October 2017 | Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area
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October 2017

Mississippi Delta NHA wins National Park Service Award

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MDNHA Receives National Park Service Centennial Award for Oral History Program

CLEVELAND, MS. (October 11) – The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area recently received 2016 National Park Service Centennial Awards for creating the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership.

The cultural heritage interpretation project honors the lives of unsung Mississippi Delta church mothers featured in Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom, a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalism professor Alysia Burton Steele. The MDNHA was the only National Heritage Area to receive a NPS Centennial Award this year.

“We are honored to receive this esteemed recognition from the National Park Service for this important cultural heritage development project,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center and executive director of the MDNHA. “The fact that Delta State and the MDNHA are acknowledged together truly demonstrates the power of partnerships and collaboration when telling the Delta’s story.”

For 18 months in 2015 and 2016, the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership’s community gatherings engaged over 1,000 Mississippi Delta residents, visitors and supporters. The gatherings took place in diverse, welcoming venues throughout the state including universities, churches and tourism and cultural centers.

“We are thrilled with the results of the Delta Jewels partnership,” said Dr. Myrtis Tabb, chair of the MDNHA. “This program was one of our very first and was extremely successful right off the bat. We are eager to build upon that success with continued partnerships that will help share the diverse stories of the Mississippi Delta.”

The Delta Center continued to host presentations with Steele in 2017, which have focused on community impacts documented in the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership 2015-2016 Report.

Most recently, these have taken place at the National Heritage Areas Southeast Region workshop in Atlanta, Georgia; the Smithsonian African American Interpretation Workshop in Charleston, South Carolina; the NPS Collaboration Clinic in Biloxi, Mississippi; and the Association for African American Museums conference in Washington, D.C. In addition, Herts and Steele have been invited to present at the upcoming Oral History Association conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“We have used the report as an interpretive and educational resource, which enhances the storytelling experience,” said Steele. “In addition to photos from the community events, the report includes survey results from participants. An overall program rating of 4.9 out of 5 clearly indicates that sharing the Delta Jewels’ oral histories have had positive impacts in the communities we engaged.”

The MDNHA and The Delta Center commemorated the 2016 NPS Centennial through other projects and events. Together, they organized an opening reception with Delta State University’s 2015 Winning the Race conference featuring former NPS director Bob Stanton.

In addition, the MDNHA Passport to Your National Parks program attracted NPS Centennial travelers, and a MDNHA promotional videowas screened at a NPS Centennial film festival in Atlanta. Since its release, the video has been viewed over 20,000 times on social media.

The Delta Jewel Oral History Partnership 2015-2016 report is available online at The Delta Center. View the MDNHA promotional video on their homepage.

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the MDNHA and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshops.

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Yuma’s Heritage Area Benefits Local Recreation and Fishing

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This article is a good shout-out to our Heritage Area partners over there in Yuma. Keep up the good work! For the full article, click here:

Excerpt from “An Underrated Bass Fishery United This Town on the Colorado River”:

“It was 107 degrees in the September sun in Yuma, Arizona, and yet people were out bass fishing. Twenty years ago, this would not have been the case. But Yuma’s renewed focus on its river, the mighty Colorado, is an extraordinary story of diplomacy and determination that has resulted in benefits for the local economy, outdoor recreation, and Yuma’s people. I was able to witness this firsthand on a recent canoe trip through the Yuma Heritage Area’s wetlands restoration sites, through the downtown park—now vibrant after struggling in the late 20th century —to below the Ocean to Ocean (“peace”) bridge—rebuilt quite literally to bring together residents of Yuma on the river’s east bank with members of the Quechan Reservation on its west bank, with whom relations had been poor.”

Photo courtesy of J. Jakobson.

Clean Water. Great Beer.

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Loving the shoutout from Odell Brewery. It’s great to have a community partner recognizing the importance of healthy forests and clean rivers. Check out the full article from the Nature Conservancy here.

Exerpt from the article:

COREY ODELL, ODELL BREWERY

“Odell Brewing is engaged in OktoberForest because we are passionate about our most valuable resource: water. As a brewery, water makes up approximately 95% of our finished product so without access to clean water, we have nothing to offer our consumers.  Fort Collins water comes directly from the Rocky Mountains through the Cache la Poudre River. Forest health and water quality were brought to focus in 2012, when the High Park Fire devoured a huge section of forest above our town followed by a 100-year flood event in 2013. This series of events inundated our City with ashy, muddy water for a long time after.  Ensuring the health of our forests is vital to both the quality of our beer as well as our mental well being. Add a beer to easy forest access and you’ve got yourself a great recipe for an adventure year round.”

Colorado State University Spotlights Water Resources Archivisit, Patty Rettig

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Exerpt from full article: https://source.colostate.edu/provosts-council-engagement-spotlight-patty-rettig/

How have you, your program or students benefitted from what you have learned as an engaged faculty member? And, has there been any sort of reciprocity – or two-way learning – with the communities outside of CSU that you have been involved with?

An archival repository that collects historically important materials from outside its home institution is inherently dependent on engaging with the appropriate communities. The Water Resources Archive cannot be isolated and effective at the same time. From the beginning of the Archive in 2001, with the assistance of numerous university water folks along the way, I have been active in the Colorado water community, listening to issues, learning about organizations, and meeting individuals.

The outcome of my work, as far as saving and making available historically important water-related documents, benefits not only students who might be interested in using such materials for research, but also the whole state and anyone around the world who might want to learn about the important achievements related to Colorado water. The water community also benefits not only through having their heritage prioritized, preserved, and honored here, but also through events we have held, such as Water Tables, which allows them to both learn from us and teach us – and each other – more about our common history.

The best example of reciprocity that I have is a recent one, when I began working with the Land Rights Council in the San Luis Valley. They needed assistance with their historical documents and, though wary of outsiders, were open to discussions about the Water Resources Archive’s expertise. I in turn learned a great deal about their needs and concerns, and it has resulted in the start of a great partnership to preserve their history.