Relay has cultivated a marketing partnership with the Mississippi River Parkway Commission in an effort to spread the voices of the river to a broader audience and bring more people to visit the river region.
The Mississippi River Parkway Commission (MRPC) is a multi-state organization that was established in 1938 to work collectively to preserve, promote, and enhance the scenic, historic, and recreational resources of the Mississippi River. The MRPC works to foster economic growth in the corridor and develop the national, scenic and historic parkway known as the Great River Road. In 2018, the MRPC celebrated its 80th Anniversary. For decades, the volunteers of the MRPC have coordinated efforts on federal, state, and local levels to leverage millions of dollars for highway improvements, recreation trails, bikeways, scenic overlooks, and historic preservation. The MRPC works collaboratively with Mississippi River Country, USA to coordinate both domestic and international marketing for the river valley, and facilitates efforts to enhance economic development and resource awareness.
Relay is working with the Mississippi River Network, its 56 member organizations, and their 20,000 River Citizens throughout the ten states to listen deeply to the issues facing land, water, wildlife and people up and down the Mississippi River.
1 Mississippi is supported by the Mississippi River Network (MRN) to encourage River Citizens through education, inspiration, and opportunities to embrace the Mississippi River.
The goal of the Network is to protect the land, water and people of the United States’ greatest River. Founded in 2005, the Network has grown into a diverse coalition of 57 nonprofit organizations and businesses from the River’s headwaters in Minnesota, to where it drains into the Gulf of Mexico. Network members share resources, implement whole River strategies, and support the 1 Mississippi national campaign.
The Network focuses on three priority issues that need River-wide cooperation:
— Establish a national commitment to protect and restore the Mississippi River through increased public awareness and support.
— Promote Farm Bill Conservation Practices throughout the Mississippi River Basin.
— Encourage reliance on natural infrastructure and restoration of wetlands and flood plains.
Relay is collaborating with the Water Institute of the Gulf to bring together art and science throughout this expedition. With sophisticated GPS body cameras worn while running, the Relay Team will gather landscape data as well as cultural data located in each town and city. This data will be mapped and compiled into a book to reveal the vocabulary of the River region, providing a valuable resource for scientists, artists, policy makers, and the general public.
The Water Institute is a not-for-profit, independent applied research and technical services institution with a mission to help coastal and deltaic communities thoughtfully prepare for an uncertain future. Through an integrated and inter-disciplinary approach, their work helps to create more resilient communities, thriving economies, and a healthy environment.
Relay has partnered with 29 Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs),19 Chambers of Commerce, 30 arts, culture and educational organizations, 45 city and county governments, as well as hundreds of individual volunteers local to each community to solidify programming and to assist with accommodation, transportation, event space and nourishment to support the team as they travel south.