Our volunteers are the heart and soul and the sweat and tears of our organization. We are an almost all VOLUNTEER based non profit. Support volunteerism in your community. Help our volunteers continue to receive the support and resources they require to continue to serve to protect clean water. People like Frank Eaton (pictured below), who goes above and beyond everyday for our rivers.
Congratulations to our 2016 Volunteer of the Year, Leslie Wilson! We're so honored to recognize Leslie for her passion and commitment to our rivers and community. Read below to learn why Leslie is "all in."
As a girl with strong farming roots from both sides of my family, love and respect for the natural world that sustains us has always been at the forefront of my life. I've been amazed at the beauty of a pansy face, fallen leaf or smooth stone as long as memory holds.
My husband Mark introduced me to paddling the black waters of the Waccamaw and Kingston Lake. I was awestruck by the amount of life this ecosystem supported! On that first warm March morning paddle the trees were filled with singing goldfinch, prothonotary warblers came to hover in front of my face and look me in the eye, turtles sunbathed on logs, fence lizards and anoles watched from tree trunks as we floated by. I spent most of my childhood building forts and exploring the hardwoods of piedmont N.C., and considered myself fortunate to come across a box turtle or garter snake. I could identify a handful of bird species then, mostly bird feeder variety, but here there are over 50 identified in my backyard alone! I realized this place was rich in diversity in both plant and animal life. Fascinating!
We exposed our children to the wonders of the wild areas of Horry county and have succeeded in instilling our love of such within them....and they continue the tradition by taking many friends on day and nighttime paddles on those smooth, reflective black waters. As a stay at home mom I felt obliged to volunteer whenever the schools, church or community asked. And when Luke left for college I decide to convert his soccer mom time into answering the call of the Waccamaw Riverkeeper.
I saw an announcement in the paper asking for volunteer water quality monitors and thought that would be something where my biology degree would help, and I could be doing something I feel compelled to do--protect clean water and land. Plus, I would be on the river at least two mornings a month, my treat! I read that notice three times, each time that small still voice inside saying, "you should answer that call." Here I am, ten years later, having made friends with my fellow water samplers and staff at WRF, firmly entrenched in this grassroots organization! It's deeply gratifying to be working with a group that understands the importance of clean water to quality of life. I know we have each others' back--I'm all in!! -Leslie Wilson
Citizen Scientists like Archie Biggs who has been working with Team 4 as a citizen scientist monitoring water quality for the past 10 years!
"It has been a wonderful experience and we have fun no matter what the weather or circumstances. Our water quality monitoring program makes a real difference here locally and in our state." -Archie
All Souls Waccamaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
We're thrilled to have All Souls Waccamaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship join our Adopt-A-Landing Program! They have joined our efforts by keeping the landing at Hwy 544 (Socastee Yacht Basin Landing) clean. They wasted no time and conducted their first cleanup last month. We're thrilled to welcome them aboard and owe special appreciation to Karen Harper for being their cleanup coordinator.
"All Souls Waccamaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is a voice for religious tolerance and a home for religious diversity in the Grand Strand area. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence is one of our Seven Principles. Being good stewards of the Earth's resources is an integral part of our faith and we are thrilled to participate in the Adopt-a-Landing Program."
Martha joined Winyah Rivers Foundation's Board of Directors in Fall 2012 and has served our nonprofit and our mission in various roles, currently as Secretary for the Board. But this is just one of the many contributions she has made to our organization. You'll see Martha pitching in at our annual RiverCelebration fundraiser (often at the check-in or check-out table). And she has always been so helpful in the office, helping out with our membership database including membership renewals and thank you letters. Since we're a membership-based organization, her help is crucial to our success. We're thrilled to have Martha as an officer on our Board of Directors and are grateful for her many, many contributions! Thank you Martha!
Amanda is a senior Public Health major at Coastal Carolina University originally from Long Island, NY. She works as a manager at The Gap and is the volunteer coordinator for her store. Amanda began her internship with us in May. Below, Amanda shares her thoughts on being an intern for the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® program. Amanda established a group of volunteers from her GAP store, affectionately named Gap Girls Against Garbage, they have adopted Chris Anderson Landing in Horry County through our Adopt-A-Landing program.
“I am excited for the opportunity to learn about and contribute to the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® Program. I was able to involve my company in their Adopt- A- Landing program and excited to announce we are the newest group to join this amazing group of dedicated volunteers. Public health professionals work to improve the quality of life of people in a community. Health can mean physical, mental, financial, social, environmental and emotional health. I am learning a tremendous amount on environmental health by working at Winyah Rivers Foundation. I’m excited to help keep the river clean and improve the quality of life for our local wildlife as well as the citizens in the neighboring areas. Having a clean river is important for clean drinking, fishing and recreational waters. Getting people involved and aware of this cause increases social and emotional health, all while helping to improve environmental health.”
Quaye has been an invaluable asset to Winyah Rivers Foundation, assisting in the development and implementation of the Winyah Rivers website. Quaye also completed all the mapping for the Waccamaw River Blue Trail guide. Quaye recently moved to Chapel Hill but he will continue to volunteer, assisting staff with website technical support. We're sad to see Quaye go but we're grateful to him for offering us his continued expertise remotely. Our purpose and passion to protect and preserve our natural resources is shared by many, but it's dedicated volunteers like Quaye who make a tangible difference. Thank you Quaye!