A Rivers Poem for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

On NWNL’s Upper and Mid-Mississippi River Expedition this spring in Alton Illinois, we saw the following 1926 poem featured in signage at the National Great Rivers Museum (a Melvin Price Locks and Dam Rivers Project run by the US Army Corps of Engineers)

Louisiana: New Orleans, Jackson Square, African-American male string-bass player, December © Alison M. Jones
Louisiana: New Orleans, Jackson Square, African-American male string-bass player, December © Alison M. Jones

“The Negro Speaks of Rivers”

by Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967)   A poet, novelist and playwright, Langston Hughes portrayed African-American life from the 1920’s-1960’s. His work reflected dialects and jazz rhythms and he was a leader in the 1920’s Harlem Renaissance.


I’ve known rivers:

I’ve known rivers ancient as the world

And older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans,

And I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:

Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Mississippi River, Lansing, Iowa © Alison M. Jones
Mississippi River, Lansing, Iowa © Alison M. Jones

Water – through the eyes of a child and the lens of a camera


By Child Poet, Hilda Conkling (1910-1986)
Photography by Alison M. Jones
The world turns softly

East Africa:  Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park

Not to spill its lakes and rivers.


The water is held in its arms


And the sky is held in the water.

AK  Sew Hwy 199D.JPG

What is water,


That pours silver,

Zambia, confluence of tributaries of Zambezi River, aerial view

And can hold the sky?


Many of Hilda’s poems were written between the ages of four to ten years old. They were transcribed by her mother. Most of Hilda’s poetry is about nature. Water, is from Poems by a Little Girl, which is free to read online thanks to Project Gutenberg.

– Posted by Jasmine Graf, NWNL Associate Director

New web gallery of Pokot Land and People

Africa:  Kenya, North Rift District, young Pokot man ("moran")  at market on edge of the Nakuru-Sigor Road (B-4)
Africa: Kenya, North Rift District, young Pokot man (“moran”) at market on edge of the Nakuru-Sigor Road (B-4)

Upstream dams on the Omo River continue to put pressure on the northern Kenyan Pokot and Turkana tribes, who have been fighting for generations over diminishing resources, water access, grazing lands, and livestock.

On a recent expedition, No Water No Life documented alternative options for the local indigenous pastoralists and fishermen. Development projects included bee-keeping for many honey products, camel husbandry as a more drought-appropriate replacement for cattle and goats, and wild silk production from moths on local acacia. CABESI’s “Kitchen Without Borders” is an initiative to foster peaceful relations between indigenous tribes in the region. It’s main focus is to utilize natural resources to benefit the local community.

Check out NWNL photos of the Pokot Land and People Kenya’s Lake Turkana region.

These photos were taken on No Water No Life’s Omo River Basin Expedition in January of 2013.

All images © Alison M. Jones for http://www.nowater-nolife.org

For more details, read the Purpose and Itinerary.

– Posted by Jasmine Graf, NWNL Associate Director

A map of all the rivers in the continental US – and only that!

Check out the gorgeous blue life lines on a map by Nelson Minar. Customize your own vector map on Github.

United Nations Commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Today NWNL and NYC welcomes the arrival of Native Americans and Allies paddling from Albany to NYC along the Hudson River in the spirit of environmental responsibility.

The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is a partnership between six Native American Haudenosaunee Nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora) and the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON). After paddling for 9 days, hundreds of canoers and kayakers expect to reach Pier 96 organized in 2 rows symbolizing “two peoples traveling side-by-side down the river of life in peace and friendship.” Their march from the pier to the United Nations is part of several events in a yearlong awareness campaign on indigenous and environmental issues.

Hickory Edwards of the Onondaga Nation is leading the pack and said, “I feel really close to the water. It’s life-giving, and to be so close to water is to be close to nature.” Read more about this story.

NWNL documentation in U.S., Canadian and African watersheds has shown that today’s Indigenous Peoples continue to be passionately-committed stewards of our river basins. Read NWNL’s interview with Ray Gardener, Chief of the Chinook Nation, as he shares his wisdom on the preservation of nature and culture and taking action.

Living Lands & Waters Celebrates 10th “X-Stream Clean-Up”


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That is how much trash 12,490 volunteers have collected from waterways in the Quad Cities over the last 10 years, equalling 35,260 hours.

This Saturday, August 10th, 2013 is the 10th Annual X-Stream Clean-Up. With the help of Living Lands and Waters, the Mighty – though messy – Mississippi River is cleaner not just in the Quad Cities, but up and down the river’s path.

On Thursday, August 8th, 2013, the non-for-profit organization held its annual Barge Party at Schwiebert Riverfront Park in Rock Island. The event thanks all of LLW’s supporters and kicks off a weekend focused on cleaning up the river and filling up the organization’s barge.

News 8 took a tour of the barge with Crew Member and Education Facilitator, Mike Coyne-Logan, who is originally from Rock Island. On one end of the barge, mountains of trash show the group’s dedication to picking…

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