The Inspiration of the Coppermine Expedition

Check out The COPPERMINE EXPEDITION 2012.  I can see a ton of parallels to my vision, which is on a smaller scale but same big idea:

Coppermine_New Project 1 0305

The Expedition

Statement of Objectives
The proposed expedition will take six participants from Yellowknife, N.W.T. to Kugluktuk, NU, by canoe and develop educational materials to bring the journey to Canadian classrooms. In pursuing this opportunity, expedition members wish to further develop their careers as educators in combination with a passion for outdoor and experiential education. In doing so, we hope to be able to contribute in a positive manner to the understanding and appreciation of Canadian history and geography through various forms of media. Our objective is to expand the geographic appreciation, and knowledge of this remote region of the Canadian wilderness, encouraging thoughtful debate and discussion on both environmental and
economic themes.

In support of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s mandate to make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world, while on the expedition, we will be creating a series of interactive lesson plans for classrooms. We will be submitting these to the Canadian Council for Geographic Education, and upon completion of the trip, these lesson plans will be made available through this website. Students and teachers will be able to explore the route and find a range of materials appropriate to their grade level.

Coppermine_New Project 1 2180

From Canoe and Kayak Magazine:

Coppermine 2012

An ambitious 1,000-mile odyssey across the Canadian North

By: / Posted on June 18, 2012

Why is it important that young Canadians learn about this part of their country?
Stef Superina: Canada’s north, its rich history and diverse geography, are all too commonly skipped in our history textbooks. As a country that derives much of its wealth from natural resources, the Canadian north will play an important role in our country’s growth. Engaging our youth in discussion on economic and environmental themes is integral to the sustainable development of our country’s resource base, as they will ultimately become the decision makers of the future.

I think I said somewhere:  The Missouri River, its rich history and diverse geography, is all too commonly skipped in our history textbooks.  Well, maybe not those exact words, but in similar concept.

New Project 1 0023

How cool it would be to have support from a geographical society!?  But then, I’d need a crew.  Then, it would no longer be a solo trek.  Then, it would be an occupation, and I’d never make it to the classroom with the children.  Being in the classroom with the children is important, too.  I will just have to make do with less support, and more creativity, resourcefulness, and energy.  And, perhaps, a Coppermine will help.  (…and a really good camera!)

Coppermine_New Project 1 2418

A Name for my Ride

My daughter, Haley Rose, came with me to St. Louis yesterday to pick up my Shasta kayak that I bought from Australian Bob Wellington in September.  Bob paddled from Three Forks, Montana, to St. Louis last summer in 89 days.  Following the principle of “reuse,” I bought his boat and gear as he had no desire to ship it all back to Australia.  It was a win-win deal (right, Bob? :)).

BobSittinginBoat
Cool guy in a cool boat at a cool spot

Michael Clark of Big Muddy Adventures was nice enough to store the boat for me over the fall semester while I finished my degree.  After some great conversation about interactive teaching from the river, which is what Michael does with Skype, writing curriculum, and redirecting at-risk youth towards the River, among other cool things, we threw all the gear in the back of the van and tied the Barbara May on to the top.  Haley snapped a photo of me and Michael and the Barbara May.

Michael-me-boat

We stopped and visited with my niece, Rene Freels, and her funny husband, Kyle, and son, Sam, and had a wonderful lunch and good time laughing and talking about the expedition.  We talked about the Kickstarter program (Rene was the first to suggest Kickstarter to me), making T-shirts, social media, sponsorship, donation gift ideas like stickers, signed photos, bumper stickers, boat rides, etc. etc.   Promoting myself does not come naturally.  I welcome any suggestions.  Oh, and we talked about bears.

Although I like the name Barbara May, and I am confident that Bob’s wife is a very sweet woman, I HAVE to rechristen the boat with a new name.  Yes, some people say a boat’s name should bear some special significance to the owner.  Frankly, I have not found warm and fuzzy in a name yet.  “Easy Rider” is my race name in the Race to the Dome paddling race.  I like that name, but mostly for the theme song that goes with it.  You remember the Ballad of Easy Rider by the Byrds, right?  Give a listen:

Haley and I tossed around some names on the ride home from STL but came up virtually empty-handed.  Here are the names we have thus far:  Easy Rider, Rio Oso (river bear, my dog’s name), and Blue Moon.  I’d like to have Pepper in the name somewhere, but can’t get anything to flow.

Pepper on lower tier.  Sugar Lily above.
Pepper on lower tier. Sugar Lily above.

Pepper was my cat, also my very best friend, who went missing on the 4th of July, 2011, one week after moving into my new home.  Still not over it.

So, I am looking for suggestions as to what to name my boat.  Please comment on my blog, or go to my Facebook Page:  LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition, “like” the page, if you have not already, and throw out some suggestions for me.  You never know what might strike the harmonious chord.

Live fast ~ Paddle slow

Moving Right Along

So very much to do, but I am loving it.  Having time off this month to focus on planning and preparation is becoming more and more important.  My days are full.

Progress updates include the following:

My daughter, Haley, and I are going to pick up my Shasta kayak tomorrow, December 16.  The boat and all the gear that came with the deal (thanks again, Bob!) is being stored at Michael Clark’s Big Muddy Adventures headquarters in St. Louis.  Merry Christmas to me (payment day is so far removed in the past that they will seem like gifts :))!  Thanks again Michael for storing the boat for me.

Boat and GearJPG

Also, Haley confirmed with me yesterday that she will help with my shuttle.  She will accompany me to Montana, and hang out with me until I get started.  Then, drive my car back home.Xmas_2011_MoRiver

(The bandage on my hand was from last year this time.  I had carpal tunnel surgery on both my hands.  They are great now.)  We’ll definitely stay at Norm Miller’s Base Camp International in Livingston, MT, while I try and assess whether a source start is feasible. This road trip will be the first time we have been out of the state together, or on any type of significant trip, ever.  I cannot wait!

Rod Wellington, who will be paddling through Cooper’s Landing this Monday and Tuesday, will help me get a better idea of what the 300 mile stretch from Brower’s Spring to Three Forks is like.  He is encouraging me to start at the source: “Janet, I wholly encourage you to start at the source. The 298 river miles above Three Forks was my favourite part of the river. it cannot be topped. ”  I have wanted to start at the source since I decided to do this trip.  However, April will offer up additional challenges.

snow at browers

Brower’s Spring drainage heads off to the upper right of this photo (by Norm Miller).  This photo was taken in June.  I will have to start in mid-April.  Not sure if it will be possible, despite my ski-mountaineering background.  Hell Roaring Creek below heads downhill from the spring and, obviously, will not be a paddling stretch.  Seven miles hiking in and seven out.  Something to seriously consider.

HellRoaringCreek

I added a Pay Pal button on this blog (Make a Donation Page).  Financial support is not the only “support” I need, but it is an important one.  Haley and I met with Tina Casagrand yesterday to discuss Kickstarter, an online video fundraising program.  She shared a lot of valuable information with us in this regard.  I have asked Jim Karpowicz, friend, river rat, founder of Missouri River Relief, and creative documentary filmmaker, if he can help me produce a video.  He is willing to help so I hope to meet with him to discuss further.

I also met with the co-founder of Missouri River Relief, Charlotte Overby, who is now River Coordinator at Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF), and beloved by our entire river rat community.  CLF works with and supports groups and non-profits who advocate for wilderness lands managed by Bureau of Land Management (condensed explanation).  CLF supports Friends of the Missouri Breaks Monument.  We are floating ideas around.

UpperMoBreaks

I created a Facebook Page, LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition, so please “like” it.  Part of expedition planning is sponsorship proposals.  Companies like to see lots of exposure potential in their sponsorees.  Social media is a big component of the total experience.  Being as this is my first endeavor, it is likely sponsorship will be light, if not none.  But, one never knows for sure, right?  If you are reading this and have not yet “liked” my FB page, I implore you to do so.

Rod Wellington is due to arrive at Cooper’s Landing Monday and stay over a couple of nights.  He started at the source in June, and is paddling to the Gulf of Mexico.  He is paddling the seven longest rivers in seven continents, all self-powered.

Rod Wellington

We will take good care of Rod at Cooper’s, as we do all of the river folk paddling through.  He can stay for free, take a shower, do his laundry, drink beer, play games, eat a home-cooked meal, run into town, and watch wide-screen surround sound sports/TV/movies.  Monday night is game night at Cooper’s. Yes, like games:  SkipBo, Monopoly, Cribbage, darts, etc.   May be a bit of culture shock.  Although, he’ll be hanging out with river folk family.  We’ll warm him up before sending him back out on the river. Robin and Connie Kalthoff in Waverly set a high bar for taking care of paddlers.  They are about 3 or 4 days upriver, and one of the stops for paddlers on the way; a hard act to follow.  Here they are just yesterday, Friday.

Robin Kalthoff

Rod and I will be discussing the 300 miles between the source and Three Forks quite a bit.

You can visit his website at ZeroEmissionsExpedition

Zero Emissions Expeditions passionately promotes the practice of low impact, long distance, self-powered exploration.

Oh, one other thing happened last week.  I spoke with my Social Studies methods professor when he was writing up a teaching letter of recommendation for me.  I directed him to the MizzouWire story, which had just posted a couple days earlier.  Then I brought him to my blog site, and he loved all of it, especially the book, “Our Mississippi.”  He asked me to contact him after break and said he would help me with a book.  We’ll see.  I love it when things just fall into place.

Thanks for listening.  -Janet

Let the adventure begin! | Mizzou Wire | University of Missouri

Sunset on the Missouri River, Cooper's Landing, Columbia, MO

Let the adventure begin! | Mizzou Wire | University of Missouri.

Let the adventure begin!

New Mizzou graduate plans record-setting kayaking expedition

  • Story by Nancy Moen
  • Photos by Shane Epping
  • Published: Dec. 7, 2012

December Mizzou graduate Janet Moreland plans to make history on a solo kayaking expedition this spring — and hopes to incorporate her adventures into a middle school curriculum. She’s equipped with 16 years of kayaking experience and a brand-new bachelor’s degree from the MU College of Education.

At 56 and with a new bachelor’s degree from the MU College of Education, one nontraditional student leaves Mizzou to pursue an adventure she’s been dreaming of for years. In May, Janet Moreland will embark on a solo kayaking expedition of the Missouri River from its headwaters at Three Forks, Mont., to St. Louis, a 2,320-mile span of paddling and portaging.

Moreland hopes to become the first woman to navigate that length of the Missouri River solo by kayak and to use the expedition as a teaching tool for social studies and science classes. She views the river as a “living laboratory” for teaching middle-school students about cultural history, geography, the natural environment and social interactions.

Just the thought of the approaching adventure wakes her up at night. “Maybe I’m an adrenalin junkie,” Moreland says.

Moreland’s journey will take three months, far less time than the 20 years she invested in working on a bachelor’s degree in education.

Extreme journey

Moreland has been training for her river adventure for years. The self-described river rat has been kayaking for 16 years, with nine of those on the Missouri River. She runs two miles every other day and has been jogging most of her life.

Moreland will need mental endurance as well as physical stamina to be on the river for days on end. As lonely as the expedition seems, Moreland will find support from a network of kayakers.

There will be fishermen, boaters and towns along the way, but Moreland could spend 10 days to two weeks on the river with no sign of civilization. She says solitude doesn’t bother her; she once lived alone in a house on 220 acres: “I’ve always been extremely independent. The solitude is something I look forward to.”

The tradeoff is the extraordinary beauty she’ll experience. The first 300 miles of the expedition will be engagingly scenic, and if she’s paddling on a cloudy night, light from the towns will reflect off the clouds to show her the way.

But the seven to nine big lakes along the route will offer challenges. One of those lakes is 230 miles long. Moreland’s major concern, however, is wind. Gusts along the river can reach 70 miles an hour, and if the winds are too strong, she’ll need to paddle at night when they die down.

Moreland caught the lure of extreme kayaking seven years ago after meeting paddler Dave Miller, author of The Complete Paddler. Miller had stopped for breakfast at Cooper’s Landing on the Missouri River, where Moreland cooked on Saturday mornings.

She was further hooked after another paddler, Norm Miller of Montana, said he believed she could be the first woman to kayak the entire length of the river solo. In 2004, Norm Miller (no relation to Dave Miller) paddled and hiked the Lewis and Clark route.

Janet MorelandIn September Moreland retired from her job in the MU Sustainability Office. A longtime environmentalist, Moreland thrives on outdoor adventures.

Wilderness and wildlife

Moreland will take an assortment of essential supplies for her journey, and she’ll refresh her two-week food and water supply in the river towns.

She’ll pack an expedition tent that can handle wind, a cook stove, a two-wheel trailer to portage her kayak around the dams, a sleeping bag, warm clothes and boots. She’ll take a flint stone as an emergency fire starter and a hatchet for chopping firewood, building windbreaks and cutting her way through river brush and vegetation.

She’ll keep bear spray on hand for any encounters with grizzly bears.

Because cell phone service will be scarce, she’ll use a laptop to post blogs and update her journal, forming the basis of a book she plans to write. A video camera attached to her kayak will capture images.

Moreland’s students and the public can follow her adventures at loveyourbigmuddy.com.

Trailblazing teacher

“Life is a journey. Live fast. Paddle slow,” sums up Moreland’s philosophy of life and love of adventure. Her goal as a teacher is to show students that it’s possible to follow their dreams, even those dreams considered out of reach.

“Children need to learn to believe they can make things happen they didn’t think were possible, and I want women to know that, too,” she says.

A lifetime of challenges that would test any adventurous spirit has seriously overqualified Moreland for extreme adventure.

She lived alone in Hawaii in the most remote part of the island and in Yosemite National Park. She worked as the first certified female member of a ski patrol in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, routinely doing avalanche control with dynamite and sometimes “under-the-rope” skiing on unpatrolled slopes.

She taught wind surfing and tried skydiving. She worked as a commercial salmon fisher in Southeast Alaska and as a carpenter in Bear Valley, Calif., repairing snow-damaged houses and, with two other carpenters, building a redwood house “from the ground up.”

Moreland’s quest for an education degree began in San Francisco, when her daughter, Haley Rose, was in preschool. Attending college part time, Moreland took classes here and there, fitting course work between moves, jobs and family responsibilities.

She moved to Columbia in 1996 after two years in Springfield, Mo., and, in 2005, decided to get serious about a Mizzou degree while working at the university. She retired recently from the Sustainability Office, where she worked on MU’s projects in environmental responsibility.

Her interest in kayaking developed after she learned her house was just down the road from the Missouri River. She drove to Coopers Landing and discovered the river.

“All of a sudden Columbia became home for me,” she says.

Teachable moments

Moreland plans to use her solo kayaking adventure as the basis of a curriculum on river sustainability and stewardship, as well as to build self-esteem in adolescents.

She’s greatly appreciative of and works locally with Missouri River Relief, a volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to the health of the Missouri River. The organization connects children, teachers and the public to the Missouri River through clean-up activities and educational events.

Partly because of that group, the Missouri River is an “incredibly clean, beautiful wilderness waterway,” Moreland says.

Moreland’s river explorations will continue after she completes this summer’s expedition. She plans to paddle down the Mississippi River, from St. Louis to New Orleans, in summer 2014.

Moreland completed a student-teaching internship during the fall semester at Jefferson Junior High School. She will work as a substitute teacher for Columbia Public Schools in spring semester, while applying for a permanent position after her adventure.

Riches Much Finer Than Gold

The most wonderful thing happened to me at the Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) mini-conference yesterday.  I walked away from the event with the most amazing book; it is a compilation of educational lessons and activities about the Upper Mississippi River. Erin Hilligoss-Volkmann of the Army Corps of Engineers gave a presentation, and I was one of the lucky ones to receive one of three copies she brought along.  I asked her if I could post some things about the book on my blog, and she said, “Yes.”

Cover

This book is the manifestation in the physical realm of what I have been envisioning in my mind as it relates the Missouri River.  Only it goes way beyond what I imagined possible.  It is complete, thorough, comprehensive, beautifully illustrated, and bursting with amazing science and social studies lessons and activities.  I’d say the book is somewhat like a dream-come-true, and gives my trip a rich new perspective.

Well deserved kudos go out to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) Cultural Resources and Stewardship Mitigation Team in La Crosse, WI, and design team led by Formations.

specialthanksto

Standards

This book is given to facilitators at a workshop in which they are trained to train teachers to teach students about the upper Mississippi River.  Here are the titles to the units:

Unit 1 Introduction to the Upper Mississippi River Watershed

Unit 2 Introduction to Upper Mississippi River Ecosystems

Unit 3 Introduction to Mississippi River History and Culture

Unit 4 Introduction to the Mississippi River at Work

Unit 5 Introduction to A Shared Resource – Our Mississippi River

Here’s a peak at some of the activities:

Watershed

RiverBirds

AncientCivilizations

BlancheLeathers

Navigate

SteamboatEra

ControllingtheRiver

WellRiverCheckUp

Content includes activities relating to river habitats, glacial history, plants, animals, and habitats of the Upper Miss, bird migration, endangered species, Mississippi’s ancient civilizations, Native Americans, settlement and transportation, Underground Railroad, watershed occupations, steam power, Mark Twain, Lewis and Clark, floods, locks, dams, water safety, and caring for the river, among many other subjects.  The book even includes profiles of people important to the river today, such as Michael Clark and his Big Muddy Adventures.

MichaelClark

Sustainability

To be honest, I am quite speechless as I look through this treasure chest of river education tools.  Seems reasonable and logical to have a complimentary Missouri River resource such as this, full of  riches much finer than gold.

Ahhh, the possibilities!

Approaching a Major Confluence

meandwingdike

Often in life we start new chapters.  These milestones are times of exhilaration and anticipation of experiences in which we are not necessarily in control.  “Positive believing equals positive receiving” has always been my mantra.

In two days I will have achieved a milestone in my life.  A goal always present, always on hold, since the day I dropped out of college at Humboldt State University in 1974.  It was the first day of my third quarter of college when I called my mom and told her I was moving to Montana with three of my friends.  As it turned out, we decided if we could move to Montana, we might as well move to Hawaii! So we did!  My mother let me keep the $250 check she mailed to me for books a few days before.  I told her, “Experience is the best teacher,  I will finish college later.”  In two days I will fulfill that promise to my mother, and to myself.

I have been busy student teaching as part of my internship for the last 16 weeks.  For ten weeks I taught 8th grade Social Studies, and for six weeks I have been teaching 8th grade Science.  This coming Friday is my last day.  I have been an apprentice working with masters of the trade at Jefferson Junior High School:  Mrs. Tracy Worthington (Social Studies) and Mrs. Jennifer Szydlowski (Science).  To these two women I am forever grateful for their expertise, patience, graciousness, and support.  This experience is one I will never forget.  I love teaching, and they have contributed to this passion.

I share all of this here because I have had to suspend much of my expedition planning.  I contacted a few potential sponsors over Thanksgiving break (I had five days off) only to be informed by one that, “Once you get this initial trip under your belt and begin to cultivate a sizable following on your blog, social media pages (you would need to have your own), aggregate additional sponsors, and generate significant media attention (both for yourself and your cause), we would be more than happy to revisit a sponsorship with you for future expeditions or projects of this type.”  This response was from DeLorme inReach with regard to their satellite tracking and communication device and sponsorship I requested from them.  I know that I need to start small and local, but I was thinking more “priority first.”  A satellite tracking and navigation device is high priority for my trip.

Fair enough.  I have not had time to promote myself, which does not come naturally to me anyway.  However,  after Friday I am free from school and work obligations until January 2.

I have reached a major confluence in life where my life lived thus far will join with my future, bright and mysterious.

Saturday I am attending a Missouri Environmental Education Association conference held at the University of Missouri.  I hope to get ideas and network with potential innovators regarding education.  I was honored to attend Missouri River Relief’s Education Committee meeting the other night.  Great things are happening with their organization’s  river education component.  I am proud to know them and help promote their mission and vision.

One other thing:  my expedition story will be published any day on the University of Missouri’s home page as a banner story, written by Nancy Moen, who is retired from MU Publications and now a free-lance writer.  I will be posting on this blog when that happens.  MU’s chief photographer, Shane Epping, shot some photos of me on the river a while back to accompany the story.  We were blessed with phenomenal lighting just before sunset.  Shane is also best friends with our beloved river rat Beatriz Jean Wallace who has begun a new chapter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania recently.  The Missouri River is all about relationships and community and family.

Anyway, I write this because I can’t sleep at night knowing about all of the things I have to do, people I have to contact, knowledge I must learn, and information I want to share as I begin some serious planning for this epic journey down the Big Muddy.  I feel I have reached a confluence if life, the merging of my life thus far and the bright and mysterious future ahead.  I have so many things racing through my head.

(Oh, and I also talked to journalism student, Tina Casagrand, and ex-President of Sustain Mizzou, a student environmental org, and she has offered to produce a Kick-Start video for me and help me include a PayPal link on this blog site.)

With all that said, life is good.  Thanks for listening.  Sweet sleep to all, and to all a good night.  (Oh, and I can’t wait to finally make it to Montana!) 🙂