Beyond Water: Cultivating a Reverence for Big Rivers

Online Presentation by Author Dean Klinkenberg, the Mississippi Valley Traveler

Dean has made his living writing about the Mississippi River. He’s going to share with us his vision for living with reverence and resilience along our big rivers.

Published: May 11, 2021

Click here to view the presentation on YouTube.

Hosted by Missouri River Relief

Rivers don’t get enough respect, especially big rivers. We focus so much on the water carried by our rivers, worrying about that water getting too high or too low, that we miss the essence of what makes our big rivers special: the incredible abundance and diversity of life they support.

In this talk, author Dean Klinkenberg described the importance of big rivers in the natural world, and why we need to value them more and manage them differently. He addressed what a healthy river looks like and the impressive natural resilience of river ecosystems. He reminded us why, as Luna Leopold once said, we need to cultivate a “reverence for rivers.”

Author Dean Klinkenberg.

Dean Klinkenberg, the Mississippi Valley Traveler, has an incurable obsession with the Mississippi River. He’s driven over 120,000 miles along the Great River Road, hiked to the tops of bluffs, paddled on the Mississippi River in kayaks and canoes, and floated in luxury for a few days as a guest lecturer on the American Queen, all to get to know the diverse people and places of the Mississippi Valley.

Some of the stories he uncovers appear in his Mississippi Valley Traveler guidebooks. Other stories find a home in mysteries that are set in places along the Mississippi that feature hard-luck travel writer Frank Dodge. He has also written for publications including Smithsonian Magazine, The National, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

This presentation is also sponsored by the Mississippi River Network. 

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The Big Muddy Speaker Series in Rocheport

is hosted by these wonderful partners.

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Special thanks to Les Bourgeois Vineyards for giving us the opportunity to use their beautiful space overlooking the Missouri River. All speakers are presenting for free! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us!

The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place in Kansas City and St. Charles.


The views and opinions expressed by our presenters do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of Missouri River Relief, the Big Muddy Speaker Series or any of the partners that support this public forum. The Big Muddy Speaker Series believes that hearing diverse perspectives is a crucial building block for an informed public.


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