Libby Reuter and Joshua Rowan
August 2014
Courtois Creek
Leasburg, Missouri
N38.029614 W091.221042

The cairn is balanced on a “raft” of sticks caught by an island that is not much bigger than the beverage coolers in the passing canoes.

In Greek mythology, the goddess Tethys is the mother of all rivers. The Tethys cairn celebrates the family of rivers and creeks flowing through the southern St. Louis region. Placed in several locations on the rivers’ path to the Mississippi River, an upturned vase serves as the sculpture’s base and mirrors the sparkling water around it. A clear fishbowl reveals the green vase inside it, and a broken hand-blown vase looks like a white flower that has captured a fisherman’s bobber. This area is an example of what involved citizens can do to protect and preserve the watershed. Since 1965, community volunteers, working with the Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region have stopped a proposed dam; restored over 500 miles on the Meramec, Courtois, Huzzah rivers; and conserved the land adjacent to the river for future floaters, paddlers, and anglers.

The Tethys images were created for the Open Space Council’s “Lower Meramec Hands- On Stewardship & Watershed Education” program, supported by a Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The flowers behind the Tethys cairn are American water willows. Their scientific name is
Justicia americana