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Raise your hand if you have a question -- or branch in your face! (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)

The River Connects Us All

Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No 332

Posted Monday, Jan 25, 2016

~~~~ Love of the River ~~~

Many hands for make a successful class (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

–Mark Twain
(thanks Colton!)

Willow Camp (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)

In this week’s issue:

Morning Seminar (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)

1) I keep forgetting to mention the 10 days we spent with Augsburg College’s River Semester in November, 2015. Professor Joe Underhill led a group of 17 college kids on a three-month trip down the Mississippi studying literature, culture, history, and stream ecology. 18 credit interdisciplinary program. Dr. Joe, we sure hope you keep that one going! All photos in today’s Dispatch are from the Augsburg College River Semester.

Morning Seminar Continued (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)

2) Also I forgot to mention Colton Cockrum’s Be A Man VI Expedition, and Dave Cornthwaite and Emily Penn’s Exploring Mindset Expedition, and Jim & Sharon Bailey's Searching for a Healthy City (St. John's College River Seminar) Expedition. And many, many others. We had so many great trips last year. These kinds of river trips change people’s lives and lead everyone to lives in closer harmony with mother earth. And that's good for all of us. Also: the Amazing River Nurses, Mother’s Grace Animal Sanctuary, and Ruskey the rescue German Shepherd!

Meeting old friends in the middle of the river! (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)

3) Be sure to check out Two cool job postings for helping make the earth a healthier place, one from our partners at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and the other from the 1 Mississippi Campaign.

4) Needed: Plastic Yogurt/Cottage Cheese (or similar) Containers -- for construction of 30 foot cypress strip voyageur canoe!

5) We are in the middle of a 10-Year Strategic Planning Process. You can help us by filling out this simple survey, see below:

Push off after lunch (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)

Calling all Friends, Partners, Mentors, Collaborators, and Fellow River Rats!

From: John Ruskey

To: Friends, Partners, Mentors, Collaborators, and Fellow River Rats

Why: in behalf of our work on the river

For: the health of the river and its people

Dear Friend:

We are doing some long-term strategic planning this week for our work on the Lower Mississppi River and need your help to "keep it real!"

Here is the web link for the survey:

Some of you know us for our Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program. Some of you for the Helena Canoe Club. Some of you for our after-school prgramming with GRIOT Arts and Spring Initiative. Some of you as Big Canoe Builders. Some of you as trail makers in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Some of you as the creators of the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi River. Some of you as the Friends of the Sunflower River. Some of you for the Save Buck Island Campaign 2008-2010. Some of you for the Lower Mississippi River Dispatch. Some of you for our annual learning adventures like the historic Circumnavigations of Big Island and Circumnavigations of St. Louis, Some of you for our Big River Canoe Class, and some of you for our Canoe 101: Introduction to Starting Your Own Guiding & Outfitting Business. Some of you for the dugout canoes we carved and paddled for the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Re-enactment. Some of you know us from trips we have been on together. Some of you are teachers who have brought your kids on the river with us. Some of you are my personal mentors who helped shape who I am today, and helped instill in me a respect for the natural world, and our place within the wilderness.

We are conducting this survey because of our love of the river and our strong commitment to do the very best job we could be doing. And you could help us in this important by answering this survey and help us formulate who we are and what we should be doing in the future. We are approaching this as a 10-year Strategic Plan.

Please take a few minutes from your day and fill this out for us at:

It’s easy to do. We want your creative and inspired response. You can shoot from the hip, or you can be deep and thoughtful. Or both. Whatever you share will be helpful. Answer what you want and leave the rest blank.

And thank you in advance for helping us be the best we can be! We are the Worker Bees, and the river is the Queen!

Yours in service of the QUEEN BIG RIVER,

-John Ruskey

The next step might change your life... (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)


Mississippi River Network 1 Mississippi Campaign Coordinator Position Description

The Mississippi River Network (MRN, the Network) Campaign Coordinator 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. The Mississippi River Network is a coalition managed by Bluestem Communications, a leader in building creative public communications campaigns.

As a full-time manager of the 1 Mississippi campaign, the Campaign Coordinator collaborates with the five 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 Coordinator.

The Campaign Coordinator is responsible for organizing meetings, press conferences 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 reporters and other member’s communications staff. This person identifies, tracks and manages press hits and analyzes how to continually improve the campaigns 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 Coordinator 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. All campaign materials are created by the Campaign Coordinator, in collaboration with Bluestem staff. In addition, the Campaign Coordinator seeks to increase the reach and resources of the campaign through grant writing as needed. The Campaign Coordinator reports to the MRN Program Manager.

The position involves other types of outreach such as presenting the 1 Mississippi message and campaign at conferences and networking to increase Bluestem’s exposure. Support and participation in other Bluestem projects is encouraged as well as opportunities for professional development.

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 five 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
  • 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 Program Manager in planning and conducting large meetings, including the MRN
    Annual Meeting
  • Other duties as needed
    Responsibilities for Bluestem Communications work:
    • Attend staff meetings
    • Participate in group work sessions, like strategic planning, brainstorming, large mailings, etc. • Help with non-Mississippi-related writing tasks, as necessary and appropriate
    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
  • Motivated self-starter who will eventually require little guidance
  • Innovative and strategic thinker who is continually developing ways to improve campaign
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a friendly, outgoing manner
  • Experience working on teams and in a small-office setting
  • Current, valid Drivers License
    Ideal candidates possess the above and are:
  • Experienced with Salsa Labs, Adobe and Drupel
  • Quick learners eager to take on new tasks
    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
    Bluestem Communication’s offices are located at 14 North Peoria St, Suite 4F, Chicago, IL 60607.

Salary and Benefits

  • Salary $35,000 - $40,000 - commensurate with experience
  • Health insurance
  • 5% of salary contribution to retirement fund
  • V acation:
    o Year 1: 15 days
    o Year 2 and on: 20 days o After 5 years: 25 days
  • Nine paid sick days
  • Twelve paid holidays
    Application Details
    Please prepare and submit a cover letter explaining specifically how you meet the above criteria, your resume and at least two writing samples. Please apply ONLY if you have ALL of the above qualifications and can readily complete the listed tasks. Application packets that have form cover letters, grammatical errors or do not include at least two writing samples will not be considered. Email cover letter, resume and writing samples to Kelly McGinnis at:
    In the email subject line, write “Campaign Coordinator.” No phone calls, please. Applications will be reviewed on an on-going basis until the position is filled.

Evening Seminar (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)

Job Opportunity from our partner LNT the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics:

Searching For Our Next Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers!

See more at:




See more at:

Mission: The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is an educational nonprofit organization that teaches people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program is the mobile education arm, delivering Leave No Trace education to local communities. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer program, sponsored by Subaru of America, reaches millions of people annually, promoting stewardship of the outdoors.

Position Opening: The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics seeks a dynamic, savvy, extroverted team of educators (only teams of two are accepted as applicants) for an April 2016 through April 2017 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer position. As Traveling Trainers, teams live on the road, camp over 250 nights a year, and deliver Leave No Trace programs promoting the Leave No Trace minimum impact program to outdoor enthusiasts of all experience levels and ages. Teams create social media content, videos, weekly blogs, and detailed program reporting. Teams are focused in one of four regions as determined by the Center, but will work and travel outside of that region as needed. Team members are outfitted with a Subaru vehicle, basic equipment and supplies necessary for teaching and camping, and technology for communication needs. The majority of this work is with first-time users in frontcountry settings.

The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers represent the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics as ambassadors and educators and should be pumped to do all of the following:

Educate > Camp > Play Outside > Drive > Educate > Camp > REPEAT

Prepare and present Leave No Trace programs for diverse groups of all ages such as youth, youth serving organizations, land managers, park staff, college classrooms, hiking/paddling/climbing and other user groups, and the general public

Develop and evolve curriculum for scheduled programs – including program reporting on the back end

Expo in boothing areas at Outdoor Retailer, trade shows, conferences, outdoor festivals, races, interpretive trails, at trailheads, and other forward facing events

Generate social media content via creating blogs, posting Instagram photos, and creating videos highlighting work with partners, constituents and the general public

Promote and help build our membership and partnership programs

Be high energy, open, and ready to engage with whatever the day requires

See more at:

Employment and travel begin without exception April 28thth, 2016 extending through April 1st, 2017.

Leadership and Interpersonal Requirements:

High-level of motivation, energy, creativity and professionalism

Charismatic and entertaining public speaking and verbal communication skills

Interpersonal skills to facilitate work with a wide range of individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds

Must enjoy working with and educating both adults and kids of all ages

A positive, flexible disposition as well as the ability to deal with an evolving and unpredictable itinerary

Ability to see stories amidst events and help tell those stories

Excellent time-management skills

Established interpersonal relationship with other applying team member

Education and Technical Requirements:

Experience teaching in an indoor and outdoor environment

Exceptional written and verbal communication skills

Skill in writing for a variety of audiences - strong editing and proofreading skills

Savvy with creating social media content, video creation, and photography

Demonstrated passion for and participation in outdoor recreation

Current, Basic First Aid and CPR certification

Prior Leave No Trace Training (the Center will train the right team)

Personal budgeting and expense tracking skills

Proficiency with Mac computers


POSITION: Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Regional Team

SALARY: Living stipend, health insurance stipend, limited monthly salary and all travel expenses, a vehicle, and basic gear for life on the road.

CLOSING DATE: January 25th, 2016


Resumes for both team members

Joint Cover Letter – 2 page maximum

30 second – 1 minute creative video introducing yourselves and highlighting content creation skills

Please be prepared to provide 3 references upon request

EMAIL TO: | subject: Traveling Trainer Search - 2016


-No calls please.

-Pre-paired teams only apply. We will not place individuals into a team.

-U.S residents only

-No pets allowed

For more information about the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, visit

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is an equal opportunity employer.

Subaru:Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Job Announcement 2016.pdf

- See more at:

Quapaw Voyageur Canoes (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)

Needed: Plastic Yogurt/Cottage Cheese (or similar) Containers!

We are going into the wood shop in and will be building several voyageur canoes this winter. We need your 2 qt (or 32 oz) plastic yogurt containers! Cottage Cheese containers would work well. And also any other containers or bowls about that same size for mixing epoxy resin. Smooth edges and rounded bottoms are best for the purpose. Clean them out and bring to us in downtown Clarksdale, or box and send to Quapaw Canoe Company, 291 Sunflower Avenue, Clarksdale, MS, 38614. It will take us 4-6 months to finish these canoes. Anytime between now and June is good. Save your smooth plastic containers for us until June. Thanks! Free Mississippi River Connects Us All Poster to anyone who brings us cleaned out yogurt containers!

Voyageur canoes circle out of eddy and head downstream (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)

For more photos of the Lower Miss and more reading, go to

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is a service of the Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Clarksdale, Mississippi ~ Helena, Arkansas

Willow Camp (Augsburg College River Semester 2015)