At the start of 2021, Missouri River Relief decided to expand its education programs and offer a new program that would be focused primarily on those residing in assisted living and care facilities. Under the current pandemic regulations, many assisted living facilities have set restrictions to lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19. An unfortunate consequence of these restrictions has been its impact on the social lives of residents. That factor became the impetus needed to provide local assisted care and living facilities the opportunity to participate in a Virtual Missouri River Tour & Panel Discussion.
This virtual tour provided a front row seat to the natural wonders along the Missouri River, where every moment brought a new experience. It incorporated spectacular views of limestone bluffs, eagles' nests, and enduring artwork, as well as insider’s knowledge about the river.
After the virtual screening residents had the opportunity to share stories and ask questions for our guest speakers. The panel was be hosted by speakers from Missouri River Relief, Missouri River Bird Observatory, and Show-Me Stormwater Management who were able to cover most of the topics brought up during the conversation with their expertise.
Facilities were provided with the option between two different styles of program based on the technological capabilities and operational restrictions of each assisted living facility. This was a way to accommodate differences between locations. All locations were able to select the Group Screening option, where residents gathered for a virtual screening of our Exploring the Big Muddy: A Virtual Field Trip documentary film (28 min) accompanied by a live panel discussion (22 min) via Zoom.
Afterwards, the attendees were given the opportunity to fill out a participatory quiz in order to be entered into a raffle for a gift basket supplied by Missouri River Relief, Missouri River Bird Observatory, and Show-Me Stormwater Management.
The Arbors at Colony Pointe was our first presentation of this program. The group was smaller than the following presentations, but some of the attendees were very willing to make up for it during the discussion period by sharing what they could recall about the Missouri River. The panelists heard stories about giant catfish caught on a Sunday morning and shown off to the local church congregation, talk of the river being frozen enough to safely travel across as well as conversation about how "mean" the Missouri River can be if caught off guard.
A few days later, we presented to the assisted living side of Colony Pointe. With high expectations for the panel discussion and newfound confidence in the program after a first success, we dove into the second presentation. After the virtual tour, there was quite a bit of interest in the history of steamboat commerce on the Missouri River. Several of the attendees had been to the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City. This opened up the topic to past flood patterns, where one of the attendees mentioned that it seemed like the Missouri River used to flood every four years. Michele Woolbright of Show-Me Stormwater Management shared the logistics of water management during these flood stages and discussed how the wastewater treatment system can be disrupted in certain older cities.
The overall reception to the virtual tour was very positive, which brought up the topic of Missouri River education in schools during the discussion panel. Many of the attendees were invested in learning about the programs that Missouri River Relief provides for Columbia Public Schools and wanted to know more about what state education standards Missouri River Relief's curriculum achieves.
The final location for the March series was the Tiger Place Independent Living facility. After some technical difficulties at the start, the program progressed smoothly. We had the largest audience turnout for this presentation in the Tiger Place theater room. One of the biggest questions during the discussion was whether or not it is safe to swim in the Missouri River. Many in attendance had heard that it was dangerous to swim in the Missouri River and asked the panelists what their experiences were. Each panelist has swam in the Missouri River prior to this presentation, and offered their safety advice. The most important takeaways from this discussion was to always wear a lifejacket while in the Missouri River and to never swim alone.
This group was also interested in discussing some of the conservational efforts that had been touched upon during the virtual tour screening. Paige Witek of Missouri River Bird Observatory discussed the success story of how Bald Eagle populations were able to be rehabilitated over the years and Kristen Schulte shared some background for the conservation efforts made to keep the Pallid Sturgeon from extinction.
If you are interested in scheduling a virtual tour and panel discussion for your assisted living or care facility, please click here and fill out the registration form provided.