Media Contact: Education Director Kristen Schulte
Office: 573.443.0292 Cell Phone: 636.288.5570
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Columbia, Missouri: Missouri River Relief and Job Point are partnering to provide cleanup volunteers and AmeriCorps members the opportunity to experience the Missouri River firsthand. The “Stewardship on the Missouri River” event will be hosted out of Cooper’s Landing Campgrounds & Marina on October, 15th. Starting at 9:00am, these young adults will work in stewardship teams that will learn through laughter, challenge, and through their experience making a difference on the Missouri River.
Access to nature is a fundamental human right. However, there are historic and socio-economic barriers that exist within our community which serve to discourage and prevent people of color from engaging directly with the great outdoors. Chris Kennedy of the Missouri Department of Conservation will open the program by giving a talk on his position as Assistant to the Director on Inclusion and Diversity. The purpose of this program is to provide a memorable experience for the AmeriCorps volunteers and champion environmental stewardship.
There will be a morning shift for cleanups departing at 9:30am and an afternoon shift departing after lunch at 12:30am. Volunteers will spend half of their time working together in service to the Missouri River and the other half of their time enjoying the benefits of time spent on the river with activities such as art and fishing. Local artist with Wildys World Pop Up Art Studio will be leading volunteers in the appreciation of nature through art while the Missouri Department of Conservation will be assisting with catfishing.
Like nesting watersheds combining to make up the watershed of the Missouri River, volunteers will come to realize that they are the summation of their experiences and decisions in life. When speaking about the volunteers, Jerrell Morton, Director of YouthBuild at Job Point, stresses the importance of lessons learned from stewardship and how it can impact lives. “Investing time can make a difference, which will affect them… Small details will reinvent their direction and can redirect their path.”
Debbie Njai, the founder of Black People Who Hike will close the program by giving a talk on the benefits of time spent in nature and her desire to encourage more black people to get outside and get active in nature. Kristen Schulte, Education Director of Missouri River Relief believes in the value and importance of offering programs like this in our community. “Everyone has the right to have meaningful experience outdoors. It has shown to improve quality of life, health and social well-being and as an organization we have a shared responsibility to work towards making sure the doors are open to everyone. The health of our community and environment depend on it.”
For the past 20 years, Missouri River Relief (MRR), a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Columbia, Missouri., has hosted Missouri River clean-ups and education program throughout the Lower Missouri River Valley, bringing over 25,000 students and teachers to the river to learn about the ecology, history and stewardship of the Missouri River.