Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shall We Gather at the River?

On Friday & Saturday, Sept 24-25 more than 300 people from communities of faith along the Mississippi will come together in Memphis at the BRIDGES Center to learn about how we can all protect and preserve our River.

Gather at the River: A Conference for People of Faith is the creation of a group of caring people of faith who cherish the Mississippi River as a sacred trust and want to equip each of us to address issues facing the river. God lent us this treasure and it is time to unify the communities of faith for common cause - protecting water as a potent symbol.

Speakers will include:

  • John M. Barry, author of best seller Rising Tide, will share some of the Mississippi River’s history and importance to our region, country & the world.
  • Ellen Bernstein, author of The Splendor of Creation: A Biblical Ecology will ground us in an appreciation of the biblical concern for the care of the Earth.
  • Michael Reuter of The Nature Conservancy and Rosanna Cappellato, Ph.D. Rhodes College Environmental Science Professor, will educate us on the health of the Mississippi River watershed globally and locally.
  • The Rev. Fletcher Harper Executive Director Green Faith Alliance, will lead us in discussions of how communities of faith can be leaders in the environmental movement and how we can all play a part in the preservation of the Mississippi River and our other natural resources.

Over 15 breakout sessions covering a range of topics such as: youth based environmental curriculum, Mississippi Watershed & Its Implications for the Gulf of Mexico, Spirituality of Photography & the River, Role of the Corps of Engineers, and others.

Participants will leave inspired, spiritually fed and equipped with:

  • People and Ideas for partnership
  • 10 Things You Can do At Home to Protect the Mississippi and how to organize your green efforts within your faith based organization
  • Sunday School Curriculum that incorporates this work as a work of God and fosters an understanding of how to “plug in” to the stewardship that God asks of us
  • Fellowship with Colleagues who think likewise as well as a general understanding of the “green” efforts taking place in our region.
  • Tools and Information on how to protect the river specifically in the context of our faith.

Registration starts at 3 pm on Friday, Sept. 24. Conference events run from 6 to 9:30 pm on Friday, Sept. 24 and from 8 am to 6 pm on Saturday, Sept. 25.

The BRIDGES Center is located at 477 North Fifth St. in Uptown Memphis.

You can learn more, register or donate at:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Greenways & Byways: A Reional Forum for Sucess

Save the Date:
Greenways & Byways: A Regional Forum for Success
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
9:00am - 4:00pm
Mud Island/River Terrace

For more information, read the Newsletter

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tennessee Photographer John Guider’s Journey, 
The River Inside, opens at the Mississippi River Museum on Mud Island River Park - Memphis

Memphis, TN, June 9. 2009 – Tennessee photographer John Guider stepped into his 16-foot canoe on Spencer Creek in Williamson County five years ago and began his journey down the Harpeth, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Ohio rivers, paddling toward the mighty Mississippi and his final destination of New Orleans. The River Inside, which opens at the Mississippi River Museum on July 20th, tells the story of Guider’s solo journey through the camera’s eye. The opening Reception for the exhibition will be held on Friday, August 7th at River Terrace on Mud Island at the Memphis riverfront. The event will run from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.

Guider, who completed the upper portions of the Mississippi in three subsequent solo canoe trips taken from 2005 to 2007, captured more than 10,000 scenes of America’s waterways on film during his trips. He then selected and processed just 75 platinum prints representative of the people and places he encountered along the way. The images offer a revealing perspective on the natural and controlled inland waterways that bisect the nation.

In a journal he kept chronicling his daily routine, Guider recorded the life he observed along the riverbanks and the details of what he felt were narrow escapes from life-threatening situations.

He often paddled eight to 10 hours a day and was sometimes alone for five to six days at a time; the quiet, almost haunting solitude of Guider’s journeys are vividly evident in the resulting photographs. Artifacts from the trips, along with his canoe, river maps, and camera equipment will also be included in the exhibition.

The exhibit’s title, The River Inside, which was drawn from the importance of rivers as prime conduits of vital commodities, and as overlooked by-ways, speaks to the resonance between life-sustaining water sources and human beings.

A book authored by Guider, which shares the same title — The River Inside, will be available for purchase during the exhibition. Published by Tennessee’s FRP Books, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwestern/Great American, Inc. and designed by McNeely, Pigott & Fox Public Relations, Guider’s book is a compelling narrative of his life-changing journey, as well as a work of art, with high-impact photographs and graphics. With a cast of colorful characters, a series of near-deadly mishaps, a respect for the Mississippi as a wonder of nature and of commerce, and the wit and wisdom of a true poet, The River Inside is a one-of-a-kind tale with an important message: To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, “The seas are around us, but the river is in us.

Guider, whose photography is in the corporate collections of Broadcast Music, Inc., Dollar General, Opryland Hotel, Vanderbilt Hospital, and Warner Brothers, earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University and studied photography under the tutelage of Hasselblad Foundation International Photography award winner Ernst Haas and International Center of Photography Affinity Award winner Jay Maisel. His images have been exhibited at the Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Red Mountain Museum of Art, The Parthenon, the Nashville Public Library, Nashville International Airport, as well as at many area galleries.

The River Inside is proudly sponsored by
Memphis Riverfront Development Corporation, Bass, Berry & Sims
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee – U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and
Tennessee Valley Authority
The exhibition is organized by the Tennessee State Museum and sponsored by the Mississippi River Corridor - Tennessee

The exhibition will be on view through October 31st at the Mississippi River Museum on Mud Island River Park. Hours are 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. The Museum is closed on Mondays.
General admission to the Park is free but the Museum admission (which includes roundtrip Monorail Ride and Guided River Walk tour) is $ 8.00 for adults and $ 5.00 for youths (5-11). Children under 4 and under are free.

A Teachers Workshop will be held in August and student tours will run weekly during the exhibition tour in Memphis.

John Guider’s photography from the The River Inside:

Boy Fishing from a Harbor Tug Mooring Shed,
Mississippi River near Natchez, MS

Robert, Deckhand on the Harbor Tug Marjorie, near Natchez, MS

Canoe at River's Edge, Sunset along the Mississippi River

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ten Things You Can Do for the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River flows through many aspects of our lives and we all share a responsibility to protect it. America’s Greatest River is an economic engine for our state’s tourism, agriculture and industry, a vital home for wildlife, an important source of drinking water for 20 million people, and a place for families and recreation. Our greatest authors, musicians, and explorers have been inspired by its power. But sometimes, even a river this powerful needs help. 

Today, the once mighty Mississippi River is vulnerable and needs our protection from pollution, overdevelopment and local neglect. Fortunately, it’s not too late to make a difference. You can do your part by choosing just one thing below to help protect our Mississippi River.

Join a River Cleanup
Nearly every Mississippi River community holds an annual river cleanup. Besides being good for the River, cleanups are fun, often with free food and live music. You'll meet other river lovers, introduce kids to river stewardship and spend a day in nature. Give something back to the River and your local community by joining like-minded volunteers who are working to improve and protect the Mississippi River for the residents and families of our next generation.

Get Your Lawn off Drugs
Avoid using costly and dangerous chemical fertilizers and pesticides in your yard and garden. These chemicals, which are often over-used, are carried in run-off from rain and sprinkler water into local storm drains, which may pour into the Mississippi River and its streams and wetlands.

Buy Organic, Locally-Grown Produce
When you buy organic, locally-grown produce, you’re playing a key role in reducing the leading source of pollution in the Mississippi River: fertilizer. In addition to supporting your local economy, organically-grown foods are a great choice for your family because they taste great and don’t rely on the phosphorous and nitrogen-based chemicals that pollute the waters and kill off fish and other aquatic life in the Gulf of Mexico.

Act Locally
Is your city putting off improving its sewer system? Is it filling in wetlands to build an industrial park? Does a local business have a lot of hazardous waste accidents and spills? In many communities, just a couple of persistent citizens can motivate local officials to do a better job. Speak up and demand that polluters and others who threaten the River’s health be held accountable. Ask for clean water protections for you, your family and your community.

Respect the Storm Sewers
Storm water is a major contributor to water pollution in the Mississippi River and its many watersheds. Household waste, from pets and garden chemicals to automobiles and street litter, are carried into our community storm sewers by rain and snowmelt. Although each storm sewer drain contributes just a small amount of pollution, there can be thousands of such sewer inlets around your community! These storm sewers often drain untreated waste water into local streams, rivers and wetlands. You can help reduce storm water pollution by never pouring paints, oils, and other chemical wastes down the sewers and by committing to keeping a drugfree lawn.

Landscape with Native Plants and Trees
The Mississippi River region is home to an endless supply of beautiful native plants, flowers and trees. When you choose native plants for your lawn and garden, you not only save yourself money and trouble, you also help to reduce flood levels in your community. Native plants are accustomed to our local soil types, weather patterns, pests and diseases. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they support our wildlife and natural systems of flood control. 

Support River Access
Parks, gardens and recreational trails beautify our communities and, when properly managed, help protect the Mississippi River. Green spaces filled with native trees and plants and managed with limited chemical fertilizers and pesticides provide homes for wildlife, clean our air, and help maintain our underground water resources. River trails, boat launches and other access points bring added value and tourism dollars to our communities.

Get to Know Your River
Never been to your nearby riverside park? Pack a picnic and your kids, grandkids or neighbors and head out to explore America’s Greatest River at your doorstep! Sign up for a canoe trip and have fun identifying waterfowl and other wildlife. Visit an interpretive nature center or join other families at a community riverside event. Research your town’s historic River connections and discover why the Mississippi River is an important part of your community and family heritage. 

Be a River Citizen in your Community
If you love the Mississippi River, don’t be shy. Tell your friends, neighbors and elected officials that the Mississippi River is important to you. You can make a difference.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Earth Day Harbor Clean-Up

Join us for an Earth Day Harbor Clean-Up!

Where: Cobblestones at the Memphis Riverfront - Riverside Dr. at Monroe - next to Jefferson Davis Park

When: Saturday, April 25, 2009 @ 9 a.m.*

At NOON all volunteers are invited to join us for an Earth Day Celebration Lunch.

Earth Day Harbor Clean-Up is a collaborative effort to clean-up the downtown riverfront organized by The Mississippi River Corridor - TN (MRCT), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Clean Memphis, Comcast Cares, Friends for Our Riverfront, The Sierra Club and Riverfront Development Corporation. Interested volunteers should sign up via our Facebook event page or email to sign-up.

Volunteers will meet at the cobblestones adjacent to Jefferson Davis Park at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 25, 2009 to commence trash pick-up. Bags and gloves will be provided by the City of Memphis Division of Public Works; however, it is also recommended that volunteers bring a pair of gloves in the event that we have more volunteers than gloves. Complimentary water and assorted sodas will be provided by Pepsi America.

*Rain date: Sunday, April 26th 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The History and Culture of City Parks, Urban Greenspaces and Urban Planning: A Workshop

The History and Culture of City Parks, Urban Greenspaces and Urban Planning:
A Workshop

Culminating in a round table discussion of Memphis's Greenspace Heritage and its Future

7 April 2009
4:00-7:30 PM
Ballroom, Bryan Campus Life Center

Contact: Michael Leslie

Tel.: 901 843 3715;

The aim of this workshop is to set our contemporary and local debates over green spaces in Memphis and Shelby County in the context of two centuries of debate over environmental protection and urban planning.

Overton Park and the Memphis Parkway system, planned by George Kessler, were designed explicitly with an eye to F.L. Olmsted’s famous New York developments of Central Park and Prospect Park. But the Olmsted parks were not just objects of beauty: Olmsted was passionately convinced that such green spaces contributed both to the social cohesiveness and fairness of a modern urban society and to the health of urban populations.

His ideas for urban parks were formed as a result of his travels in Britain and Europe, in particular by his experience of Birkenhead Park, in Northern England. Designed by the great engineer Joseph Paxton and opened in 1847, Olmsted considered that Birkenhead Park achieved a democratisation of urban experience and produced significant health benefits for one of the 19th century’s great industrial cities.

Paxton was an innovator, but he too inherits a dynamic tradition of urban planning and sanitation reform from the 18th century. Birkenhead Park draws from the new towns of Edinburgh and Bath. The creation and maintenance of green spaces are an urgent concern from the very moment at which rapid urbanisation and industrialisation emerged in the western world.


Dr. Rosemary (Roey) Sweet

Professor of Urban History and Director of the Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester

Author of The Writing of Urban Histories in Eighteenth-century England (Oxford Historical Monographs) (1997); The English Town, 1680-1840: Government, Society and Culture (Themes In British Social History) (1999); Women and Urban Life in Eighteenth-century England: On the Town (2003); and Antiquaries: The Discovery of the Past in Eighteenth Century Britain (2004) (among much more)

Dr. Roey Sweet will survey examples of polite spaces in newly-urbanising 18th-century Britain, revealing intellectual underpinnings that range from enthusiasm for Druids through to a recognition of the need for open space and traffic management in the battle against disease, appalling living conditions, and the moral failings of the poor. Dr Sweet will also caution against taking overly seriously many of these assertions of noble motives, pointing out that the creation of open spaces also contributed to the enhancement of property values and the attraction of an elite population.

Dr. Katy Layton Jones

Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London, and the University of Leicester

Author of Places of Health and Amusement: Liverpool's Historic Parks and Gardens (Informed Conservation) (2008)

Dr Katy Layton-Jones will carry the story into Britain’s famous 19th-century parks movement. Throughout the late 18th and 19th centuries, the British landscape was transformed by industrialisation, urbanisation and suburbanisation. This physical transformation of space was accompanied by a conceptual one, through which existing notions of public and private, rural and urban, were reappraised and challenged. Central to this process of redefining and reshaping the British landscape, was the ‘creation’ or designation of public green space in the form of walks, cemeteries, and perhaps most importantly, municipal parks. This paper will look at how the process of creating public green space, the designs of influential figures such as Joseph Paxton and Edward Kemp, and representations of the finished landscapes, all contributed to a re-conceptualisation of the British urban realm in the long 19th century.

Dr. Michael Leslie

Rhodes College

'Birkenhead Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, Central Park, and the Design Brief for Overton Park'

Dr. Michael Leslie will briefly document the influence of these 18th and 19th-century urban green space developments on the most important urban landscape designer in American history, Frederick Law Olmsted, the principal designer of both Central Park and Prospect Park in New York and the creator of urban parkway systems. He will point to the continuation of many of the themes identified by Drs. Sweet and Layton-Jones in American urban space creation, not least in the Tennessee example of Memphis’s Parkways and Overton Park, designed by one of Olmsted’s disciples, George Kessler.



Participants expected to include Jimmy Ogle (Citizens to Preserve Overton Park), Lauren Taylor (Hyde Foundation), Diana Threadgill (Mississippi River Corridor - TN), Ritchie Smith and Lissa Thompson (Ritchie Smith and Associates).

Mud Island River Park Input Needed

Do you have ideas for how Mud Island could be better utilized for the public? If so, please attend one of the Public Meetings and give your input!

Public meeting schedule:
Mar. 23 (Mon.) - Mud Island River Park Harbor Landing, 101 Island Dr.
Mar. 24 (Tues.) - Raleigh United Methodist Church, 3295 Powers Rd.
Mar. 31 (Tues.) - Whitehaven Community Center Gym, 4318 Graceland Dr.
Apr. 2 (Thurs.) - Memphis Botanic Garden, 750 Cherry Rd.

All of the meetings are from 5:45 pm to 7:15 pm.

Whether or not you are able to attend the public meetings, please be sure to also fill out the RDC survey for the Land Use Study for Mud Island.