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LMRD 689, Friday, October 26, 2018
Clarksdale, Miss

In this issue: Smithsonian Water/Ways has left Clarksdale and is now on exhibit at the Ocean Springs Library. Captain Mark River returns to the scene to share his story -- his water story:

Mark River Blog:

~ My Water Story ~ The River and I ~

There's never a day I wake without thinking about the Mississippi River. Growing up in the St.Louis area fishing oxbow lakes in Illinois, climbing up and down steep cliff banks, exploring the Missouri-Mississippi confluence, snagging for spoonbill and buffalo near the Chain of Rocks, daydreaming, watching sunsets, hunting whitetail deer, and some days just euphorically listening to the currents roll by. Its metaphoric muse has always worked my mind and soul, while its ever changing channels meandered along, helping me maneuver through life.

My grandfather lived two blocks away from the Mississippi River. He drove the coal train for Portland Cement, a cement company on the banks of the river. My Dad would drop me off to help him with outdoor work. I was and still am, "the family worker". Whenever I was done for the day and didn't have athletic practices, I would run to the river just to see the water levels or go watch the infamous Chain of Rocks. Working hard when I was young molded me to what I am today. And the conduit of it all is the Mississippi River.

The spring rise would bring terror to the neighborhood, but a lot of us river rats yearned for it. The flood would replenish all the oxbow lakes. When the waters receded, it was a free for all! There were small blues holes full of fish all over! We would trample through the shallows in rubber boots and hand-fish. Summer arrived and the floodplain would dry, then its landscape would be transformed into football fields and farmland. It was awesome training in the floodplain and it produce some of the best soil in the world. I went on to earn a scholarship in football and that changed my life.

The Smithsonian Water Ways exhibit has heightened my awareness and sharpened my reasoning of our precious water supply. Watching the transformation of the students who experience the exhibit has given me more hope and courage in my stewardship with the Mississippi River. Not only has water spawned the idea for great communities, it's the essence of all of our lives. It is essential for everything we do. It conceived music and our economy. It's the oldest and most efficient form of transportation. Its three phases are the building blocks of our anatomy and our physical existence. With climate change being at the forefront of our reality, we must reevaluate our habits, prioritize water conservation, minimize nutrient pollution, and continue to protect the most valuable resource on the planet.

Mark River

Captain Mark River is chief guide and youth leader for the Quapaw Canoe Company. He is also the Southern Region Coordinator for the 1Mississippi Program.

Note: Smithsonian Water Ways #mywaterstory. You can share your water story with the world by going to My Water Story.

Mark River with his protege, Capt. Valencia Metcalfe

Position Opening for the
Mississippi River Network:

**1 Mississippi
Campaign Manager **

Position Description

The Mississippi River Network: Headwaters to Gulf (MRN) is seeking applicants for full-time, salaried position to work on the coalition's public outreach campaign. The MRN is a collaborative effort of 55 organizations who have joined together to protect and restore the Mississippi River. The MRN has several initiatives: 1) a public communications campaign 2) improved and amended policies that restore and protect the River and 3) promoting communication and collaboration among the MRN members and partner organizations.

The Campaign Manager helps to implement and grow the MRN’s public communications campaign called 1 Mississippi. The purpose of the campaign is to build a nationwide community of people (River Citizens) to protect the Mississippi River. The overarching goals of the campaign are to increase the number of River Citizens, to better engage and educate River Citizens, and to encourage River Citizens to take advocacy action.

As a full-time manager of the 1 Mississippi campaign, the Campaign Manager collaborates with the Regional Hosts (MRN members) to hire, train, and manage 1 Mississippi Outreach Assistants. Outreach Assistants are responsible for recruiting River Citizens as well as cultivating the River Citizens’ relationship to the River through education and engagement events with support from the Campaign Manager.

The Campaign Manager is responsible for organizing meetings, events, and engaging River Citizens to use their advocacy voice throughout the basin and specifically in Illinois and Iowa on MRN priority policy issues. He or she works towards acquiring press and increasing exposure for the 1 Mississippi campaign by building relationships with member’s communications staff, partners, and media. This person identifies, tracks, and manages all aspects of the campaign and analyzes how to continually improve the campaign’s communications strategy. He or she will develop and guide a Campaign Committee to ensure that the communications strategy is delivered effectively to the public.

The Campaign Manager uses web development, social media, and research skills to maintain, update, and promote the 1 Mississippi website and social media accounts. The position requires staying up to date on policy issues involving the River, translating these and other complicated ideas to the general public, and inspiring people to take action to help the River. The Campaign Manager creates presentations and informative materials (i.e., fact sheets, infographics) to further educate and engage River Citizens on MRN priority issues (key problems that affect the River) and how River Citizens can help. In addition, the Campaign Manager seeks to increase the reach and resources of the campaign through grant writing as needed. The Campaign Manager reports to the Director of MRN.

Additionally, The Campaign Manager manages the 1 Mississippi Campaign Funding Program (CFP). S/he creates campaign funding guidelines and applications, conducts consultations with interested members and, in collaboration with the MRN Director, reviews CFP member proposals, and weighs in on projects to be funded by the Campaign Fund. The Campaign Manager regularly communicates with CFP recipients (MRN members) and provides guidance to these recipients in planning their projects or events.

The position involves other types of outreach such as presenting the 1 Mississippi message and campaign at conferences and networking to increase MRN’s exposure.

Roles and responsibilities:

  • Coordinate the implementation and growth of a national public engagement campaign in order to engage people of voting age about the River
  • Within the context of MRN’s policy priorities, organize in-basin meetings around policy issues and engage River Citizens to use their advocacy voice
  • Identify and develop new and exciting outreach strategies consistent with MRN’s overall strategy and grant deliverables
  • Write and produce all 1 Mississippi campaign materials and communications to River Citizens, including blog posts, newsletters, action alerts, and all event materials
  • Develop and manage current content on the 1 Mississippi website, regularly track its progress and promote it through online media
  • Research and cultivate outreach techniques via social networking tools
  • Recruit, train and manage regional Outreach Assistants (located throughout the ten mainstem states) including planning a yearly training
  • Oversee each region’s implementation of the 1 Mississippi campaign, providing guidance and support when necessary to coordinate engagement and recruitment events
  • Collect and track data on campaign activities such as events held, River Citizens recruited, advocacy actions taken, letters/articles published; design and distribute annual River Citizen survey and report findings
  • Manage the 1 Mississippi Campaign Funding Program.
  • Attend and participate in all appropriate internal MRN planning meetings
  • Assist with creation of MRN Campaign Committee meetings and attend and participate in other MRN committee meetings (Steering and Policy) as needed
  • Research, draft and submit grant proposals that contribute to 1 Mississippi campaign funding
  • Assist MRN Director in planning and conducting large meetings, including the MRN Annual Meeting
  • Other duties as needed

Requirements for this position:

  • College degree
  • 3 to 5 years experience with managing and implementing a public engagement campaign
  • Organizing experience with a particular understanding of event planning
  • Marketing knowledge with specific experience in social media and public communications
  • Understanding of conservation-related environmental issues and advocacy
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; ability to collaborate and communicate with internal and external stakeholders; friendly and outgoing manner
  • Strong leadership skills, ability to direct and motivate others
  • Strong organizational, planning, and time management skills; excellent attention to detail
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).
  • Willingness to travel in 10 state region of Mississippi River
  • Motivated self-starter who will eventually require little guidance
  • Innovative and strategic thinker who is continually developing ways to improve campaign
  • Experience working on teams
  • Current, valid Driver's License

Ideal candidates possess the above and are:

  • Experienced with Salsa Labs, Adobe and Drupel
  • Quick learners eager to take on new tasks

The location of this position is in Chicago or at a location near the Mississippi River and a large airport, as travel to and from Chicago and the ten main-stem Mississippi River states is expected.


This is a salaried, full-time position. This position requires overnight travel approximately once to twice a month and at times requires weekend work for outreach/campaign events.

Salary and Benefits

  • Salary $40,000- $45,000 - commensurate with experience
  • Health insurance, paid time off, 403 (b)

Application Instructions

Interested individuals can apply by sending their resume, cover letter, and three professional references to No phone calls please. The position will remain open until filled.

One of the best things about being a river guide: the afternoon nap: Capt's "PB" Valencia Metcalfe, Mark River, And Hummingbird


The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company, which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary Year in 2018. Photos and writing by John Ruskey, Mark River and others. Please write for re-publishing. Feel free to share with friends or family, but also credit appropriately. Go to and click on "Quapaw Dispatch" for viewing back issues of the LMRD.