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LMRD 554, Friday, Feb 16, 2018
The Voice of the Lower Mississippi River
It's February: Love your River, Love your Library!

In this Issue:


- Please Note: Postponed one week due to rain: LMRF 2nd General Annual Membership Meeting - Friends of the Sunflower River 16th Meeting - Postponed to Sat, Feb 24th, 12noon at Quapaw Canoe Company


- Tonight: "For the Love of Books Gala" fundraiser for the Community Book Talks Lecture Series -at the Cutrer Higher Ed Center in Clarksdale (Fri, Feb 16)


- Mark River Blog: Sunflower River Paddle

Please join us TONIGHT Friday, February 16th at 5:30 p.m. for the 4th annual "For the Love of Books Gala" fundraiser for the Community Book Talks Lecture Series. Tickets are $20.00/each and may be purchased at the Cutrer Mansion or the Library. See attached flyer for more information.

Sunflower River Paddle
Mark River Peoples

It’s an early Spring morning as I launch my Grumnan canoe below the bridge at Lee Drive. A local friend drives by slowly, examining my intentions, while showing off his bounty of the day-- a turkey in his truck bed. The water's up and flowing swiftly, as I congratulate him on his Delta turkey, and he wishes me well on my journey. The weather's warm and everything’s at blooming speed. The beautiful green is in the trees, and the birds are communicating in high tunes. I take a couple paddle strokes, readjust my angle, and float into the first bend. Tall reeds of river grass blanket the cut-banks, while turtles are dropping off logs simultaneously. White-tail deer get spooked from their grass beds, running off towards the nearby soybean field.

Trees start to appear as I get closer to the residential neighborhoods. A friend has his fishing poles side by side along the shoreline, but he is nowhere to be found. The river bends right as the old and young cypress are scattered throughout the channel. Some are leaning at a 30 degree angle, some are dead center, but beautiful and unique in every way. Low-lying branches are littered with harmless water snakes fresh from hibernation enjoying the heat from the sun. The mud banks have tracks of raccoon, beaver, and otter. Beaver scent mounds are strategically placed along the shore. A curious red fox runs in the thicket, while occasionally stopping to examine me. Wood ducks are pairing up looking for the best tree to nest. The female has to be careful, she has to consider a nice landing spot for her chicks first leap of faith.

The backyards and neighborhoods get closer to the waters edge as I get close to town. You can hear kids playing in the nearby streets. Gar fish suspend themselves showing their enchanting arrangements of spots. A large cottonmouth sunbathes on a huge beaver hut. The sun is peeping through the canopy as I get close to the Soldier’s Field. I think about how fortunate it is to have a river flow through your downtown area. How it attracts the birds and keeps wildlife part of our everyday lives. How it brings calmness and peace to myself and my GRIOT Arts kids. How it keeps the blue herons around. How it makes me feel when the beavers swim upstream first thing in the morning. Become a friend of the Sunflower River and help keep OUR river healthy and clean. Mark River.

Chief Guide and youth leader, Mark River is also the southern leader of the 1Mississippi River Citizen Program, connecting people up and down the river to the leaders who are making decisions about the river.

2018 is the 20th Anniversary of Quapaw Canoe Company!

We’re celebrating 20 years of guided wilderness trips on the Lower Mississippi River. We wouldn't be here without the free-flowing beauty and power of the glorious 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!

Upcoming Events in 2018

-ongoing: GRIOT River Arts Youth Program on Sunflower River

February, 2018

-Postponed one week due to rain! Lower Mississippi River Foundation: 2nd General Annual Membership Meeting; Friends of the Sunflower River 16th Annual Meeting. Noon, Sat, Feb 24, (see below for details)

March, 2018

-3/3/3 Three Day FAST

44th Annual Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism, West Memphis, AR, March 11-13th.
Note: Quapaw Canoe Company is a finalist for the 2018 Natural State Award!

April, 2018

-Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, April 12-14, Sunflower River Daytrips and Camping on the Sunflower River.

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 will be displayed from August 31 to Oct 13, 2018 at the Quapaw Canoe Company Interpretive Center at 289 Sunflower (3rd & Sunflower in downtown Clarksdale, Miss). 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

Postponed to Saturday, Feb 24, 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 24th, 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, or some hot dish to share at potluck. We’ll provide serving and eating utensils.

Love your River

Dear Y'all: The general annual membership meeting of the Friends of the Sunflower River traditionally takes place at noon on the Saturday closest to Valentine’s Day. As you know, the Friends is now overseen by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation. So we will now carry on this fine spring tradition with a broadened scope. Our focus tomorrow is the Sunflower. But the LMRF is concerned about health & recreation on the entire Lower Mississippi Valley, the big river and all of its tributaries. As result our caring group of river lovers can operate from the same lonely river, but now with a bigger dream and broader vision. This and more to be shared tomorrow around the bonfire potluck!

Soul Searching: the LMRF 5-year Strategic Plan

During the winter/spring 2016 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.

Benefits for members with current standing:

20% Discount on Sunflower River Rentals

10% Discount on rentals or any guided trips offered by Quapaw Canoe Company

Internal Items to Share & Discuss:


Board, supporting members, volunteers, constituency


Income, Expenses, Percentages of Programs, In-Kind, Partners


Names and email address only used for LMRF business, for the newsletter, and with 1 Mississippi. 1 Mississippi does not share info with anyone else.

Any other Items to Share & Discuss?


Action Items to Share & Discuss:

Search for Board Members:

Anyone interested? Any suggestions?




-decision makers (legislators, CEOs, etc)



-public lands (identifying, creating, protecting)

-suggestions for other committees?

Any other Items to Share & Discuss?