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.
Campaign Coordinator: Brooke Thurau
Brooke Thurau joined Bluestem Communications as Campaign Coordinator for the Mississippi River Network (MRN) in March 2016. She helps to advance the MRN’s 1 Mississippi campaign by leading Outreach Assistants and Hosts to build a nationwide community of River Citizens to protect the Mississippi River. Brooke manages the creation and distribution of outreach materials, the website, and the online Action Center. She brings to the position more than ten years of experience in conservation education, campaign management, fundraising, and sustainable tourism. Prior to joining Bluestem Communications, Brooke worked as a consultant for the USDA National Forest Service, taught environmental studies courses at Knox College, and cofounded an environmental nonprofit organization. She holds a B.A. in environmental studies from Northeastern Illinois University and an M.S. in forestry from Southern Illinois University.
Missouri/Illinois: Tanner Aljets
Tanner Aljets joined the 1 Mississippi campaign in July 2015 as the Outreach Assistant in the Southern Illinois and Missouri region. He was born and raised in the Alton, Illinois, area. Tanner’s long-standing family connection to the lake where he was born has influenced his love of fish, frogs and nature in general. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking the Mississippi River bluffs, hunting for wild mushrooms, paddling down rivers (and up them, too!), camping in his hammock, and organizing trash clean-ups with friends. Tanner works with the Three Rivers Project of the Sierra Club, a Regional Host for the 1 Mississippi campaign, to help residents develop a closer connection to the Mississippi River and the wildlife that he loves.
Tennessee/Kentucky: Jessie Demster
Joining the team in April of 2016, Jessie Demster, a born and raised Memphian, brings her lifelong passion for the river to the team. She graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC in 2004 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications. Jessie is the public outreach and education coordinator for 1 Mississippi’s Tennessee host, the Mississippi River Corridor – Tennessee. The MRCT serves West Tennessee to enhance the cultural, historical, and natural resources the Mississippi River brings to the region. Jessie spends many days exploring along the river and loves to educate people on how The Mississippi River is vital to everyone. “The Mississippi River is the artery of this country – we have to protect, educate, and celebrate the river!” Join Jessie on the River and become a River citizen!
Mississippi/Arkansas: Mark “River” Peoples
Mark “River” Peoples is returning for a fifth 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.