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River Celebrations

Mississippi River Revival

CCP staff and Audubon Ark crew

Larry Long founded the Mississippi River Revival, a campaign to clean-up the Mississippi River. With his voice and guitar Larry organized communities from the head waters at Lake Itasca to Dubuque, Iowa. Through this period Larry produced over twenty river festivals, hauled hundreds of tons of trash out of the river with community volunteers along the upper Mississippi River, worked with Governor Perpich to create the clean rivers movement in Minnesota, and traveled the length of the Mississippi River with Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theater.

Audubon Ark 2000

In the month of October 2000, communities in 20 towns along 483 miles of the Mississippi River honored, celebrated and taught about the river, its habitat and its communities.

During the 28 day journey, Larry Long wrote 48 verses with children to his song I love the Mississippi River; we sang and danced with local musicians & children across cultures from Latin American dancers to gospel choirs and and polka bands; we organized the creation of a river quilt; children drew colorful pictures of the river and river life; students honored Elders; and we used learning stations to educate students.

Community Celebration of Place organized these local communities for the National Audubon Society's Upper Mississippi River Campaign. Based on the Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song model, CCP Assistant Director Ellen Weiss coached teachers, conservationists, and business leaders through an organizing process that brings people together across cultures and ages by using local art, song, honoring Elders and gathering oral histories.

The celebrations were held for the Audubon Ark, a stern wheeler that traveled from Cairo, Illinois to the Quad Cities and stopped in every town along the way.