Explore the Great Outdoors

OUTDOORS with M&J the River Rats explorers

(the Nature book series).


Here is the new:  OUTDOORS with M&J (Marquette & Joliet) learning kit.  It is part of the River Rats learning activities listed at the end of this note.

How can we bring back good education to American students?

Simple:  Go back to nature.  Learn about and from nature.  Get out of the house and into the rivers and woods.  Most great learners started by learning from nature.  Here we use a new learning platform to prepare for tomorrow.

We study what worked to survive in the forest … all alone with no modern tools.  We work together on projects. 

No classroom.  Just people cooperating to learn and discover and grow.

How did Marquette & Joliet prepare to explore the unknown wilderness.  The were seeking a river route to China.  They found many things much more valuable; much more useful.  What were they.  What was their recipe for learning new things?  How can we make our own recipe for learning today.

They called it Ratio Studiorum, the Plan of Study.  Today, the River Rats book series calls it Brain Candy. This is a new, fun way to learn and share together. We work in groups to learn needed survival skills.  Who knows when a disaster of nature will make us struggle to find ways to survive?  Fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, wars, even snow avalanches may force us to use our brains to find ways to survive NOW!

So, take a bite out of some of the 16 parts of the River Rats book series.  Pick any part you want first to start.  But learn and share and grow.

Soon you can get these parts from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Good Reads, and more.  Get yours in books, paperbacks, Kindle and eBooks, and games or maps.  Order them and work together.  Families use team players of all ages to help.  Students play the Board Game or MindCraft M&J River Rats game.

Groups work on survival skills projects we find in a companion book(s)

Secrets of the Forest.

A little kickstart to show you what is coming ahead of you:

OUTDOORS with M&J (The Mystery Path to the Sea)

Prologue (The beginning before the beginning).

                             Life Streaming with River Rats M&J will be the big book later.  OUTDOORS with M&J is a shorter version.

It is TRUE!  Find your TRUTH.

Einstein said: “The Measure of Intelligence is the ability to change.”

We all do it.

A special note to begin:  This set of books and “things” are intended to be experiences you build according to what you want.  There are non-book parts and parent-led survival learning groups. There is a Luxury Fat Maps Book and a

MineCraft® River Rats M&J game.

The whole collection is aimed at working people and their families.  We aim at people who enjoy or want to learn more about OUTDOOR fun.  The author grew up where the Fox River begins to flow toward Green Bay. 

So, we keep the language of the Wisconsin Fox River Valley.  This means there are often extra modifying words in sentences.  Our local language is influenced first by the blending of French and Native languages into a Metis (Met Tee S) language and next by the addition of several European ethnic groups.  The first were from northern Europe. Later folks came from other parts of the world and southern US, South America, Asia, and Spanish-speaking nations.  But the language remains a special way of communicating with care and precision.  It is different and we try to keep that in the books.

There will be new words so keep a dictionary, dictionary.com or Google.com nearby OR your AI search tool

or your smartphone perhaps.

Record the new words. They may reappear.

Well, what is a River Rat anyway?  A person who can live on or near rivers and the forests nearby.  Is a vagabond, akin to a “mountain man”.  He/she can live off of the land.  Early American adventurers exploring unknown territories are called river rats. In England, there is a county named Suffolk where river rat means “an adventurer.” The French king would license special agents called voyageurs.  They were also River Rats as they knew how to survive in the wild.

Below is pictured the MacArthur Mosaic of Marquette:

He/she can get everything needed to survive there and thrive on the nature in which he travels or settles.  In a sense, it is very much like the animals of the woods that he hunts.  Survives by shopping in the outdoor neighborhood.   

And still, many modern-day hunters and fishermen can operate in the same way. They blend in with the habitat around them.  Sometimes it is hard to tell where the river ends, and the person begins.  And yes, today and back then, there are women River Rats.  In history, the Native women could become River Rats very easily as they knew how to survive off of the land.


Want to share with you:  I started writing and researching the explorations of Marquette and Joliet with the idea that it was a success. It introduced Europeans to the Upper Mississippi.  And a way to get there.  I never bought the idea that they discovered it since Natives had been all over the area for 12,000 years.

In fact, much of the work of four previous explorers paved the way. Perrot (entered the Upper Mississippi from a southwest Lake Superior connection and traveled to the Wisconsin River and up to what is now Berlin, Oshkosh, and Green Bay establishing trading posts along the way). See the map.

Nicolet, Raddison, Allouez, and Menard got to know the land, (around Lake Superior and its 200 rivers, and to Green Bay and Berlin Wisconsin (Three Fire Nation) (Mascoutin or Miami, Mascoutin & Kickapoo tribes).s

How can you survive and make friendships and compacts with dominant tribes, particularly the Algonquins and Illinois?

Author Mark Warhus in his book: Another America: Native American Maps and the History of Our Land confirms there were some 10,000 paths, camps, and trading posts north of this route for most of this 12,000-year period, especially as the ice receded from the glaciers some 8-10,000 years ago. 

Later the French would enhance some of these spots into trading posts.  Here, trading posts were used to barter for pelts and wares of nature for sought after European goods, especially those having metal.

The areas in the south and west part of Wisconsin were NOT covered by ice. This was called the Driftless Area where no glaciers smoothed the tops of the land and filled the depths of the valleys.

Most Natives, even then, knew of the existence of The Great River, now the Mississippi. And, in fact, were able to warn of the fierce water panther.

See the hydro-glyphs (cliff pictures) high up on the Mississippi cliffs. 

How could describe these if they had never seen them?  Smartly, perhaps, the Natives just did not want the Europeans to invade the area. Then they would not reveal the whole story. Below Joliet is pictured in a famous mosaic.

Note: The Mosaics in our books are owned by the MacArthur Foundation in the east lobby of the Marquette Bldg. in Chicago.  We are granted perpetual reproduction rights under the Creative Commons License.  No copies may be copyrighted; or reproduced by profit companies. Per the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  No changes may be made. Designed by JA Holler & executed with LC Tiffany, Tiffany Company.

Other pictures are either out of copyright from age, Or part of CCL, Common Copyright License or notated such as two from the Wisconsin Historical Society and one by Horses EveryOne, Inc. and/or Donald Geldernick. No pictures may be copyrighted by others without further consent or research.

But my research experiences changed many of my perspectives:

  1. Marquette and Joliet succeeded in getting to and down part of The Great River, The Mississippi River, where others had failed. They sought the river path to the sea that went to China.  Below see the MacArthur mosaic of M&J camping in the wild.

They found something better. They were helped by:

  1. Preparation from a special French Jesuit study plan in Montreal that included woodland skills and Native languages. 
  2. The mapping and Native skills Joliet learned while working the 200 rivers running into Lake Superior.
  3. The knowledge of a Native guide who showed Marquette the ropes because he had been down and around the Mississippi River many times.
  4. The many pieces of advice they got as they hopped from one tribal village to the next.  They learned what new opportunities and risks they would encounter.
  5. The Natives in three instances provided extra canoe guides and paddlers.  Often the route was against the river current.  The Native guides found routes through high wild rice thickets and reeds where Europeans would have gotten lost. AND they learned survival skills from the Natives.

In other words:  no Native help; no trip

Here are all of the parts to choose from:

River Rats book series 16 products to buy (in red).

Watch for these other River Rats M&J series products to enjoy.  See your book vendor OR stores, e.g.,

Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and GoodRead.com

  1. OUTDOORS with M&J (Marquette & Joliet) (first release)
  2. Life Streaming with River Rats M&J main book
  3. JoJo & Bucky picture coloring/painting book (tracing paper & stickers too!)
  1. eBook versions of River Rats, JoJo & Bucky M&J and OUTDOORS with M&J
  2. MindCraft ® River Rats M&J games (server-based & Legos)
  3. Videos (via address connections online, external sources)
  1. Brain Candy M&J (new learning tools for parent lead groups)
  2. Luxury FAT Maps book (all maps)
  3. Large Printed Maps
  1. 10)Lists of Tribes on the route and rivers (+ 200 tributaries of Lake Superior)
  2. Bibliography
  3. Junk Box (interesting stuff not used in books)
  4. Music OR sheet music

17)  Appendix (extra things that did not fit into the books)

19. YouTube ® : youtube.com/watch?v=Rkb6vX-ORrY

20) Virtual Reality (VR):  Meta/Oculus 3-D stories

21) Social Media: Tik Tok, Meta/FB, WhatsApp,  Instagram, Tumblr, 4chan, Flickr,

Twitter (X), Threads, Mastrodon, Vivaldi & other Social Media platforms.

22) Tiffany Co. Mosaics of Marquette-Joliet period (only book to include in the books)

23)  YOUR Blog >>>>

© 2023 Horses EveryOne, Inc. (IRS recognized charity & owner of proceeds of the River Rats book series) and/or Donald J Geldernick.

MORE:  The River Rats M&J book series (OUTDOORS with M&J (Marquette & Joliet) et al,  is integrative with many other historical records.

We encourage the readers to also read or follow:

24) Secrets of the Forest (4), by Mark Warren (All you need to survive a surprise environmental change).

25) 40 Fundamentals of English Riding, by Holly McNeil (includes DVD) Goes with HorsesEveryOne.org lessons.

26) The Middle Ground, by Richard White (how the French and Natives blended into one survivalist culture).

27) Another America, by Mark Warhus (who the original American map makers really were.)

Most will be available in most eBook/Kindle formats.  Just Google the titles to see the options.

Please fill out the form below to be notified when these are available and released by the publisher. You can then order or buy from any vendors available.

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You are part of the advanced notice group.  The books are not yet published.  YOU will be among the first to be able to purchase and use.

Future published prices will add charges for taxes, shipping and handling as required or needed.

Online versions are active almost immediately.  Maps and games are mailed rolled in tubes to be assembled.

Just more fun and games for families to learn together.

This is from the River Rats book series owned by Horses EveryOne, Inc. horse charity.  https://www.HorsesEveryOne.org

All information herein © by Horses EveryOne, Inc. and/or Donald J Geldernick