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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 832
~~~~~~ Friday, April 9, 2021 ~~~~~~~

Clarksdale, MS ~ Helena, AR ~ Memphis, TN ~ Vicksburg, MS
~~~~~~~ Now Hiring! ~~~~~~
~~~~~ Program Director~~~~~

LMRF taking kids to the river -- week-long Summer Camp 2019

Fire-Making Workshop (Summer Camp 2018)

From the LMRF ~ Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Position Now Open!
Program Director

LMRF Program Director Job Description:

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation is seeking a candidate to manage youth and community programs based in Helena, Arkansas. This is an ideal opportunity for someone who is interested in pursuing a career in program management or non-profit management. The program director would be responsible for managing existing programs at LMRF but would also have the opportunity to expand the current programs or create new ones. The program manager would work mostly autonomously and would need to be comfortable creating their own goals and accountability measures. The board of directors will oversee the program manager and provide guidance and oversight.

The position would start immediately and continue through early fall 2021. There is the possibility to continue the position into the fall and winter of 2021, and into the future, depending on the success of the candidate.

About the Organization
The mission of LMRF is to promote stewardship of the Mississippi River through deep engagement. The organization is currently focused on providing in-depth opportunities for members of the community to interact with the Mississippi River and develop a sense of connection to the natural world. LMRF has created and carried out several programs

Key Responsibilities

Existing Programs:

Mississippi Summer Leadership Camp
Plan and execute two, 4-day canoe and camping trips for high school students. Recruit 6-10 students to participate in each trip.

Delta Adventure Day Camp

Plan and execute two, week long day camps for middle and elementary students focused on outdoor activities and skills. Recruit 10-15 students per camp.

Community Canoe Trips

Plan, execute and advertise monthly community events that allow adults and youth to experience the Mississippi River. Recruit 10-20 participants each month

Annual Canoe Race

Plan, execute and advertise the annual canoe race and fundraiser.

Other Responsibilities:

Prepare monthly and quarterly reports to the board on the progress of programs

Keep detailed records of program participation, results and expenses

Manage relationships with local educational stakeholders and community leaders

Promote the organization through engagement with patrons online

Compensation and Benefits
LMRF offers a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience.

-1-3 years of experience in education or youth development
-Demonstrable experience in program or lesson planning
-Ability to work autonomously with little oversight

To Apply:
Please send 1) current resume, 2) an essay describing your interest, 3) Three references (or letters of reference) and 4) personal letter to: John Ruskey, Quapaw Canoe Company, 291 Sunflower Avenue, Clarksdale, MS 38614, or by email to Feel free to write at length. Feel free to send any other supporting materials to help us understand who you are and where your passion for the river comes from.

Our kids will inherit the earth, and the river; so we want to make sure they have a deep and sincere relationship with their river! (5th grader Overnight)

2021 LMRF Board of Directors:

President Kevin Smith, Treasurer Robert Cheek, Secretary Jenn Mohead, at large: Aallyah Wright (leaving in April), Erin Lee, Corey Washington, Scott Shirey and Shannon McMulkin.

Volunteers: John Ruskey, Mark River, Tanner Aljets, Lena Von Machui, Scott Shirey, Nolan Dean, Dr. Cliff Ochs and Ole Miss Dept of biology graduate students, Robbie Whatley, Todd Dixon, Kim Townsend, PJ Townsend, Liberty Lee, Kristina Root-Carranza, Cara Curtis, and many, many others!

Partner Organizations: Quapaw Canoe Company, Entergy, Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, Helena Health Foundation, Arkansas Game & Fish, Helena Fire Dept, Phillips County Sheriff, Mississippi River State Park, US Coast Guard, Clarksdale Collective, and lots of others!

(Community Canoe ~ Sunflower River)

Update from the Lower Mississippi River Foundation:

The 2020 pandemic temporarily shut us down, except for the virtual programming like BEAM - Backyard Expeditions Arkansas Mississippi.

Now we’re seeing the light on the other side of the Great C19 Pandemic, and we’re still alive, thanks to partners like you!

We feel our mission and our work in behalf of our children and the river will be even more important in the 2021, 2022, and onwards into the future.

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation:

Immerses youth in nature
(Summer Camp 2019)

Enabling Experience on the Lower Mississippi River
(Summer Camp 2019)

For Deep Immersive Stewardship

(Summer Camp 2018)

Community Canoe Trips:

In 2019 the LMRF oversaw 5 community canoe trips + 2 family days + 2 cleanups

with over 150 people

Other Activities:

6 kids completed the 2nd annual Mississippi River Leadership Camp (1 week)

25 participants competed in the 1st Annual Buck Island River Race

10 kids participated in the River Stewards After School Program over the space of 10 weeks

Do You Ever Take Something Special For Granted?

All aboard the Adventure Bus! (thanks to Helena Health Foundation)

...Something of great beauty,
just over the levee?

LMRF taking kids to the river -- week-long Summer Camp 2019

...A place where Delta kids learn new skills,
self-understanding, and peace -- in nature?

(LMRF Summer Camp 2019, West Montezuma Island)

LMRF President, Kevin Smith (R) with wife Sissy (L) and group of parents and kids, Community Canoe to Buck Island, June 2019

Route Finding and Geography, Summer Camp 2019

In 2021 the LMRF will:

-provide overnight and day camps on the river for students from the Delta

- provide in-class programming and field trips that connect youth to the Mississippi

-Double its Mississippi River Youth Leadership Camp, with 2 consecutive weeks -- one for female youth, and one for male youth -- two consecutive weeks on the biggest river in North America -- for high school kids from the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta.

-Oversee the 2nd Annual Buck Island River Race (1st Saturday of October)

-Continue its River Stewards After School Program

Create a series of Field Trips for Arkansas and Mississippi Schools on Mississippi River, and other outdoor locations in the river's floodplain, such as wetlands, forests and sandbars.

(Carpenter Art Garden --winners in big canoe division -- 2018 Outdoors Inc Memphis Canoe & Kayak Race, 4th Chickasaw Bluff, Memphis)

(LMRF Summer Camp, Helena Harbor)

Dear Friends of the LMRF:

The Mississippi River flows 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, Kevin Smith, and the entire LMRF board are making this happen in many ways, and have big dreams for 2020.

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 (1998-2021)
Founding Director, LMRF (2011)

Four More LMRF Highlights from 2019:
(to be continued in 2021)

1) Field Trips for Arkansas and Mississippi Schools on Mississippi River
Kids (and teachers) need play time!
(KIPP field trip to Buck Island -- on big river in big canoes, Sept 2019)

2) Adventure Bus
Thanks to Helena Health Foundation - 25 pass bus for youth transport

3) 1st Annual Buck Island Mississippi River Canoe Race!
1st weekend in October, 9 miles from mouth of the St. Francis River to Helena Harbor. To be repeated in 2021.

4) Community Canoe Trips
On Sunflower and Mississippi Rivers


The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company, 22 years of high quality access to the wild wonder of the big river in human powered vessels. 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.


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Our Projects:

Rivergator: 1Million words describing the Lower Mississippi River, overseen by the LMRF:


Wild Miles: 71% of the Lower Miss is wild according to river rats. Will it stay that way?


Our Friends:

Lower Mississippi River Foundation is dedicated to promoting stewardship of the Lower and Middle Mississippi River through deep engagement.


1Mississippi River Citizen Program: River Citizens are people who want to clean up and protect America’s greatest River. Whether in armchairs or wading boots, River Citizens protect the River by speaking up on its behalf and caring for it in simple ways that make a big difference. Together, we can protect the River for future generations. Take the first step today and sign up for free as a River Citizen at 1Mississippi, can the River count on you?"


The Walter Anderson Museum of Art inspires discovery, imagination, and community-building on the Gulf Coast and beyond through programs, exhibitions, and outreach; and embodies Walter Anderson’s vision for societies in harmony with their environments. "Our mission is to empower lifelong curiosity and connection to the natural world through the art of Walter Anderson and kindred artists."


LEAN: the Louisiana Environmental Action Network: Before LEAN was founded in 1986, polluters ran roughshod over Louisiana’s unique environment and way of life. Since then LEAN has fought to safeguard not just Louisiana’s scenic beauty, wildlife and culture but more importantly those underserved citizens that don’t have a voice. Help LEAN serve the needs of Louisiana's communities.


The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics protects the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. The Center accomplishes this mission by delivering cutting-edge education and research to millions of people every year. Enjoy your world. Leave No Trace.


Coahoma Collective catalyzes arts-driven, community-inclusive revitalization in downtown Clarksdale


Big Muddy Adventures: adventures on the Missouri, Mississippi, Meramec and Illinois -- covering the Grand Central Station of America's rivers from home base St. Louis.

(LMRF Summer Camp 2018, West Montezuma Island)