The Mississippi River runs through the heart of America, nurturing its life, land, and economy from the headwaters in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The availability of clean and abundant water impacts the health and well-being of everyone — especially those who live in river communities.

The Missouri History Museum and the Global Being Foundation invite all to join a global virtual conversation taking place on the Museum’s Zoom platform during the five days of Earth Week 2021. The Global Freshwaters Summit will focus on the health and well-being of this vital Mississippi River corridor, as well as the human and natural systems it sustains.

“The Global Freshwaters Summit was originally envisioned as a large-scale event to coincide with the closing of the Mighty Mississippi exhibit,” said Lindsay Newton, director of education and community engagement for the Missouri History Museum. “The exhibit explores the history of the river as a crucial life source from the Mississippian culture 1,000 years ago to the more recent industrial age.  The Summit is a way for the historical and contemporary to meet at the Missouri History Museum by bringing together a diverse group of thought-leaders from across the country to discuss impacts and issues facing the river system. COVID-19 may have changed our plans for an in-person summit, but we’re pleased to virtually host the incredible line-up of speakers that the Global Being Foundation has planned.”

The Summit will cover five topics: State of the River, Governance, Protecting the River, Food and Agriculture, and Lifestyles in Harmony with Nature. Presenters will speak to how cross-cutting themes of health and wellbeing of the river in confluence with the human and natural systems it sustains call on us to move toward restoring our freshwater biome.

Registration is required for the FREE virtual summit and includes access to the entire weeks’ worth of programs as well as access to a virtual film festival hosted by Films for the Planet. The virtual film festival features 15 award-winning documentaries, interviews with filmmakers, virtual panel discussions, and more. Registration is open now through the Missouri History Museum website at

Global Freshwaters Summit Schedule

Monday, April 19, 4–8 pm | State of the River
Tuesday, April 20, 1–4:30 pm | Governance
Wednesday, April 21, 4–8 pm | Protecting the River
Thursday, April 22, 9 am–12:30 pm | Food and Agriculture
Friday, April 23, 9 am–12:30 pm | Lifestyles in Harmony with Nature

Global Freshwaters Summit Featured Speakers

  • Kim Lutz, Executive Director, America’s Watershed Initiative
  • Olivia Dorothy, Director, Upper Mississippi River Basin, American Rivers
  • John Dawes, Executive Director, The Chesapeake Commons
  • Mary Culler, Executive Director, Missouri Stream Teams Watershed Coalition
  • Suzi Steer, Education and Alliances, TreeSisters
  • Dr. Sharon Deem, Director, Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine
  • Colin Wellencamp, Executive Director, Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative
  • Erica Williams, Founder and Executive Director, A Red Circle
  • Collen Suter, Environmental Programs Manager, Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation
  • Grant Wilson, Earth Law Center
  • Monti Aguirre, International Rivers
  • Colette Pichon Battle, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy
  • Emma Kleus, Vice President of Communications and Outreach, Great Rivers Greenway
  • Heru Adeleke, Heru Urban Farming
  • Rachel Bartels, Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper
  • Sara Cavagnero, Executive Director, ren collective
  • Jean Ponzi, Missouri Botanical Gardens Earthways Center

This program is associated with Mighty Mississippi presented by Bank of America. Education sponsorship provided by JSM Charitable Trust. Mighty Mississippi puts the grandeur of North America’s greatest river in context with the cultures that have grown and thrived around it. The story of survival along one of the earth’s greatest watersheds is told through more than 200 artifacts, many dating back over 1,000 years. Mighty Mississippi is open Nov. 23, 2019, through June 6, 2021. Admission is free.