Kathy Wine, executive director of River Action in Davenport, discusses the organization's operations during this period of social distancing. We spoke on Tuesday, May 12.
Ride and Seek! – Ride the River Scavenger Hunt 2020 (June 1 through 30)
We were thinking about Ride the River [the annual bicycling event originally scheduled for June 21] and how it involves a lot of volunteers, and getting on the boat, and getting registration packets out and picked up, and all the things that we'd need to do to maintain social distancing. And in discussing other options, we came up with the idea that a scavenger hunt would be fun. I've always done a lot of those myself, just for family events and that kind of thing.
So we started to play around with how we could do a community scavenger hunt that would be kind of unique and make it about history – because we'd be making history with this kind of thing. (Laughs.) That's what we're all doing this year. So we're going to put our scavenger-hunt route on a historic map, and most of the clues and the answers will have to do with Quad City history and culture and that kind of thing.
As our committee started writing clues, I did make the stipulation that we would have 36 clues for our 36 years, because that's what this year is for River Action – the 36th. But I also said that the scavenger hunt couldn't be done from home by someone who's just knowledgeable about the river and history. It couldn't be done from their couch – they have to be there. (Laughs.) So without tipping our hand too much about the clues (laughs), we'll know that people were on the route because they found something on a sign or an artifact or something – they'll have to have been there.
We knew that safety would be an issue with the public health departments, and we knew they did want people to get outside. So we've worked with them – both Scott County and Rock Island County – and are following their guidelines about social distancing. We're exercising caution.
And Ride and Seek is taking place all through June. So if you find a time of day that's better for you, or a day that's better, or if you need several days – and you might, because 36 clues on both sides of the river is quite a lot (laughs) – you can take part whenever you want. And taking several days makes it even more fun, you know? You can keep getting outside. I hope the public looks at is as a way to have fun. It's fun and it's safe at the same time.
Summer and Fall Programming
We're going ahead with the Riverine Walks and Channel Cat talks [annual outdoor presentations scheduled to begin May 26]. The Channel Cat has agreed to continue with their service, and it'll all be done with regard to social distancing. And Floatzilla is also a go. [The annual paddle-sports event is scheduled for August 15.] I think we'll forego the big picture we usually take, where we ask everybody to hang onto one another in the water and all that. (Laughs.) But that's okay. We will still have the big paddle thru the locks – we've been working with the lock master on how to do that safely. And we'll extend out the times for the launches and the times for the locking crews, so everything should happen, I think, very smoothly and effeciently. We can still have a paddle.
The Fish and Fire fundraiser has been rescheduled [for August 28]. Right now, we're still planning on having Taming of the Slough [the Mississippi River adventure race scheduled for September 12]. And I think the senior golf-cart tours will still happen, but we have not made a determination on that yet. Septemeber seems a long ways off right now, so we won't start registering people until the middle of the summer.
How to Support River Action … and Each Other
I think people have to know that because there's no face-to-face fundraising going on right now, many of the funders and grantors are doing recovery kinds of things rather than helping an environmental nonprofit group such as River Action. So any support through membership or funding is greatly appreciated. People signing up for Ride and Seek would be helpful, too. And we do have rain barrels here at our office – when people buy them online, I set them outside for when they plan to pick the up – and we've been doing that all spring.
I think we understand what every one of our nonprofit groups is going through, and we're hopeful for better times. But planning is still important, and carrying on is still important, and thinking about our members is still important. We're still sending out our quarterly Eddy magazine. And we invite memberships to our organization, but also to the other nonprofits in the area. We want to stress that that is something that makes nonprofits sustainable – membership.