Close Window
Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No 431
Migrations of Monsters and Monarchs:
Shroud of Mystery and Misunderstanding
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017 ~ Helena, Clarksdale ~

Migrations of Monsters (fish) and Monarchs (butterflies): everything in motion: More kids' groups this fall have yielded more exploration and more discovery… all in our mission to connect people to the Lower Mississippi River, which for so long has been veiled in a shroud of mystery and misunderstanding. See if you can identify the following close-up photos of creatures (or evidence of their movements). All photos by John Ruskey.

Helping dissolve the shroud of misunderstanding, Philadelphia's WHYY the PULSE recently published a series of radio stories about the Mississippi River:

The words ‘Mississippi River’ evoke images of a mustachioed Mark Twain — or the whistle of a steamboat calliope.

“But that river doesn’t exist anymore,” says historian Christopher Morris, author of “The Big Muddy: An Environmental History of the Mississippi and Its Peoples from Hernando de Soto to Hurricane Katrina.”

The Pulse focuses on stories at the heart of health, science and innovation -- the world-class work to prevent disease, preserve energy, stall death, develop treatments and build healthier cities.
Listen to The Pulse Fridays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at noon on WHYY-FM, listen live at or download our podcast on iTunes.

Click here for Traveling Down the Modern Mississippi:

I spent some time in the South this summer, and everywhere I went, I asked people if they'd ever been on the Mississippi River. The answer was always 'no.' This seemed odd because the river has shaped the landscape, economy and mythology of the region.

I was determined to get on the river. At dawn one morning, my guide, John Ruskey, slips a canoe into the water in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Ruskey is a canoe builder and river guide with Quapaw Canoe Company.

"The common perception of the Mississippi is that it's a dirty ditch," Ruskey says. "And it's greatly feared. It's left the river in this shroud of mystery and misunderstanding and has meant that very little of it has been protected and recognized for its wild qualities."

Much of the river is filled with barges and industry on its banks, but he wanted to show off the Mississippi's other, natural sides. As we canoe in the wide, mocha-colored waters, Ruskey seems to summon the wildlife all around him: beavers dive into the water from the banks, birds skim its surface, snakes eye him under the torpor of digestion, deer dash mere feet from him.

Ruskey says he often thinks of the river's openness, expansion, freedom, color and patterns.

"It's very vibrant, it's always in motion. And it's always present in everything you're doing and you can't ignore it like you can a small river. The Mississippi dominates the landscape completely. Everything that you see on the islands and in the woods is there because of something the river did."

Pass Da Biscuits! This weekend is the 32nd Annual King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, AR

32nd Annual King Biscuit Festival, Oct 4-7, 2017


Bluestem Communications is seeking a Campaign Field Organizer for The Mississippi River Network (MRN). The Campaign Field Organizer is responsible for engaging and mobilizing River Citizens (or 20,000 people who take action to improve the river’s land, wildlife, and water) and other stakeholders about the policies and practices affecting river quality. Experience in community organizing, campaigns, volunteer training, digital communications, strong interpersonal skills, enthusiastic embrace of diversity and exposure to environmental issues is a must, as are effective oral, written, and graphic communication skills. An understanding of the interplay of state and federal policy and knowledge of wetlands protection, agricultural pollution, and infrastructure are highly valued. A degree in policy, natural sciences, communications, or environmental studies is preferred; three or more years of campaign or community organizing work experience is equivalent. Bluestem is located in Chicago; remote work is acceptable.

MRN is comprised of 54 state organizations and additional national organizations and is the nation’s only group devoted exclusively to the health of the Mississippi River. Bluestem Communications is a nonprofit organization and a leader in values communications in the environmental community. Our mission is to use communications to inspire action that protects, restores, and sustains natural resources.

Please send a resume to: No telephone calls please.

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation is dedicated to deep stewardship of the Mississippi River, especially through the next generation of stewards, our kids. LiNKS = Leave No Kids on Shore!


The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of:

Lower Mississippi River Foundation


Unsubscribe: If you decide no longer want to receive the Lower Mississippi River Dispatch, you can disembark yourself by hitting the “Click to Unsubscribe” line at the bottom of every Dispatch.