The Pine NeedleMore posts

Current River’s Corps from the Discovery Center

Aug 20, 2012

Growing up in Shannon County, I have spent a good deal of time on the rivers. They have been a place to spend time with family and friends, a place for solitude, a place to learn. Until last week, when I spent three days with the urban rangers from MDC’s Discovery Center, I hadn’t thought about the river I love as an interpretive site. Floating the upper Current River from Welch Springs to the Pulltite access, the 30 or so novice paddlers were exposed to a world they had never seen before. It was our job to make this trip not only safe and fun but a learning adventure – building memories at every turn.

Rollin Down the River

We launched the boats in the heat of the day and immediately had a group of floaters pass us and begin to ask questions about the urban rangers program and MDC’s involvement. Whenever we had a canoe flip, true to the Ozarks spirit of helping out a neighbor, complete strangers would stop to help out. These good Samaritans were curious about the group and the urban ranger program. We never missed an opportunity to discuss current issues including bears, feral hogs and elk with the public. I probably had as many questions on the river that day as I routinely do at Twin Pines Conservation Education Center.

River of Life

As for the Urban Rangers, they learned about navigating Ozark streams, where the cold clear water of the Current River comes from, macroinvertebrates & the fish that eat them….and we may have told a tall tale or two in the wee hours of the morning of bears looking for food. The urban rangers had a great time, gained an awareness of the life that depends on the crystal clear Ozarks Streams and probably learned a little about themselves along the way. MDC conducts this program out of the Discovery Center each year and I only got the invitation to participate because they were short-handed. I have already put the date for next year on my calendar. I’m hoping I get the phone call again because the young men from Kansas City weren’t the only ones who learned a thing or two on the river that week.

Get Out There

Later this year we will be taking a group of women down the Jacks Fork River doing much the same program we did for the urban rangers. You don’t have to wait for an organized program however. If you wanna get out on the river for a fun day or an educational experience of your own, there are lots of opportunities around the Ozarks. For more information on floating the Current River or other places to go in the Ozarks see the Related Information links below.


photo of the Kansas City Urban Ranger Corps
Kansas City Urban Ranger Corps
Last July, members from the Kansas City Urban Ranger Corps took a three day float trip on the Current River.


Kansas City Urban Ranger Corps Fishing
Kansas City Urban Ranger Corps Fishing


As the mother of the writer of the above article, I must say that I am grateful. As parents, my husband always strived to include our young children with us as we fished, camped, or hunted. Many times, it would have been easier to find a sitter, or just stay home. I was glad to hear that those outdoor experiences DID have a lasting and positive impact on Skyler, and that he is now able to pass those values and experiences on to so many others. . . like ripples in a pond.

Great article. This organization is going places and I'm so HAPPY my company is building partnership.

"Even just a few days deep in the wild away from technology's modern marvels can stimulate creativity by about 50 percent, according to KU's Ruth Ann Atchley, as reported by Mara Rose Williams of The Kansas City Star ("Wilderness helps clear our minds, KU researcher says." Wednesday, April 25, 2012, p. A10). This research was fitured in April's Backpacker magzine. A wilderness experience endgenters "thingslike creativity, or being kind and generous, along with our ability to feel good and be in a positive mood. ... The advantage from being in nature, 'peaks after about three days of really getting away..." Thanks to an enlightened and compassionate staff for make an experience like this for our new Urban Rangers on the Current River adventure outing - for the past three years. You are a blessing and are changing the lives for the better for so many kids living in Kansas City's high-risk factor neighborhoods. Fr. John Wandless, President, Urban Ranger Corps

I’m hoping I get the phone call again because the young men from Kansas City weren’t the only ones who learned a thing or two on the river that week.

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