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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 834
~~~~~~ Monday, April 19, 2021 ~~~~~~~
Clarksdale, MS ~ Helena, AR ~ Memphis, TN ~ Vicksburg, MS

Dear readers, please note: the mailman format the LMRD is sent on will cease to exist at the end of this month. After 800+ issues, over 20 years of sharing the river with photos, poems and text, we are searching for a new medium. Any suggestions?

Seats Still Available! Mon April 26 - Sun, May 2
Mississippi River Artist’s Retreat
One week of Pure Creative Space, in Voyageur Canoe to Remote Island. Limited seating. A few spaces still available. Also includes opportunity for yoga, and polarity healing. See below for more information, or repond to this email.

This Wed, April 21st, 1-2pm CST, with Lindsay Kolasa and Robin Whitfield!

Gifts of Plants: Medicine, Material, Shelter, Food

Artist/Naturalist Robin Whitfield and Herbalist/Naturalist Lindsay
Kolasa discuss and investigate the myriad ways that plants support human societies and self-discovery. They look closely at flora such as black walnut, elder, dandelion, and cotton, illuminating the versatility of plants in art making and craftwork, as well as the ways that nature's bounty shapes our conceptions of life on earth.

~This program is part of Backyard Expeditions Arkansas/Mississippi (BEAM)~


Backyard Expeditions Arkansas/Mississippi is a yearlong project of Quapaw’s that brings to life the complete experience of creating a dug-out canoe, its journey from start to finish, for our Mississippi/Arkansas kids! In partnership with the Walter Anderson Museum of Art and other institutional partners, we have created a series of live-streamed interactive video sessions for students and communities, focusing on canoe carving, along with a myriad of other survival skills, such as: transportation (bicycle maintenance, carving dugout canoe); shelter (building a lean-to tent, setting up a tent); food (gardening, gathering wild foods and cooking over campfire); health (purifying water, ID and gathering of wild foods, wild spices & herbs); animal identification (birding, tracking). We are also sharing the tools, history and inspiration that provide nourishment, sustainability and indeed survival for the soul! Including home-grown & cultivated arts, plant arts, literature, poetry, plein air sketching, and watercolors.

Click here for previous BEAM sessions:

Thanks to partners Walter Anderson Museum of Art and the Lower Mississippi River Foundation. Supported in part by the Mississippi Arts Commission

Mon April 26 - Sun, May 2
Mississippi River Artist’s Retreat

One week of "River-Time" -- of that unbroken pure creative space necessary to all creative types for reconnection and advancement of their vision and process. In voyageur canoe to remote island.

Plan to make open spaces during the day for Mother Earth to speak to you through the voice of creation, and simultaneously make good intentions for keeping the door open, and your creative footsteps headed in the right direction! Enjoy the cross-pollination quality that takes place with creative types in each other’s company — the sharing, the spiritual buzz, and the raw, procreative energy of the artist’s camp!

On behalf of the Mighty Quapaws, I am so looking forward to sharing with you the wild, woolly, powerful, gritty, muddy and incredibly expansive and serenely beautiful Mississippi River with you all! It is often compared to the Grand Canyon for it’s spiritual depth and physical infiniteness — mysterious, profound, unknowable, and yet fully present and always full of color and character! Initially the big river is sometimes overwhelming, but the closer you look the more you see. I personally pack guitar, sketchbook, pencils and watercolors to help me understand the universe of motion and beauty expressed. Please bring whatever creative tools you employ, or bring new ones to explore. We Quapaws will set up a base camp, and take care of kitchen, so that you can enjoy good quality exploration and creative time, whether it be writing, birding, tracking, painting, photography, or whatever your medium may be.

If you have any questions, please respond to email, or call me at 662-902-7841.



This three-day camp from 9AM-4PM daily invites Delta public school students and their teachers in grades 8-10 to embark on adventures into public lands and on the Mississippi River.
Activities include creative writing and art making, hiking, team-building, canoeing, and citizen science. Lessons will be co-created in collaboration with participating public school educators.

*The standards-based curriculum is designed to Integrate art, science, social studies, creative writing, and STE(A)M education

*Empower student confidence and achievement across subject area

*Enhance education through mentorship

*Provide CEU learning opportunities for teachers



Robin Whitfield

Space Between the Trees faculty includes:

Robin Whitfield is an artist-naturalist who has been on the MS Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster since 2006, an artist-in-residence for ArtPlace MS since 2002 and an Audubon Master Naturalist of MS since 2007. She has given creative workshops and exhibited her work widely across the state for the past 15 years.
Nkrumah Frazier is a representative of "Outdoor Afro, Outdoor Nation," and is Sustainability Officer for the city of Hattiesburg, MS. Frazier was an animal keeper and zoo manager at the Hattiesburg Zoo when he earned his degree in biology from the University of Southern MS. He is on the leadership team of the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America, which aims to protect wildlands from mining, drilling and climate disruption.
John Ruskey is an artist, adventure guide, and founder of Quapaw Canoe Company in Clarksdale, MS, which advocates for mentorship of young people and stewardship of the river. He was the first curator of the Delta Blues Museum (1991-1998), and is Co-founder and Director of the Delta Blues Education Fund (founded in 1992). His passion for nature finds expression in music, painting and writing. He has floated and written about many of the major rivers of North America, and his guided river excursions have introduced the waterways to hundreds of groups near and far, from public school students to Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown film crew.

Quapaw Canoe Company
Calendar, Spring/Summer 2021

April 2019

Wed, April 21
Learning Plants for Medicinal and Artisanal Purposes
With Lindsay Kolasa and Robin Whitfield
Sponsors: Mississippi Arts Commission, Lower Mississippi River Foundation and the Walter Anderson Museum of Art

Sun, April 25
Community Half-Daytrip - Mississippi River, 1-6pm, Helena, AR, $50 each, Mulberries in season!

Mon April 26 - Sun, May 2
Mississippi River Artist’s Retreat
One week of Pure Creative Space, in Voyageur Canoe to Remote Island. Spaces still available! Also includes opportunity for yoga and polarity healing.

May 2021
Sun, May 9
Community Half-Daytrip - Mulberry Picking Mississippi River
From 1-6pm, Quapaw Canoe Company Clarksdale

Wed, May 12
BEAM #10
Bicycle Repair Workshop with Jean Canôt
Sponsors: Mississippi Arts Commission, Lower Mississippi River Foundation and the Walter Anderson Museum of Art

Sun, May 23
Community Half-Daytrip - Mulberry Picking Mississippi River
From 1-6pm, Quapaw Canoe Company Clarksdale

Tues May 25 - Thurs May 28
June 2021

Monday, June 4-7
Space Between the Trees
For public school students and their teachers grades 8-10 to embark on adventures into public lands and on the Mississippi River!

June 14-24th
3rd Annual LMRF Summer Camp
for Mississippi and Arkansas HS age youth!
Presented by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Wed, June 19
BEAM #11
Last Canoe Carving Session: Duck-Doggie-Moon Goddess!
Sponsors: Mississippi Arts Commission, Lower Mississippi River Foundation and the Walter Anderson Museum of Art

June 14-17
Mississippi River Summer Camp for Boys

June 21-24
Mississippi River Summer Camp for Girls

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.

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

Our Dream for Quapaw Canoe Company in 2021:

"To follow the light glowing around the bend
downstream and upstream, post-pandemic;
to regain lost balance, and connection
with patience, wisdom and compassion
for our clients
for the river
for all our fellow creatures
for our mother earth"


The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company. 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 www.island63.comand click on "Quapaw Dispatch" for viewing back issues of the LMRD.


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The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

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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.

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.

Our Range: