October 26, 2009

A different view of downtown KC

River trip with Green Works in Kansas City
Riverfront Park to Kaw Point, Kansas City, MO
Thursday, October 15, 2009

Text by Vicki Richmond, Photos by Kate Corwin

Missouri River Relief connects people to the Missouri River through a series of programs encompassing river clean-ups, education events and stewardship opportunities. All of our programs depend on strong partnerships to work. Industry, government, corporate and agency partners work together to bring people down to the Big Muddy to experience the splendor of the river first hand.

Green Works in Kansas City is the dedicated leader in engaging urban youth in sustainable environmental stewardship and the green economy. Through science-based experiential learning and paid internship opportunities, young adults learn to care for the environment, experience meaningful career ladders, gain skills that assist them in becoming productive employees, and provide direct community benefits for all of us by improving the urban environment.

One of the programs offered by Green Works is called Environmental Connection Opportunities for Students (ECOS).

A partnership between our organizations began last year with a referral and lunch with Kate Corwin, director of Green Works. An aquatic field trip for the ECOS students cemented the relationship.

This year River Relief took these kids’ education a step further by spending time in a classroom setting talking about non-point source pollution and other impacts to streams. The classroom time was a precursor to time on the river- the best place to jump in to river ecology.

Kate passed along the following blog notes written by students about the day’s adventures!

(note: Green Works founder Kate Corwin was just awarded the “Best EcoActivist of 2009 Award” by Pitch Weekly magazine. Click here to read more).

Here's some brief thoughts from the students:

I was most surprised about the smell of the water when we passed by the waste water treatment plant. And I was surprised to see a homeless shelter. A homeless person would probably want to live on the river bank because of the beautiful view.

I feel that people shouldn’t litter or pollute so that the river can be clean and the fish and other animals in the river can actually live.

I can’t believe I rode on the Missouri River. I’m scared of large bodies of water so I was proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone. I learned that the barge poles are still standing from the system that was here since the days of Lewis & Clark.

I really enjoyed the trip but it was very cold. I liked the bridges, especially the bridge that lifts open for large barges to pass. I saw the wild turkeys on the sand bars and the current was pretty strong.

At first I was scared to go, but I enjoyed the trip and had fun. I saw wild turkeys, dogs, homeless people and construction works. I learned about the Mo. River Relief clean-up program. Now I know why it’s called the Muddy Missouri and Mighty Missouri, because it is muddy and because the river is so big and wonderful.

The trip was an adventure for me, although it was ice cold that day and I didn’t bring a jacket. We saw birds, wild turkeys and a lot of stray dogs. The cool thing was when people came to see us. I was afraid at first but it turned out OK.

I thought it was weird when we were at the point where the Kansas River and the Missouri River came together. At that point you could tell from the flows that they were separate, and they were different colors.

I learned that the river supports everyone in Kansas City for drinking water.

The most important thing I learned was that there is a lot of scrap metal in the water from the recycling plant on the river bank.

I was surprised about the small size of the boat we used on our trip on the Missouri River. Before my ride I was very against going near the river. Now I have a new appreciation for the river and its purpose.

Vicki told us about the signs along the river that are sort of like our street signs on the roads.

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