Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hello, Goodbye!

Hello everybody! I’m Alora, the newest permanent addition to Mississippi Park Connection! You may have seen me around the river this summer working as a part-time intern, and Kate Havelin’s unofficial sidekick.

Prior to my internship with Mississippi Park Connection, I attended college at Metropolitan State University where I studied marketing and worked as business manager for our campus newspaper, The Metropolitan. My contributions to The Metropolitan represent some of my proudest academic achievements, and I was very lucky to have a team that was so supportive and encouraging, helping me to discover a talent in communications and a voice of my own.

Growing up I was lucky enough to be within biking distance of many different parks, trails and conservation areas, so I’ve always had an appreciation for natural spaces. In truth I was raised as more of a lake person, but over the summer I’ve really enjoyed getting acquainted with our great river and reveling in its beauty.

As of October 1st, I’m happy to say that I have been hired on officially as Marketing and Communications Associate for Mississippi Park Connection! But… I am also kinda sad. As exciting as it is to be gainfully employed, it has recently dawned on me that I have some very big shoes to fill and am now hacking it without my mentor here to guide me through it all. This is both an exciting and slightly terrifying realization.

Kate Havelin has been involved with the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area for many years and is the only person who has worked as a volunteer and a park service employee and a Mississippi Park Connection employee. Kate started out volunteering at the Mississippi River Visitor Center, mastering each and every task put in front of her without hesitation.

She later became an emergency hire for the National Park Service and worked as a ranger for a year and a half, during which time she put her writing skills to work and completely revamped Story Time with a Ranger. She also created our fabulous Second Saturday program at Coldwater Spring!

Following her time with the National Park Service, Kate was hired on with Mississippi Park Connection to tell the story of Coldwater Spring which she did a phenomenal job of, helping to bring that corner of the park to life. She has remained a key member of the team here, helping with community outreach, marketing, communications and managing one particularly needy intern.

Over the years, Kate Havelin has contributed enormous amounts of her time, talents and heart to the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, and it surely will not be the same without her. All of us at Mississippi Park Connection and the National Park Service are wishing Kate the best in her next adventure, and can’t wait to get our hands on her next book. Hats off to you Kate, we wish we didn’t have to say goodbye!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Celebrating Canoes and Volunteerism on the Mississippi River!

Each year, thousands of volunteers provide vital support for habitat restoration and youth education in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a National Park, and in Saint Paul parks. Together, volunteers protect and improve the Mississippi River by restoring prairies, floodplain forests and woodlands, and connecting youth with our beautiful and historic river environment in the heart of the Twin Cities.

On October 10th, the National Park Service, Mississippi Park Connection, St. Paul Parks and Recreation, and Wild River Academy all came together for celebration of volunteers and parks on the Mississippi River. The day started with a cottonwood tree planting at Harriet Island, followed by a voyageur canoe paddle down the Mississippi River in Wilderness Inquiry’s 24-foot voyageur canoes.

Along the way, volunteers met up with adventurers from Wild River Academy’s Paddle Forward Expedition, who were completing the final three-mile leg of a six week canoe journey down the Minnesota River. One hundred paddlers converged into a huge flotilla the rest of the way to Harriet Island. The day ended with a celebration at the newly improved Kelley’s Landing canoe launch at Harriet Island. Funding for Kelley’s Landing was provided by the Minnesota DNR, REI, and the Mississippi Park Connection.

The Mississippi River is a nationally renowned recreation area and volunteers keep it clean, safe, and introduce new generations to our cities’ greatest treasure. Celebrating the end of the summer season at Kelley’s Landing with volunteers and paddlers was a great way to bring together a diverse audience with the shared goals of healthy, vibrant, and welcoming Mississippi River parks.

About the Partners:
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a National Park, was established in 1988. The park includes 72 miles of the Mississippi River stretching from the cities of Dayton and Ramsey to just south of Hastings.

Mississippi Park Connection is the non-profit partner of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. The mission is to strengthen the enduring connection between people and the Mississippi River and build community support for the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a National Park.

WildRiver Academy is a non-profit organization based in Minneapolis, MN dedicated to engaging communities in watershed education through outdoor recreation.

Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is an award-winning, nationally accredited organization. Saint Paul Parks and Recreation provides a wealth of facilities, amenities, and activities for participants of all ages and abilities. Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is the primary force behind the Great River Passage Master Plan, a citywide initiative created to make Saint Paul more urban, more natural, and more connected.

Wilderness Inquiry’s mission is to connect people from all walks of life to the natural world through shared outdoor adventures.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

New Name, Same Us!

By Katie Nyberg, Executive Director, Mississippi Park Connection

For ten years we have operated as the Mississippi River Fund. We began as a local fund of the National Park Foundation, developed into an independent charity and worked very effectively with our most important partner, the National Park Service. 

Over the past several months the board and the staff have been engaged in a discussion about our identity. Do we have the right name? Does it reflect our mission of connecting people to the river and the national park? 

Our staff and board have spent the last several months with Studio Mpls, a terrific local design firm made up of talented people who love the river as much as we do. I am happy to share our new identity with you. This fall, the Mississippi River Fund will become Mississippi Park Connection. 

Mississippi Park Connection better reflects our mission to strengthen the connection between people and the Mississippi River. Stretching over 72 miles, our national park presents an infinite number of ways to connect with the river. And in each experience, Mississippi Park Connection sees opportunity—in education, recreation, science, the arts, community engagement and more. 

Strengthening connections is our mission for a park that’s a national treasure and a river of global acclaim. Ever flowing, always changing, the Great River offers endless promise. Discover your river.