skate boards, and other self-powered means).

Why Walk? Its peaceful. Its rejuvenating. Its good for you. You notice things you’ll never see from your car. At dusk you might notice waves emanating in a v-line as a Beaver noses his way upstream in search of supper. Or you might see a River Otter playfully diving & re-surfacing. You will hear Snow Geese overhead and Blackbirds in the trees. If you’re quiet & keen-eyed you might spy Mr. Red Fox darting into the shadows as his nightly hunt begins. Or maybe catch Mr. Big Horned Owl as he swoops onto the high branches of a bald cypress to stare with those killer eyes at all things that make motions below.

Why the Sunflower? Because its our river.

How about its tributaries? This Year we will be making an expedition down the strange and important Sunflower River tributary: The Hushpuckena.

What else is happening? All month there will be events in celebration, education and advocacy concerning the Sunflower River & its tributaries. Stay tuned. Interviews forthcoming with Super Chikan’s little brother Ellis Coleman (Legendary Hunter/Fisherman & Riverbank Resident) Mac Crank (Downtown Revitalization Head Guy) and John Mayo (One of our illustrious Representatives). Interviews will appear in upcoming Issues of the Delta Bohemian. I Will update other programs as events are confirmed.

Where can I find out more about the Friends?

Go to our blogsite Please contact me about adding photos, stories & details.

Isn’t the Sunflower a dirty river? Walk along or canoe down the river and decide yourself what’s dirty and what’s not. Your opinion does not count if you have only seen the river from the bridge out of your car window.

Isn’t this Black History Month? Yes. In respect to Black History Month, let me share a few details of note concerning the Sunflower River. In its journey through the Delta, the Sunflower winds through the layers of mud and history that gave the world its first great blues singer (Charlie Patton, Dockery Plantation), the first mechanized cotton picker (Hopson Plantation), its oldest African-American founded community (Mound Bayou), rural Civil Rights era leaders (Fanny Lou Hamer, Sunflower County; Aaron Henry, Clarksdale), the Teddy Bear (Delta National Forest), King of the Chicago Blues (Muddy Waters, born in Rolling Fork, lived 25 years at Stovall) and the renowned ambassador of the blues (B.B. King, Indianola). The Rev. C.L. Franklin (Aretha’s Father) is just one of many who were baptized in her muddy waters. Bessie Smith died at the G.T. Thomas Hospital which sits on her banks in Clarksdale (now the Riverside Hotel). Today you can hear live blues along the river at juke joints Red’s and Sarah’s Kitchen. Legendary woodsman, Holt Collier (1846-1936), who cornered the Teddy Bear, reported its waters to run clear & clean, and Roosevelt started each day of the hunt with a cold-water swim. One of our long-term objectives is to make the waters safe once again for fishing and swimming.

Okay, but is it safe to paddle on the Sunflower River? Ask my 3 year old daughter Emma-Lou: She says its okay, but wear a life-jacket! Recent paddlers on the Sunflower River came from Washington State and Memphis. The wildlife on the Eagle’s Nest to Clarksdale run has been spectacular!