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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 691, Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018
Clarksdale, Miss ~ Helena, AR ~ Memphis, TN
I jumped in the river; I can't believe I did that!

(Carpenter Art Garden, Memphis Harbor)

“I jumped in the river; I can’t believe I did that!” Nykeria said as the sun set on the last of our four nights on the river. Like all the kids on this year’s summer camp, Nykeria had never been on the Mississippi River, she had never been canoeing or camping, but it didn’t take long for her to feel to feel the peace and power the river provides.

“Being out here, it feels like freedom.”

(Carpenter Art Garden, Mud Island)

If you have experienced the river for yourself, you know what she is talking about. We believe that everyone deserves access to that experience. That’s why LMRF is working to remove the barriers that prevent people from accessing the natural beauty of the Mississippi River.

Thanks to your support in 2018 the LMRF:

-provided overnight and day camps on the river for Nykeira and other students from the Delta

- provided in class programming and field trips that connected youth to the Mississippi

-hosted over 900 visitors to the Smithsonian exhibit Water/Ways which sparked conversations about the importance of water in our lives.

I am writing to you because we need your support to continue these programs next year. Accessing the river is not easy; it requires boats, safety equipment, guides, transportation, food, and camping supplies.

- A gift of $100 could help get one student out on the Mississippi River for a day.

-A gift of $300 would allow a child to camp out for a night on a river bank.

-Donations of $10, $20 or $50 allow us to continue onshore and in-class programming that sparks youth connection to the river

Your support helps us provide transformational experiences for youth in the Delta by exposing them to the natural beauty in their backyard. Help us continue to create the next generation of river stewards!

Shannon McMulkin, Executive Director
Lower Mississippi River Foundation

(Carpenter Art Garden, 4th Chickasaw Bluff, Memphis)


Mail Check:
Lower Mississippi River Foundation
107 Perry St
Helena, AR 72342

Monthly Donations:
Set up monthly donations at

(LMRF Summer Camp, Memphis Harbor)

Dear Friends of the LMRF:

The Mississippi River flows along joyfully through the bottom of our great country and creates one of the strongest and richest biotas in the world by virtue of its annual cycle of flood and drought. But no environment is bullet-proof. There is no more important time than now to increase stewardship of the Lower Mississippi. We need more kids and parents on the river, so they see firsthand what it is like in its best possible way. We need them as witnesses and caretakers now before we lose the gains made at the end of the last millennium. We are seeing more algal blooms in the backwaters, and more trash in the river. Power plants and steel mills are important to our economy, but they are not as important as the health of our families and communities. Water is the cornerstone of all life. Can’t new industries be built in places already industrialized? And can’t they be more thoughtful about the river that sustains them? For decades the 1972 Water Rights Act has led to better water quality in incremental steps — every year adding to the gains of the years previous. But now integral enforcement is being stripped away, and there is increasing pressure from industry and suburbia for space in the incalculably vital wetlands which adjoin the river.

The LMRF and its partners believe in a healthy future for the river, but we cannot do it alone. Shannon McMulkin and the LMRF board are making this happen in many ways, and have big dreams for 2019. I am no longer with LMRF, but my Quapaw Canoe Company works alongside as business partner.

Thanks for joining us in the big canoe, and helping us paddle along through the ups and downs of the big river. May the health and spirit of the river be with us all.

In service,

-John Ruskey
Owner, Quapaw Canoe Company (1998-2018)
Founding Director, LMRF (2011-2017)

(LMRF Summer Camp, West Montezuma Island)


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.

(Driftwood Johnnie & Blackie Bear)