The Rivergator has come to Life! We are now at the mouth of the Meramec River on Beaver Island, rainy morning, it feels like a Colorado rainstorm, cold rain and cold wind... but we are thankful for the water in this dry midwestern spring... fresh clean water... that billions of people around the wrold do not have access to.... the light is shimmering this morning in between the rain drops, the atmosphere is cleansed and all the rivergator crew are in good spirits... I was awoken at 3:30am sleeping out under the stars by the oncoming storms... The adventure begins!
14 of us on board, see below for entire crew list.
What matters most to you? Some would say family, which is honorable and politically correct, but others would say less honorable things like material items and money. If you really think about that question, some would still not mention the essential to all living things-water.
Water is minimized because of how easy we have made it accessible. You can go to the local convenient store and find it under a variety of descriptions, or go to your faucet and turn the knob, but this easy accessibility is because of it's importance to all walks of life.
What if we, like most third world countries, had to make gathering water the most crucial thing for survival. What if our fresh water sources like the Mississippi River was so overly polluted to the point where we had to pay expensive prices just to survive? Right now, being a steward of the Mississippi River, I know you can boil the water ten minutes and it's drinkable. I also know the Mississippi River supplies 18million Americans fresh water daily at a fraction of the price you spend at the store. So why are we so careless about how we treat our rivers?
Fortunately, we have organizations like 1mississippi, who like myself, are spreading awareness on the trials and tribulations of our great river, while trying to bridge the gap between freshwater and people, so we can preserve this great treasure for future generations.
Today is World Water Day. It's time to put our priorities to the forefront, and not let greed and material items rule our world. Our entire ecosystem depends on it for balance, so what could be more important? Let's make a commitment to protect and preserve our most valuable resource for generations to come. Mark RiverThe honorable Emeka Jackson-Hicks, the Mayor of East St. Louis
World Water Day Celebration
Lena Von Machui
The Rivergator Expedition docked at the Gateway to the West in St. Louis for a few hours after paddling the eight miles into the city from our island camp from the night before. On the cobblestones under the great Arch we were met by Emeka Jackson-Hicks, the Mayor of East St. Louis, supporters of the Rivergator, and assorted members of the press.
March 22, 2017 was World Water Day. Much has been written about the significance of our worlds' water in the past year, from the melting ice caps of the Arctic to the Water Protectors of Standing Rock. Much of this was mirrored in the words spoken by Mayor Jackson-Hicks, 1 Mississippi Leader Mark "River" Peoples, "Big Muddy" Mike Clark, and John "Driftwood" Ruskey, engineer of the Rivergator.
Though different aspects were touched upon, from the importance of our waterways for a city's infrastructure, to raising awareness to the issues that affect the river, to the lack of understanding of it, the message was clear throughout- the Mississippi River is of great importance to us all, whether we are aware of it or not.
The World Water Day Celebration was concluded by a Water Ceremony; many people had brought samples from their homes, which stretched across the globe. From Mississippi to Colorado, to a sample from the Wabash River, to a few drops from Belgium and New Zealand, the samples joined together in the rolling waves of the Mississippi. Big Muddy Mike even took a swig of his sample, gathered right here in St. Louis.
Clean water is vital. For us right now, and for generations to come. We River Rats depend on a healthy river, as does everyone else. The Mississippi is the basin that drains the tributaries from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalatians. No matter where you live, your water source depends to some extent on the health of this waterway.
So join us in celebrating water, which is our life, and love your river which connects us all.
Introducing Rivergator Crew:
John and LaNae Abnet — paddled the Wabash/Mississippi in 2015. LaNae is blogging this trip and already posted at www.separateboats.com — go check it out!
Alicia Lloyd - Clean Water Policy Coordinator for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. Go to website: http://moenvironment.org
Tony Long - A Brit living in Belgium, passionate pro-European, seasoned traveller and life-long environmental campaigner and political activist; on expedition for one week, to Cairo
Andy McLean - Andy is a Kiwi-based adventurer who loves the outdoors and runs a club in London called “Little Paddle” that was inspired by a trip on the Mississippi in 2015. On entire expedition to the Gulf.
Chris Battaglia - Expedition Film Maker, from Portland ME, modeled his business after Thoreau’s “simple life” — https://villagevitals.squarespace.com
Boyce Upholt - Expedition chronicler, TFA leader, now turned full-time writer, his current project is called between the levees: https://www.betweenthelevees.com which he sub-titles "America's Great, Misbehaving River—and its Walled-In Wild"
Tim Weybright, retired computer programmer/farm boy dreamed all his life of trying the big Mighty Mississippi one day!
Mike Clark - BMA founder and leader, teacher
Janet Sullens Moreland - BMA guide, world-class paddler, teacher
(check out https://1woman3greatrivers.com Janet is first person source to sea on both MO River (2013) and MS River (2016)
Roo Yawitz - BMA General Manager, Senior Guide
Lena Von Machui - QCC secretary and 1st mate
Mark “River” Peoples - QCC chief guide and youth leader
John Ruskey - QCC founder, Rivergator creator