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4 explorers

3 Rivers

2 Schools

1 Big Island

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Big Island


February 18-28, 2013

Learning Adventure for St. Ann School

and KIPP Delta Public Schools

We will be conducting a 10-day circumnavigation of BIG ISLAND at the end of February for the students of St. Ann of Normandy (St. Louis) and the KIPP Delta Public Schools of Helena, Arkansas. You can help make this learning adventure come to life with a donation to the newly formed a 501(c)3 non-profit, the Lower Mississippi River Foundation, which is presenting this expedition. See below. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Participation level:

____Corporate Sponsorship $2500

____School Sponsorship $1000 (Sponsor one of the schools involved)

____Individual Sponsorship $500 (Sponsor one of the classrooms involved)

____Business Sponsorship $250

____Private Individual $100

____ Other: $__________

Thank you! Any donation will help bring our kids to the river -- and the river to our kids. Leave no child on shore!

Please make out check and send to:

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation

291 Sunflower Avenue

Clarksdale, MS 38614

Circumnavigation of Big Island

A Learning Adventure February 18-28, 2013

Presented by: Lower Mississippi River Foundation

On Monday, February 18, 2013 Mike Clark & John Ruskey and a team of Mighty Quapaws will embark on a 10-day circumnavigation of Big Island by canoe as a learning adventure for the benefit of sponsoring schools and classrooms throughout the region, led by St. Ann of Normandy (St. Louis) and the KIPP Delta Public Schools of Helena, Arkansas.

Starting at Rosedale Mississippi the explorers will paddle downstream the Mighty Mississippi to the Arkansas River Confluence, and make base camp #1 for several days of natural science research and documentation. The Arkansas is the biggest and wildest confluence on the entire Lower Mississippi, full of bear, wild boar, birds and strange muddy landscapes. During the Great Flood of 2011 the Arkansas began carving a new outlet to the Mississippi in a violent explosion of water coursing behind Cat Island.

The explorers will next paddle up the great Arkansas River 43 miles, around several dozen giant river meanders in the fashion of Lewis & Clark. This portion will involve very difficult upstream paddling, poling and cordelling (the French word for pulling a boat with a long rope). At Base Camp #2 the adventure duo will continue research and documentation in the dark heart of the deepest woods of Big Island. Finding sign of the reclusive Louisiana Black Bear will be one of the tasks at hand, as well as conducting a bird and amphibian count. The team will be collecting data for US Fish & Wildlife as well as participating in the annual bird count for the National Audubon Society. The next challenge will be to locate a suitable back channel oxbow or wetlands to cross over and reach the White River. A route will have to be scouted through the briars, snake-infested woods and alligator swamps. The explorers will then manually portage all of their gear and canoes from the Arkansas River to the White River, a process that might require one long dirty day.

Now begins the downstream portion of the adventure. The explorers will paddle approximately twenty miles of the White River, a very remote and wild river which is here surrounded by the White River National Wildlife Refuge. Base Camp #3 will be established for the exploration of some of the most remote bayous around which are found the giant Bald Cypress, a favorite haunt for bears, raccoons, prothonotary warblers and bald eagles. The mouth of the Mississippi is now fenced at the White by its newest lock and dam, through which the adventurers will have to negotiate by being flushed through a 1200 foot lock chamber controlled by 120-ton steel gates. The last segment of the journey is a 25 mile run down the Mighty Mississippi, along the way the explorers will visit a steamboat wreck (the Victor) which was exposed in the 2011 Flood, as well as the old channel of the White behind Montgomery Island.

Big Island is a truly spectacular natural phenomena, a landscape cut by, flooded by and defined by three biggest and most important rivers of deep south, the Mississippi, the Arkansas and the White. This will be the first documented circumnavigation of Big Island in the history of its existence.

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation was created in 2011 for specific projects & programming oriented towards education, access, and enhanced environmental quality of the Lower Mississippi River & its tributaries.

Please contact John Ruskey for more information or call 662-902-7841.

Help us bring our kids to the river...

And the river to our kids...

Leave no child on shore!