Announcing the 2019 North Louisiana Artists in Residence

The Ross Lynn Foundation is pleased to announce our two recipients for the inaugural 2019 North Louisiana Artist-in-Residence. We received an impressive listing of applications from photographers in Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas. A blind jury weighted each application and ended with two exemplary artists.

Congratulations to Leah Floyd and Amanda Breitbach, our resident artists for the 2019 North Louisiana Artist-in-Residence!

Leah will join us in September exploring North Caddo Parish farming communities along the Red River. She is an Instructor of Photography down south at Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her incredibly diverse toolkit of creative skills and a strong sense of adventure reminded us of Ross, making her perfect for exploring where he grew up.

Flood Gate, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana - Leah Floyd

Flood Gate, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana - Leah Floyd

From Land/People - Amanda Breitbach

From Land/People - Amanda Breitbach

Amanda will follow later in the fall joining us in North Caddo Parish for select weekends before December. She is an Assistant Professor of Art at Stephen F. Austin University over in Nacogdoches, Texas. Growing up around farmland in Montana, Amanda’s work shows an understanding of the relationship between people and the land they live on.

Staying in a restored airstream on Lynn Farms, Leah and Amanda will have time alone to reflect and time to be a part of the community. Both artists will connect with the people and culture of North Caddo Parish, explore the landscape along the Red River, and contribute to the local arts culture through an organized community engagement piece.

5th Annual Backroads & Bayous Trail Run

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Wow! Our fifth Backroads & Bayous Trail Run has come and gone already, and we are grateful for time spent with our RLCF community at Lynn Farms. For 5 years now, we’ve invited runners to join us on a 3m/10m run through farmland and along levees in North Caddo Parish. 

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Back at the the finish line, we had plenty of art, beer, coffee, food, live music, and great company! Our beer was donated by Red River Brewing Company, coffee by Bonfire Coffee, and locally sourced food from  Mahaffey Farm and Sample Farms. The incredible Chef Tootie Morrison served up delicious breakfast bowls (with heavy a cajun twist of course)! Setting the atmosphere for us, The LaRoux’s Acoustic provided live music all morning.

Funds raised from this year’s Backroads & Bayous run will be used to support programs of the Ross Lynn Foundation that have provided scholarships towards nurturing youth in the outdoors and the arts.


Back to Your Roots 2019

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We had such a good time getting to visit with two of Ross’s roommates from Montana State University back in March! Nick Wolcott & Dr. Tim Seipel made the trek to Louisiana to participate with the Foundation in BTYR 2019. Nick began helping us plan for the Legacy Show later this year, while Tim was invited to be a keynote speaker at conference.

Organized by Campti Field of Dreams with strong support from the Ruston Farmers Market, the Louisiana Tech University School of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry, the NRCS, and RLCF, this was truly the community coming together, prioritizing small-scale sustainable agriculture.

The Back To Your Roots Conference was an incredible 3 day event where people from all around the region came together to discuss sustainable agriculture through farm tours, master classes, panel discussions, technical sessions, and a Farm-to-Table dinner! Utilizing locally sourced foods, Shreveport Chef Tootie Morrison graciously prepared a dinner that was a definite crowd-pleaser.

We wanted to say a big thank you to all who attended the Farm To Table Dinner and the Back To Your Roots Conference! We loved seeing the enthusiasm for healthy living, sustainable agricutlure, community, and great food!

Give For Good was a hUGE success!

We were blown away at how incredibly affirming the Ross Lynn community of friends and supporters is toward our mission.

During this year’s Give for Good, on May 7th, our community raised over $28,600 for RLCF programming.

If you aren’t familiar with Give for Good, it is a 24 hour online day of giving organized by the Community Foundation of North Louisiana. With nonprofits all over North Louisiana participating, Give for Good has extended to a two week period of events, campaigns, and social media announcements all collecting scheduled gifts for the Give for Good day.

To all of those who support us, we could never thank you enough. We do our best everyday to faithfully carry on Ross’s memory through the Foundation’s work.

Sanders Awarded Young Business Leader of the Year

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It is with great pleasure that I accept this award, the Young Business Leader of the Year, from the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. I am so overwhelmed by the incredible show of support for our work with North Louisiana nonprofits. When we started The Exchange, I could never have dreamed of the ways that this community would come around us with support. It is clear to me that our work is important, that our nonprofits are making an abundant difference in the life of our community, and that there is much work to be done. We have only just begun!

Onward

-Dylan

Full Biography Originally Written for 2019 Chamber Banquet:

Dylan Sanders grew up in Kilgore, TX. He attended Louisiana Tech University and graduated with a BA in Psychology in 2015. Dylan interned at the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry while in college, where he helped plan events, led missions, worked with outreach, did website design, and social media advertising for the Foundation. In 2017, Dylan went to work with The Ross Lynn Charitable Foundation as a design consultant and was promoted to Program Director of The Exchange, a program under the Ross Lynn umbrella. Dylan is also the Co-Founder of UpAhead, LLC, a web design company that he and his college roommate started.

Dylan serves as the Young Adult Coordinator and is a member of Grace United Methodist Church and is a member of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council. He has done mission trips in New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, and his most recent in Cambodia. Dylan worked disaster relief in New York City after Hurricane Sandy and took a group of students to Baton Rouge after the 2016 floods to clean out churches that had been affected.

Dylan’s passion for helping others while improving the health of communities is reflected in everythinghe does. In a time where non-profits are competing for donors, volunteers, & resources, Dylan somehow manages to bring everyone to the table and show them how community collaboration works best.

Special Thanks to Anytime Fitness of Ruston!

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We are so grateful to have been the recipients of the proceeds raised by the first ever Rock Island Greenway Half Marathon and 10k! It was an incredible race, with over 170 runners participating! All proceeds from the run were donate by the host of the race, Anytime Fitness of Ruston! Thank you, Forrest and Nali Hummel, for such an amazing contribution to our work with North Louisiana nonprofits!

Area Students Return from Montana Adventure Leadership Trek

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In late June, the work of The Foundation reached a new level of engagement, seeing visions we have had since we began come to life.

Our desire to introduce youth from North Louisiana to Ross’s community in Bozeman, Montana, through a program that nurtures positive holistic living became a reality.

One Great River (OGR) and the Renzi Education and Art Center of Shreveport joined with us in taking a select group of six Louisiana high school youth to Montana for an outdoor adventure leadership program.  

This week-long out-of-context program opened doors for the students to consider a wider world of possibilities for their futures. One had never flown before, others had never ventured beyond the Shreveport area, and none had ever climbed rock face mountain spires. 

The week’s leadership included scientists, athletes, juvenile justice professionals, naturalists, substance abuse awareness experts, health and nutrition specialists, educators, artists, spiritual leaders, and community agencies dedicated to the development and holistic formation of the lives of individuals. Each team leader and guide focused on helping these six students reach their full potential. This kind of sustained attention and energy combined with healthy risk-taking and physical challenges created a perfect setting for positive growth and learning, strengthening resiliency, and cultivating compassion and empathy. 

The students arrived in Bozeman after several months of qualifying work, participating in activities as a part of the Health Trekker Challenge conducted by One Great River. Each day the agenda included activities such as rock climbing, fly fishing, hiking, leadership training, artistic expression, self-reflection, and community service.

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Unlike prior OGR capstone treks, this trip’s destination and the adventure guides engaged grew out of the life and legacy of Ross Lynn. Through Ross’ friends and mentors, the students witnessed first-hand professionals with a sense of place, making life choices that invite and nurture life-long healthy living and the desire to give back.   

The days spent rock climbing were under the direction of Montana Alpine Guides owner Sam Magro. Other alpinists joining our MAG guides were Whitt Magro and Tim and Katie Seipel, Montana friends of The Foundation. Particularly meaningful was the time spent with world-renown alpinist, mountaineer, and climber Conrad Anker, with whom Ross shared a rope often. As students geared up, the reality that Anker would serve as one of their tutors, helping to belay them on their climbs, began to sink in—especially after they were told that learning to climb under his direction was akin to learning how to pass a football from Drew Brees. Each student climbed multiple routes, honing their skills while problem solving, gaining confidence, and learning how to work with their physical strengths and weaknesses to climb and rappel sheer rock cliffs.  

The fly-fishing experience was not just about the rhythm of the sport. Alpinist and fishing guide Adam Knoff and a team from our growing Montana community had our students knee-deep wading in a clear mountain river while learning the early history of the Native American territory.  

While we hoped and expected the students and leaders would gain immeasurably from the experience, what was unforeseen was the impact on and gift of response of from the Montana community. The experience was meaningful in both directions, connecting the participants in a way that is knitting the two communities closer together and bringing our vision full circle.  The invitations, connections, and open doors are full of future possibilities for our mission and shared vision. What became clear through this adventure is that we have embarked on a long-term body of work that will serve both communities for many years to come…that will be another story for another day. For now, we are incredibly grateful and in awe of what can be happen when visionaries with a common purpose join together serving the greater good.

This type of work is never possible without those who support us and our partner organizations. Many stepped forward to help fund this project, while others gave of their time and talents. All came together, and lives were changed forever. 

Take a look at these image from the Trek:

4th Annual Backroads & Bayous Trail Run Draws A Crowd!

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Gilliam, LA - May, 24 2018 - May 19th marked the Fourth Annual Backroads and Bayous Trail Run hosted by the Ross Lynn Charitable Foundation. Runners ran 10m and 3m distances through scenic farm country with art, yoga, and plenty of food, making it a perfect event for the whole family. Our friends at Mahaffey Farm provided meat for insanely delicious tacos prepared by El Cabo Verde (home of award winning Chef Gabrielle Balderas). Beer was provided by local Red River Brewing Company with coffee provided by Bonfire Coffee!  

177 runners competed against each other for places in the top of seven different age groups and the overall Sportspectrum Trail run series. The winners are listed below: 3mile– C. Ward | Benton, LA | Male 0-18, 3mile– Jonathan Huey | Benton, LA | Male 30-39, 3mile– Jay Muller | Shreveport, LA | Male 40-49, 3mile– Kent Carlisle | Shreveport, LA | Male 50-59, 3mile– Cecil Oliver | Shreveport, LA | Male 60+, 3mile– Jadyn Hodge | Haughton, LA | Female 0-18, 3mile– Heather Desoto | Stonewall, LA | Female 19-29, 3mile–Lily Storer | Shreveport, LA | Female 30-39, 3mile– Elka Anderson | Shreveport, LA | Female 40-49, 3mile– Kim Dominick-Charles | Baton Rouge, LA | Female 50-59, 3mile- Laura Merrill | Jefferson, TX | Female 60+, Top Male Finisher: Dylan Oliver | Shreveport, LA | 20-29, Top Female Finisher: Storm Burton | Shreveport, LA | 0-18, 10mile– BB Evans | Shreveport, LA | Male 0-18, 10mile– Ross Wiersma | Ruston, LA | Male 19-29, 10mile– Carter Rossett | Shreveport, LA | Male 30-39, 10mile–Ray Jones | Nacogdoches, TX | Male 40-49, 10mile– Steven Hackley | Arcadia, LA | Male 50-59, 10mile– Paul Barnaby | Mansfield, LA | Male 60+, 10mile–Lauren Thibodeaux | Shreveport, LA | Female 19-29, 10mile–Rae Lynn Adcock | Bossier City, LA | Female 30-39, 10mile–Shelley Sparks | Farmerville, LA | Female 40-49, 10mile–Bridget Peberdy | Atlanta, GA | Female 50-59, 10mile– Leah Yarbrough | Shreveport, LA | Female 60+, Top Male Finisher: Joseph Fell | Shreveport, LA | 20-29, Top Female Finisher: Renee Watkins | Keithville, LA | 30-39 Sportspectrum Trail Series First Place Winners: 3mile– Jay Muller | Shreveport, LA | Male 40-49, 3mile– Jadyn Hodge | Haughton, LA | Female 0-18, 10mile–Shelley Sparks | Farmerville, LA | Female 40-49, 10mile– Joseph Fell | Shreveport, LA | 20-29

Take a look at the gallery of pictures below!
 

Congratulations to our winner, Chef Tootie Morrison!

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The news is OUT! We've selected Chef Tootie Morrison as our female chef to travel to MOROCCO for an immersive culinary experience! From May 7th - 18th, Tootie will join a group from Montana State University and The Atlas Cultural Foundation to immerse in cross cultural engagements involving food, farming and agricultural extension. We’re are thrilled to be able to provide Tootie with this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Let’s give a big shout-out to Tootie Morrison and congratulate her as our winner! 

A special thanks to Montana State University and The Atlas Cultural Foundation for making this a possibility!

Learn more about Tootie through this article in Louisiana Life magazine

For more information about The Atlas Cultural Foundation, visit their website!

2017 Harvest Dinner is one for the books!

The 1st RLCF Harvest Dinner,  an evening of amazing  food, great fellowship and fun festivities was held at Jeems Bayou Club on Caddo Lake Friday evening, November 10th. 

Showcasing the Foundation's  3rd year of work and formation, guests celebrated with us the ways in which we have been able to offer events and programs that cultivate compassion, nurture creativity, support individuals in self-discovery, and foster response to serving the greater good. The community of supporters and friends represented at the dinner were many and from diverse origins merging to support a common focus. None of what we are about is ever possible without all of them! 

Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed delightful tapas dishes prepared by Shreveport Chef and Caterer Blake Jackson of Drake Catering.  Blake says that "food found him" and we are glad it did!  His combinations of tastes and textures delighted the pallet, and introduced all to partake of new (and surprising) ways of experiencing the ordinary.  In between the courses guests received gifts of hand made pottery bowls created for the evening's menu by Shreveport ceramicist, Amanda Hebert; a raffle including prizes of Sample Farms' eggs, registrations to Backroads & Bayous Trail Run, Breathe Yoga Classes and Red River Brewing craft beer delighted the recipients; and all of the evening was wrapped in music that "soothed the soul" by JRIII.

It was an evening that said thank you to our wonderful sponsors, volunteers, board members, and guests ... all who made our first Harvest Dinner possible!