Were you there at the beginning?

This year, on January 30th, 2021, our nonprofit organization celebrated our 20th anniversary protecting clean water for our families and our future.

Stay tuned for more details about our plans to celebrate throughout the year with our members and supporters!

But let’s start at the beginning…a beginning that preceded 2001 because of the vision and hard work of many local folks.

In the early ’90s, the National Sierra Club founded its ecoregion program, dividing the country into areas based on natural land and water formations rather than political boundaries. This included the Atlantic EcoRegion Task Force chaired by Barbara Postles, a Sierra Club of South Carolina member and chair (1994-1996). In our region, the Winyah Group of South Carolina’s Sierra Club began planning its conservation campaigns.

Serious discussions about protecting local water quality began after that, with many Sierrans involved along with others. Barbara Postles inspired many of these discussions and was influential in setting up a meeting in November 1999 between the Winyah Group (SC Sierra Club) and the Cape Fear Group (NC Sierra Club) to discuss joint concerns. Discussions that day at Horry’s Restaurant on the Waccamaw River included the groups’ concerns about plans for a regional landfill proposed to be sited near the Waccamaw’s headwaters in North Carolina.

Ultimately these and other discussions led to the establishment of Winyah Rivers Foundation, incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on January 30th, 2001, and the Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® Program, licensed by WATERKEEPER® ALLIANCE.

In 2001, Barbara Postles was awarded the National Sierra Club’s Susan E. Miller award, which recognized outstanding contributions to the organization at the chapter level (Postles served as chair of the South Carolina Chapter from 1994-1996). Barbara was also recognized as very instrumental in the creation of Winyah Rivers Foundation and was Board President for many years.

Joy Pinson participated in the November 1999 meeting and took on the leadership role for Winyah Rivers Foundation, establishing it as a nonprofit.

Among others, Joy worked with Rick Dove, then Neuse Riverkeeper and champion of the RIVERKEEPER® model, and served as Board President and our first “keeper of the river” while the organization searched for our full-time Waccamaw Riverkeeper.

Working alongside Barb and Joy were many inspired and inspiring people. They included Robert Moran, Esq. who volunteered his time doing legal work for the organization and shared the founders’ passion for our local rivers. Dean Berry volunteered his time as treasurer, a not so easy task when establishing a nonprofit and seeking to hire a full-time advocate for the organization.

Others who volunteered their time and energy to the creation of our nonprofit include (in alphabetical order): Steve Berkowitz, John Bracken, Betty Bullock, Dr. Susan Libes, Fran and Rick Rickenbaker, Dr. Stan Riggs, Emily Schultz, Hal & Alice Vivian, Zane Wilson, and …

We know that we have missed some of our founders! Please reach out to let us know so we can thank you too!

To all we owe a debt of gratitude…we can’t thank you enough for your vision and all of your hard work establishing Winyah Rivers Foundation, Inc. (dba Winyah Rivers Alliance) and our Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® Program.

Winyah Rivers Alliance

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

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