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, coordinating 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: Elizabeth (Beth) Ziebarth
Elizabeth Ziebarth is the 1 Mississippi team member located in the Minnesota/Wisconsin region hosted by Audubon Minnesota. Growing up in the Twin Cities, the River has been a source of beauty and recreation all her life and inspires her to apply her passion for the River to advocating for sustainable development practices. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Urban Studies from Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2013. Her enthusiasm and experience in community organizing and public policy are great assets to the 1 Mississippi team and she hopes to inspire collective community action to make the world a happier and healthier place for everyone. While Elizabeth isn’t working for the River, she’s in a local bookstore or training for the 5K she PROMISES to run this fall.
Iowa: Jessica Zimmerman
Jessica 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.
Tennessee/Kentucky: Karen Thornton
Karen 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.
Arkansas/Mississippi: Mark “River” Peoples
Mark “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.
Louisiana: Christopher Staudinger
Christopher Staudinger is a 1 Mississippi team member who will begin a new 1 Mississippi presence in New Orleans, LA. Born 46 arpents (an old French unit of area equal to about one acre) from the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Chris has great local knowledge and passion for the Big River. His fascination with his hometown was piqued in his final year at Boston College with an honors thesis titled, “Mudded: The people and foundations of Southeastern Louisiana.” He left the North to continue his education on the River that started it all. Chris has worked as a canoe guide and boat builder for the Quapaw Canoe Company and continues his River stewardship at the Lower Mississippi River Foundation, his Regional Host. He hopes to nourish the local wetlands and a community of artists, fishers, philosophers and river rats. Chris’s appreciation for the River, experience as a river guide and understanding of the unique culture in Louisiana makes him an ideal 1 Mississippi Outreach Assistant.
1 Mississippi Outreach Coordinator: Annette Anderson
Annette Anderson, 1 Mississippi Outreach Coordinator, joined Bluestem Communications in August 2012. She works with Mississippi River Network members to implement the public communications campaign, 1 Mississippi, throughout the ten-state River region. 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.