Little did my parents know what developing an appreciation for classics like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn would inspire. Maybe it’s not an exact correlation – between reading about Tom and Huck’s adventures in grade school, and fifteen years later deciding to take a 29-foot rowboat with three friends across the North Atlantic in a rowing race taking 72 days. However, there is no denying that my first adventures were in books, and reading about the adventures to be had on the Mississippi River were one of many things that led me to wanting to create some adventures of my own.
A side effect of rowing across the Atlantic Ocean that first time was the incredible amount of knowledge and curiosity it inspired in a wide range of subjects amongst ourselves and those that watched on the website. Since the 2006 race, OAR Northwest, the organization my crew and I built, has morphed from race support into today’s non-profit adventure education organization with several adventures under our belt. We are excited to announce a new adventure education expedition that’s going to bring our love for adventuring and the knowledge that it inspires, to the Mississippi River this Fall. We want you to be a part of our goal to visit 30 schools along the river in person, and reach 100,000 students online.
Over the last few years, OAR Northwest has developed multi-faceted rowing expeditions that layer STEM educational curriculum, scientific research and an adventure narrative, into a multi-media online experience that pairs in-person and virtual school/classroom visits with participating classrooms. For examples from the education portion of last year’s CWF Africa to the Americas Expedition, visit oarnorthwest.com/education. For more about that trip, including stories of the dramatic rescue of the overturned rowboat in the Bermuda Triangle, click here to read our full trip report (.pdf).
Adventure: Mississippi River, our next expedition commencing early September 2014 from Lake Itasca (MN), will run the length of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. We are launching an annual physical and educational descent of the Mississippi River in two- or four-person crews, providing STEM curriculum and scientific research, as told through an individual adventure narrative that will change each year as a new crew of OAR Northwest adventure educators descends the river. It will all be available free of charge to any teachers or educators that sign up through our website. We wish to augment the interactive online curriculum with visits to thirty schools – three in each state. For a downloadable handout of our objectives, go to Adventure: Mississippi River at our website. Please share it with anybody you know who may find it interesting or wish to get involved.
We recognize that we are coming to a well-loved, well-explored and well-documented ground. 1 Mississippi was created to help quilt the patchwork of organizations already working on behalf of the River. This river captures our imagination as much as yours, and we believe we will add a valuable and inspirational resource to get students’ attention to think about the Great River – from top to bottom – in scientific, sociological and historical perspectives, showing how it all fits together.
We believe we have something to offer and we also know when to ask for help. We want to visit your school next fall. If you are an educator (or know someone who is) on one of the ten states that borders the Mississippi River, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or sign up at oarnorthwest.com/education.
I’m looking forward to meeting you on the river.