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Quapaw Canoe Company Your Mississippi River Adventure Starts Here!

LMRD 551, Feb 1, 2018
The Voice of the Lower Mississippi River

2018 is the 20th Anniversary of the Quapaw Canoe Company!

We’re celebrating 20 years of guided wilderness trips on the Lower Mississippi River. We wouldn't be here without the generosity of the glorious muddy river — and you! All of you who have gone on river expeditions with us, or attended programs, or become river rat friends. Our paddles are up to all of you for helping us become who we are today!

No Water No Life: If you want to read a long rambling interview about Quapaw Canoe Company and all of its many fractal branchings, click here: No Water, No Life. Beautifully illustrated by author, NWNL founder, photographer Alison Jones.

Position Opening:

Excellent opportunity for someone who loves and knows the Lower Mississippi River and its great valley — someone with a strong conservation background!

Click Here to Apply: Environment Program Officer, Mississippi River

Upcoming Events in 2018

-ongoing: GRIOT River Arts Youth Program on Sunflower River

February, 2018

-2/2/2 Two Day Fast

-Mississippi: the River, the People, the State, Millsaps College Arts & Lecture Series,
Tues Feb 13 featuring Jim Giesen, James Barnett, and John Ruskey (see below for details)

-Smithsonian Water/Ways partner meeting Fri Feb 16, 11am-12noon, Meraki Coffeshop, Clarksdale

-Lower Mississippi River Foundation: 2nd General Annual Membership Meeting; Friends of the Sunflower River 16th Annual Meeting. Noon, Sat, Feb 17, 2018 (see below for details)

March, 2018

-3/3/3 Three Day FAST

44th Annual Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism, West Memphis, AR. Note:
Quapaw Canoe Company is a finalist for the 2018 Natural State Award!

June 2018

-Mississippi River Summer Camp June 11-15, 2018 for HS kids, 5 days in big canoes learning leadership and survival skills. Led by Environmental Science teacher extraordinaire Shannon McMulkin.

-Mississippi River Artist's Retreat June 25-29, 2018, on remote river island... 5-days of pure color, pattern, and substance: the water, the mud, the sand, the creatures, and the huge expanse of the open sky over the biggest river in North America! Led by artist “Driftwood Johnnie” John Ruskey

August 2018

Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibition August 31 and Oct 13, 2018 at the Quapaw Canoe Company Interpretive Center at 289 Sunflower (3rd & Sunflower in downtown Clarksdale, Miss) between August 31 and Oct 13, 2018. This is the only location along the Lower Mississippi River from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico to be hosting this thought-provoking exhibit.

Go to for more info

More Details about Upcoming Events:

Mississippi: the River, the People, the State

Jim Giesen, James Barnett, and John Ruskey

Millsaps College Arts & Lecture Series

The mighty Mississippi River and the many ways it has affected the state of Mississippi and its people will be featured in this program. History professor Dr. Jim Giesen of Mississippi State University will moderate the program and discuss the history and cultural relevance of the Mississippi River to our state. Archivist and writer Jim Barnett will discuss how the river itself and its path have affected the state. He will discuss his recent book, Beyond Control: The Mississippi River’s New Channel to the Gulf of Mexico. Finally John Ruskey of Clarksdale, who is a musician, painter, writer, and owner of Quapaw Canoe Company, will talk about the influence of the river on artists, musicians, and writers and more.

Tickets are $10. Season tickets are available.

All Arts & Lecture Series programs will be in Millsaps College's Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex Recital Hall at 7 pm unless otherwise noted.

Go to: for more information.

Saturday, Feb 17, 2018: Lower Mississippi River Foundation 2nd General Annual Membership Meeting. Friends of the Sunflower River 16th Annual Meeting.

The 2018 meeting is 12noon Saturday, Feb 17th, on the riverbank behind Quapaw Canoe Company, 3rd & Sunflower in downtown Clarksdale. We'll start with a bonfire and potluck meeting, and then jump into a Sunflower River Cleanup afterwards. Come join us, if you can. Quapaw Canoe Company is donating canoes and paddleboards for the cleanup. Dress for the weather. Bring a loaf of bread, a bag of chips, some fruit, veggies, or a main course dish. Whatever you feel like contributing will be received with appreciation.

Quick History of the Quapaw Canoe Company

20 years ago, in 1998, Quapaw Canoe Company came to life as a simple operation offering guided canoe trips, one person at a time, on the most dangerous, the most magnificent, and the most cultured river in America, the Mighty Mississippi.

From our humble “cave” location, sunk into the banks of the Sunflower River in downtown Clarksdale, the Quapaw Canoe Company slowly expanded its livery. There were no guides around to help, so founder John Ruskey had to train young men and women from ground up — and so he Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program was born. Clifton Carr and Ethan West were the first 2 Mighty Quapaws. Legendary river guides “Woody” (James Sykes), “Dinky” (Markevious Jones), “Popeye” (Jeremy Hayes) and “Dare” (Darius Jurden) all grew up through the program, later to be followed by the illustrious Mark River Peoples, Valencia Metcalfe and Lena Von Machui. Mark River is now chief guide, youth teacher, and the southern leader of the 1Mississippi Program.

In 1999 the Ladybug Canoe came to life, under the mentorship of big canoe master Ralph Frese. In 2007 the Junebug Canoes were born, named after original shuttle driver, Wesley Jefferson, “The Mississippi Junebug.” Junebug I is in Clarksdale while Junebug II went north to provide service for our good friends at Big Muddy Adventures in St. Louis.

Since then we have added on one hand crafted cypress-strip voyageur canoe after another, and slowly developed our tribe of river guides. Today there are 11 big canoes spread out over the length of the Lower Mississippi River, with additional Quapaw canoe bases in Natchez (Adam Elliott), Vicksburg (Layne Logue) and Helena (position open).

Position Opening:

Excellent opportunity for someone who loves and knows the Lower Mississippi River and it’s great valley — someone with conservation background!

Environment Program Officer, Mississippi River

The Walton Family Foundation is seeking a skilled, highly motivated and entrepreneurial individual to join the Washington, D.C., office as a program officer for the Mississippi River team.

The Program Officer Role

You will be a crucial member of a small team under the supervision of the Walton Family Foundation's Mississippi River Initiative Lead, Moira Mcdonald. You will assist in the ongoing refinement and implementation of the Mississippi River strategy. The foundation supports scaling up implementation of key agricultural practices through federal and state policy, as well as supply chain initiatives.


Relationship-building and Grantmaking

• Lead grantmaking in key states (Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana) in alignment with the Mississippi River strategy, particularly reforestation in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, nature-based tourism, and wildlife resources for hunters and anglers.

• Engage with NGO and industry partners from different parts of the agricultural supply chain to hone strategy and solicit grant proposals.

• Conduct site visits, attend public meetings and represent the foundation at conferences and other events.

• Identify potential new partnerships and opportunities, including potential funding partners.

• Conduct due diligence on proposals, develop internal grant documents and shepherd applications through the approval process.

• Track grantee progress toward objectives and assist grantees in monitoring progress towards strategic goals.

Program Strategy and Implementation

• Participate in the adaptive management of the Mississippi River strategy

• Collaborate with the Strategy, Learning and Evaluation team to implement and refine the foundation's monitoring and evaluation program.

• Partner with the Communications team to develop and execute a targeted communications plan to support program goals

• Provide information and assistance as needed to foundation board members.

• Execute special projects and other duties as assigned.

Qualifications and Experience

You will have an understanding of issues related to agricultural conservation, freshwater systems and familiarity with the use of market-based tools for conservation. You will need self-direction and decisiveness combined with flexibility and a capacity to give and receive feedback graciously. We are looking for an individual with superior social skills, a respectful attitude for the work of grantees and a proven ability to be a part of an effective team.

You ideally possess the following attributes:

• Excellent written and oral communication skills.

• Demonstrable time-management experience and ability to manage multiple projects for deadlines

• Proven capacity to work in a team as well as independently.

• Intellectual agility and the ability to analyze, think critically and understand emerging issues that are directly relevant to programmatic funding areas.

• Unquestionable ethics and personal integrity.

Basic qualifications required:

• At least 5 years of experience in natural resource management or agriculture, policy or advocacy, ideally with experience in grant or project management and evaluation.

• Graduate degree in a related field.

• Willingness to travel 20%

• Experience in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley is preferred.

Work Environment

You will join 25 colleagues in the growing Washington, D.C., office. The work environment is professional, dynamic, friendly and typical for an office-based position. There is regular travel involved for grantee visits, team retreats and company-wide meetings. Physical demands are typical of an office environment.

Compensation and Benefits

The foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience.

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We believe the best ideas can come from anywhere, so we stay open to new thinking from all over. And we partner with those who are closest to the problem because they're usually closest to the solution.

We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the

Arkansas-Mississippi Delta.

Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, with offices in Washington, D.C., Jersey City, New Jersey and Denver, Colorado, approximately 110 staff conducts the day-to-day operations of the foundation.

About the Environment Program

We will make approximately $90 million in environment grants in 2018 to dozens of organizations across multiple continents, investing in two of the most important conservation issues of our time: restoring the health of the oceans and preserving the quality and availability of fresh water in the Colorado River basin and the Mississippi River basin.

Our Environment Program is organized under four initiatives:

• Oceans: To significantly reduce overfishing, improve ocean health, and preserve fishing jobs in the Americas and Indonesia.

• Colorado River Basin: To increase market incentives for agricultural and urban water efficiency in the Upper Basin; advance binational and multistate water agreements in the Lower Basin; and preserve the Colorado Delta system, including riparian habitat and flow restoration.

• Mississippi River Basin: To align policy and market incentives to encourage farmers to adopt practices that improve water quality, build soil health and reduce pollution.

• Coastal: To ensure that the restoration dollars from the 2010 Gulf oil spill settlement flow to science-based, large scale restoration projects in the Mississippi River Delta.

Please apply at: Walton Family Foundation Careers or at LinkedIn

The Walton Family Foundations is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status of protected veteran, among other things or status as a qualified individual with a disability.