About 70 paddlers will embark on a five day journey down the Missouri River on Sep. 24. They’re traveling the last 100 miles of the river, passing through New Haven, Washington and St. Charles, ending where the Missouri River meets the Mississippi.
The inaugural Paddle MO participants will spend five days on the river paddling, camping and learning about culture at educational waypoints.
Stream Teams United, the conservation nonprofit organizing the paddle, worked with Earth’s Classroom, an organization that promotes environmental education through hands-on learning, to set up the waypoints.
“We have certain stops each day, one to two stops per day, where we have another professional," said Jody Miles, co-executive director of Earth's Classroom. "Hopefully the big takeaway is a growth in knowledge and a deeper appreciation of the big, mighty Missouri River."
The paddlers will be immersed in the history of the towns they pass and their long-running relationship with the river. They will explore a variety of topics like Native American culture, river bottom fungi, freshwater muscles and river industry.
“Our hope is that there is a gained knowledge," said Holly Neill, executive director of Stream Teams United. "Perspective and perceptions may change and really the ultimate goal is a relationship with the river and a better, closer relationship with the water."
Niell says a person is more likely to protect and improve something they have a relationship with.
This is the first year Stream Teams United organized the Paddle MO event. Proceeds will go to supporting the continued conservation of Missouri’s water ways.