When it comes to establishing a child's love of nature, we believe the earlier the better. Parents and caregivers are often the key to forging that connection. Designed for children ages 0 to 5 years old, our Mornings at the River series creates opportunities for little ones and their parents, grandparents, or caregivers to spend one-on-one time exploring, discovering, and making memories together at the Missouri River.
This year we saw familiar faces from years past, and so many new ones! In total, there were over 1,450 attendees over the course of six Mornings at the River event days in June. We would like to extend a Big Muddy thank you to our volunteers and partners who donated a collective total of 562 hours of their summer to help setup, lead and breakdown each event. We also had visitors from the Columbia Daily Tribune, KRCG-13 News, and Como Magazine.
Each year, Missouri River Relief hosts this program along the banks of the Big Muddy. June 2023 saw Cooper's Landing Riverside Resort & Marina transformed into a fun fest of activities and crafts on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
For two short hours between 9:30 and 11:30am across six event days, hundreds of children and their caregivers were able to soak up the sun and get connected to the outdoors.
For three weeks in June families spent their Tuesday or Thursday mornings gathering down at Cooper's Landing Riverside Resort & Marina. Each of the three weeks featured a different river theme that encouraged different modes of exploration for our attendees. Events included a themed nature craft, a fun special guest, sensory tables, a scavenger hunt and our pretend play camping area.
The first week's theme was Awesome River Art. Kids were asked to get creative with flower petals when creating a contact paper sun catcher. Local artist Adrienne Luther led little ones in making a leaf stamp painting. The trail was full of bug hunters looking to find all nine bugs on their scavenger hunt.
The Daniel Boone Regional Library Bookmobile joined us for a riverfront book checkout and helped lots of young readers find their next pick!
The second week of Mornings at the River was bird-tastic! The University of Missouri's Raptor Rehabilitation Project brought out owls, red-tailed hawks, and turkey vultures to give families an up-close and personal look at some of our most intriguing local raptors. Guests from the Missouri River Bird Observatory and the Columbia Audubon Society helped kids identify bird calls, both real and plush, on the trail.
The cool weather made for some perfect river mornings!
This week we loved dancing and singing along to the outdoor themed songs of WildHeart. Sounds of little coyotes, snakes, and eagles rang out from the stage all morning. Families played percussion frogs along the Katy Trail and made their very own cardboard critter castanet. We couldn't have asked for a more fun way to wrap up this year's Mornings at the River!
Registration for next year will open during April of 2024. The online registration form will be available on the updated Mornings at the River webpage.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kristen Schulte, Education Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 636-288-5570.
Missouri River Relief has partnered with First Chance for Children and AmeriCorps to bring this year's Mornings at the River to Columbia. Support for this event has been provided by the Downtown Optimist Club, Carol Grove, UST Outdoor Brand, and Cooper's Landing Riverside Resort and Marina.