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2021 Waccamaw Conference

Join us for a month of activities during the 2021 Waccamaw Conference from World Water Day (March 22) to Earth Day (April 22). Our theme this year is “Confluence: The Blue Trail Connection.” What is your passion? History? Culture? Recreation? Thriving businesses? The Waccamaw River Blue Trail has it all and so much more.

Take a journey along the Waccamaw River Blue Trail from Lake Waccamaw to Winyah Bay during our series of events including webinars, virtual events, outdoor activities, and interactive competitions. Each week we will visit a different section of the watershed and you are invited to come along on our trip! You can choose to take the virtual tour with us, attend our outdoor events, or explore on your own. Our 2021 Waccamaw Conference is designed to help you discover the Waccamaw River Blue Trail at your own pace and comfort level.  

The Waccamaw Conference is an annual educational conference for the public focused on the importance of our natural water resources and efforts to protect them. The 2021 conference is co-hosted by the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® Program of Winyah Rivers Alliance, North Inlet – Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and American Rivers. This FREE community conference is open to all and we hope you will join us for this incredible journey along the Blue Trail. 


Explore Our Events!



Full Calendar of Conference Events

Our calendar will be updated with more events! Check back to see what we have planned! View our calendar for more details on all of these events!


The Source Seminar Series

Join us virtually to hear from experts in the Waccamaw River watershed. Each week we will focus on a different section of the watershed as we make our way from Lake Waccamaw to Winyah Bay. As we travel, we will learn about the science, history, culture, and recreation offered by the Waccamaw River Blue Trail.

2021 Waccamaw Conference Kick Off on World Water Day, Monday March 22nd at 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Celebrate World Water Day with us during our 2021 Waccamaw Conference Kick Off event! Meet your hosts, view the calendar, and learn how you can get involved! Have questions about the upcoming events? Now is your chance to ask questions and get all the information you need! Click here to view the recording!

Lake Waccamaw: A Dive into a Carolina Bay on Wednesday March 24th at 9:00 am – 10:00 am

A journey down the Waccamaw River starts at Lake Waccamaw. Join us to dive into the mysteries of this one-of-a-kind lake. Waccamaw Riverkeeper, Cara Schildtknecht, will describe the unique biodiversity, ecology, and geology of the lake. Then participants will join a scientific expedition, with a live water quality sampling demonstration. Click here to view the recording!

Reconnecting to the River: The Waccamaw Tribe on Wednesday March 31st at 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

The path of the Waccamaw River is a journey through the ancestral home of the Waccamaw Tribe. Vice-Chief Cheryl Sievers-Cail will describe the historical connection between the Waccamaw People and the river, followed by an opportunity for Q&A and discussion. Click here to view the recording!

Waccamaw River: A History on Tuesday April 6th at 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

A journey down the Waccamaw River would not be complete without a stop in the historical river town of Conway, SC. Horry County Museum Director, Walter Hill, will give an overview of history along this stretch of the Waccamaw River. The presentation will focus on the historical and cultural significance of the Waccamaw River in Horry County, SC. Learn how the Waccamaw River was utilized by Native Americans and colonists for transportation, food and industry and how it shaped settlement of communities. Click here to view the recording!

Waccamaw Conserved Lands: Panel Discussion on Friday April 16th 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

A journey down the Waccamaw River includes many areas of land protection and conservation. Panelists from the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, Pee Dee Land Trust, and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will discuss the role of conservation on the Waccamaw River. They will describe the variety of conserved land areas along the Waccamaw, explain the roles of different organizations/agencies, and highlight the special features of these places and the work being done there. Click here to view the recording!

Coming Together at Winyah Bay: Panel Discussion on Tuesday April 20th at 10:00 am – 11:00 am

A journey down the Waccamaw Watershed ends at Winyah Bay, where five rivers join the ocean. Throughout history, Winyah Bay has also been a place for human communities to come together. This panel discussion will describe opportunities to connect with the local history, culture, businesses, and community around Georgetown, SC and Winyah Bay. Speakers from local museums and business organizations will describe their role in the community, followed by discussion and Q&A. Join us to find your Winyah Bay connection! Click here view the recording!

2021 Waccamaw Conference: Earth Day Celebration on Thursday April 22nd at 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Join us on Earth Day to celebrate the successful conclusion of the 2021 Waccamaw Conference! We will recap all of our great events throughout the Conference and announce awards for our Student Science Poster and Art Contest and the Blue Trail BioBlitz! Join us in celebrating our amazing student participants and all of our BioBlitz observers. We also want to hear from you about your experience during the 2021 Waccamaw Conference. What was your favorite week? How did you interact this year? What would you like to see in the future? We want to keep making the Waccamaw Conference a great event in our watershed! Click here to view the recording now!

All seminars will be recorded and made available on our YouTube page.


Student Science Poster & Art Contest

Students (K-12th and post-secondary) are invited to enter a science poster or artwork that focuses on their individual connection to the Waccamaw River Blue Trail. Students may choose to enter something that has already been developed or create an entirely new science poster or artwork. Creativity is always welcome! 

One 1st place award will be given to the winner of each age group (elementary, middle, high, and post-secondary) in both the science and art categories and one poster will be selected as the People’s Choice. See our Student Poster & Art Contest Overview for more details!

Visit our Facebook 2021 Waccamaw Conference Student Science Poster & Art Contest photo gallery and Like your favorite posters to vote for them! The entry with the most likes by Earth Day will be our 2021 People’s Choice winner!


Blue Trail BioBlitz

As we tour the Waccamaw River watershed, we invite you to get outside and join us on our journey! We will be hosting the Blue Trail BioBlitz from March 22 – April 22. How many species can you observe in our watershed?

Get out in nature, snap a picture, log your observations on iNaturalist, and win an award! We will be giving awards for:

  • Spotlight Species Spotter – we will feature two species each week on our iNaturalist blog. Spot all ten Spotlight Species to be entered to win!
  • Blue Trail Blitzer – make the most observations in our watershed and you will be our 2021 Blue Trail Blitzer!
  • Bio Boss – observe the most species in our watershed to be our Bio Boss!

Visit our 2021 Blue Trail BioBlitz Project page on iNaturalist! There you can find more information and a full list of our spotlight species. We will be posting regular journal entries about species you can find in the Waccamaw River watershed including unique facts and where you can find them.

Visit our YouTube 2021 Waccamaw Conference playlist to view videos about how to use iNaturalist, all about the Blue Trail BioBlitz, and more! Check out our How to Use iNaturalist for the 2021 Blue Trail BioBlitz guide to learn how you can participate in this fun activity!


Confluence Cleanups

Come join us in-person (with a mask, of course!) at our weekend cleanups. We will be hosting cleanups throughout the watershed during the conference. Check out our map to see if there is a cleanup near you!

If you’re uncomfortable joining us, you can do your own cleanup and submit data to be included in our Confluence Cleanups totals! The Waccamaw Riverkeeper has all the supplies you need. Contact us and we will get you set up to do your own cleanup or enter your Confluence Cleanup data here! We need your help to keep the Blue Trail clean! 


Exhibitor Spotlight

Check out our 2021 Waccamaw Conference Exhibitors! While we cannot gather them all together for you to meet them, we hope you will check out their businesses and organizations and show your appreciation for all their hard work to protect our Waccamaw River Blue Trail.

Waccamaw Outfitters is a local family owned business offering guided tours and rentals along the Waccamaw River. Visit them online at the Waccamaw Outfitters website or on Facebook!

The Chirping Birds Society’s mission is to advocate for the elimination of unnecessary plastic pollution that is detrimental to human health and our planet. Visit them on Facebook!

At Gator Bait Adventure Tours, Jane & Chris want all their guests to enjoy the quiet beauty of the Waccamaw River, Blackwater Swamps, and all of the hidden local favorite spots. Visit them online at their website or on Facebook!

Coastal Carolina University’s Waccamaw Watershed Academy strives to deliver educational, research, and public outreach services to the university and the local region. Visit them online at their website, on Facebook, or on YouTube!

The Horry County Stormwater Department maintains drainage systems in Horry County and issue stormwater permits. To report a drainage problem, call 843-381-8000. Or visit Horry County Stormwater online at their website!

Huntington Beach State Park provides recreational and educational opportunities focusing on coastal ecosystems, wildlife, and cultural history of the area. Visit them online at their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

The South Carolina Environmental Law Project is a public interest law firm devoted to environmental protection and conservation across the state. Visit them online at their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Hobcaw Barony is a 16,000-acre research reserve containing more than 70 cultural sites and every type of ecosystem that can be found on the South Carolina Coast. Visit them online at their website, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube!

The South Carolina Maritime Museum aims to create enjoyable experiences for all ages through photographs, artifacts, and interactive exhibits related to our state’s maritime history. Visit them online at their website or on Facebook!

Stay tuned to meet our exhibitors and learn how they connect with the Waccamaw River Blue Trail!

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Winyah Rivers Alliance

P.O. Box 554 | 301 Allied Drive
Conway, SC 29528
843 .349 .4007
winyahrivers@winyahrivers.org

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