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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No 429
Clarksdale, MS ~ Helena, AR ~ Autumnal Equinox, Friday, Sept 22, 2017

Big River Blessings to all for the Autumnal Equinox: Adding more photos from recent overnights with 5th graders. The river is made happier with the undivided courage, curiosity, and playfulness of kids. We are thankful for the teachers that allow them to experience nature with this kind of openness!

(this photo by Layne Logue, Quapaw Vicksburg ~ all others by John Ruskey)

Teach a Kid to Fish:

Last month we had the pleasure of sharing the beauty of the big river with the entire 5th grade of a local middle school on a series of overnights. Opening the door to the wilderness is one of our most rewarding experiences. It's an enormous responsibility and lot of work. But we are so lucky: to share in the thrill of exploration -- and later discovery!

Five 29-foot voyageur canoes requires five camptains. Thanks to Big Canoe Captains Adam Elliott (Quapaw Natchez), Layne Logue (Quapaw Vicksburg), Mark River Peoples, Lena Von Machui, and James "Woody" Sykes (all of Quapaw Clarksdale). Thanks to adventurer Mike Garland for stopping and visiting us to share stories with the kids at camp as part of his 2300 mile journey down the Mississippi River to fight cancer.

This kind of education is all about "Hands On." You can read about nature and you can discuss it, but you won't really know it until you touch it. We stress respect of the self, respect of others, respect of nature. The "3 Rs" we call it. You can't have one without the others. Each photo below corresponds to a unique hands-on experience bringing 5th graders closer to nature:

The Vessel:

The River:

The Water:

The Camp:

The Sandbar:

The Mudbar:

The Mystery:

The Jumping Fish (Bighead Carp):

The Flora (Wild Hibiscus):

The First Light:

The Transportation:

The Economy:

The Amphibians:

The Fish:

The Birds:

The Challenge:

The Insects:

The Expansiveness:

The Community:

The Thrill:

The Surprise:

The Fire:

The Beauty:

The Wild Places:

The Stories:

The Exploration:

The Discovery:

Teach a Kid to Fish...

PS: No creatures were hurt on this trip. All animals in these photographs were released after capture.

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Our Projects:

Rivergator: 1Million words describing the Lower Mississippi River:

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

Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program: long term apprenticeships developing personal character and young leaders through canoe building, big river guiding, and survival skills on the Lower Mississippi River.

LiNKS = Leave No Kids On Shore

LiNK-ing kids to the big river and mother nature -- with the passion of a LYNX.

Every LiNK in the chain is as important as the others. Real-time experiences for the betterment of personal health and environmental conservation along the Lower Mississippi River.

Friends of the Sunflower River

Established in 2005 for cleanups, paddle events and other educational programming on the Sunflower River.

River Arts

Youth program begun in 2012 as an after-school river activity in conjunction with GRIOT Arts.

Our Friends:

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

Quapaw Canoe Company:
custom-guided wilderness expeditions on the biggest and wildest river in North America, in our hand crafted cypress strip voyageur canoes. Now with outposts in Memphis, Vicksburg, Helena and Natchez. Home base: Clarksdale, Mississippi.


Do you Want to Become a Friend of the LMRF? we have room in the canoe for you! Contact John Ruskey by replying to this email, or


We are proud members of the
Mississippi River Network (MRN)