A Visit From the Riverkeeper

A special holiday remix of the classic poem from your Waccamaw Riverkeeper, Cara Schildtknecht

‘Twas the night before Christmas, all up and down stream,

The Waccamaw was calm, a Riverkeeper’s dream.

The paddles were hung in the garage with care

In hopes that warmer days soon would be there.

The gators were nestled all snug in their nests,

While soft rumbling snores vibrated in their chests.

And Mama in her snuggy, and I in my robe,

Had just cozied up to binge watch a TV show,

When out on the water, there came such a splashing,

I sprang from the couch, drink and popcorn went crashing!

Onto the porch, I ran without shoes or socks,

I peered across the yard and down to the dock.

The moon on the surface of the dark river

Reflecting the trees like a luminous mirror.

When, what to my wandering eye did appear

But a kayaker and a team of volunteers.

With a paddling group, followed by a sweeper,

I knew in a flash, it’s the Riverkeeper!

More rapid than ospreys, they paddled along,

They laughed as they paddled and all sang a song

“We help protect the river and we keep it clean!

The Waccamaw is the best that you’ve ever seen!

From Lake Waccamaw all the way to Winyah Bay

We protect it so you can swim, fish, and play!”

With grabbers ready, they search the banks for trash,

When they find debris, in their kayaks it is stashed.

Over the blackwater, the kayakers flew

With boats full of trash and some water samples, too!

Testing for bacteria and pollution,

Riverkeepers hope to find the solution.

As I grew cold and was turning to go inside,

On my dock leapt the Keeper – surprisingly dry!

She was dressed for the weather, nothing was porous.

And over it all was her life jacket, of course.

On her hands she wore her fingerless gloves

That’s the best kind for her to do the job she loves.

Her eyes – how they twinkled, you could see her passion!

The river was her life – not business or fashion.

Her role is to protect clean water for you –

To help prevent pollution, like dirt, trash, and poo.

She protects the habitats for fish and for birds,

For gators, snakes, turtles, and all kinds of herds.

Everyone, everywhere needs water to survive

The Waccamaw helps local communities thrive.

The Riverkeeper was tired; her job could be hard.

And I thought how to help, standing there in my yard.

I wondered how I could help our Keeper.

Into my thoughts, I sunk deeper and deeper.

I could donate cash or an hour – or two!

Or pick up some trash, there is plenty to do.

I could help the Riverkeeper do her work.

Not doing my part would make me a real jerk.

She returned to her boat and pushed off with a wave.

Away she paddled on a river we could all save.

But I heard her call, as she paddled out of sight,

Clean water for y’all, and to y’all a good night!

If you want to do your part to help us protect clean water, please consider donating this holiday season to Winyah Rivers Alliance. Your donation helps us to collect water quality samples, organize river cleanups, educate others about the importance of clean water protection, and advocate for fishable, swimmable, drinkable water throughout the greater Winyah Bay Watershed.

Thank you to everyone who made 2021 a successful year for protecting clean water on the Waccamaw River! Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

Winyah Rivers Alliance

P.O. Box 554
Conway, SC 29528
843 .349 .4007

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