Group shot at flying fish - cropped


For our national campaign to succeed, it has to be implemented locally, by community leaders and volunteers who are passionate about their region. That is why we have an awesome team assembled for each region along the River. They come from many different backgrounds, but their enthusiasm and commitment to the River is the same. The team will be out and about, up and down the River, recruiting River Citizens, attending education events and organizing special River Citizens events to engage people with the River and each other. Please feel free to contact your local Team Member to learn about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.


Minnesota/Wisconsin: Maria Lee

Find Maria-2Maria Lee is the 1 Mississippi Outreach Assistant located in the Minnesota region. She grew up surrounded by fresh water lakes in Madison, Wisconsin and quickly converted to a lover of moving water when she relocated to the Twin Cities. She is thrilled to work with the region’s host, River Life, at the University of Minnesota, where she is also finishing her bachelor’s degree in Geography. As a geography student, Maria loves learning about the ways communities have been shaped by the river. Previous to joining the 1 Mississippi team, Maria worked as an outdoor educator for the US Forest Service and the National Park Service on the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventure (UWCA) partnership to create opportunities for youth to engage with their environment. With her strong commitment to community and an enthusiasm for the river, Maria is a great fit for the Minnesota region!


Iowa/Upper Illinois: Jessica Zimmerman

IA-JessicaJessica Zimmerman is the 1 Mississippi Outreach Assistant in the Dubuque, Iowa region. Growing up in the Quad Cities along the Mississippi River, she appreciates the importance of fresh water as a dwindling resource and it led her to pursue an education in sustainable water management.  After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Jessica has promoted water conservation, wetland restoration, water quality monitoring, as well as urban stormwater management. Her academic background in environmental studies and work in ecological restoration are strong assets in the 1 Mississippi mission of water stewardship. Jessica is excited to be a part of the 1 Mississippi Team and enjoys working at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, the region’s host.


Missouri/Illinois: James Greene

1 Miss Training 2015 Jimmy cropped cleanupJames Greene is the 1 Mississippi Outreach Assistant located in the St. Louis region hosted by the Three Rivers Project of the Sierra Club. Born and raised in the rural outskirts of Brighton, IL, he has lived his whole life surrounded by acres of woodland only 15 minutes from the River. This has made nature and the importance of natural resources intrinsically tied to his perspective and well being. Nearly completed with his Associates of Science in Restoration Ecology, James has spent the past few years growing gardens and making sustainable landscapes at his home. After being certified in Permaculture Design through Midwest Permaculture, it has been his mission to learn about what it takes for the human race to find it’s sustainable niche. His appreciation of nature and experience in the natural world make him a well-suited representative of 1 Mississippi and the River in the St. Louis Region.


Tennessee/Kentucky: Karen Thornton

karen cropped headshotKaren Thornton is our 1 Mississippi team member located in the Memphis region. She returns for a second year with a new ideas on ways to share innovative methods to explore and experience the rich cultural and historic heritage that accents the West Coast of Tennessee and Kentucky.  Karen earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Development from the University of Kansas and a MA in City and Regional Planning from the University of Memphis. She plans to highlight the natural and scenic beauty of the region to improve urban and rural economies along the River. “The Mississippi River is said to be an orphan, but by sharing our River experiences we can educate each other on best practices to improve the River’s health and began a new era of stewardship.”  Her dedication to linking resources to results led her to the Mississippi River Corridor-Tennessee, her regional host for the 1 Mississippi campaign, where improving the quality of life for all constituents directly and indirectly affected by the River is a driving force.


Mississippi/Arkansas: Mark “River” Peoples

MS- MarkMark “River” Peoples is returning for a third year as the 1 Mississippi team member located in Clarksdale, MS. He is a River guide and youth leader with the Quapaw Canoe Company, his 1 Mississippi Regional Host and serves on the board of the Lower Mississippi River Foundation. When not on the water, Mark is an active blogger, athlete and mentor to Delta youth, educating them on the importance of the protection and preservation of our national treasure for future generations. Mark brings to the team a great commitment to the River and works hard to change the negative perception of our great River and its tributaries. Through cleanups, lectures and workshops, Mark’s goal is overall systemic health of the Mississippi River, making him an excellent 1 Mississippi representative for the southern region.



1 Mississippi Campaign Manager: Annette Anderson

Annette Anderson, 1 Mississippi Campaign Manager, joined Bluestem Communications in August 2012. She works with Mississippi River Network members to implement the public communications campaign, 1 Mississippi. The goal of the campaign is to protect and restore the Mississippi River by inspiring people to take action. Annette manages the 1 Mississippi team, develops and disseminates campaign materials as she actively increases the campaign’s presence in the national media. In addition, she is in charge of educating and promoting River Citizens through the website, social networking sites and a monthly newsletter. Prior to joining Bluestem Communications, Annette worked in Tennessee, increasing public awareness of solar power and sustainability. She holds a B.A. from the University of South Florida in history with a focus on activism and social change, and is a certified yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance.