Georgia River Network’s mission is to protect and connect people with Georgia’s rivers.
Georgia River Network envisions Georgia rivers that are healthy and beloved:
- Georgia rivers are safe to swim, fish and recreate.
- Georgia rivers are accessible for all to enjoy.
- Georgia rivers add beauty and value to communities.
- Georgia rivers meet the needs of the natural systems they support.
- Georgia rivers support economic development.
- Georgia rivers provide a clean water legacy for all.
“I have gotten to know the staff and members of the Georgia River Network and have been inspired by their passionate dedication to Georgia’s water resources and to sharing river adventures with its citizens.” ~ Karen Hill, Georgia River Network Member
To see how we are fulfilling our mission in tangible ways, view more Georgia River Network testimonials here.
Georgia River Network was born on the banks of the Oconee River near Dublin, dreamed up by a group of guys who loved fishing and paddling and who wanted to protect Georgia’s river treasures.
It was the late 1990s, and after a decade of aggressive population and development growth, rivers across the state were running red with dirt from hasty, sloppy construction projects. We Georgians were using 10% more water than the national average while in the middle of the most significant drought in our history.
“I have been a supporter of the Georgia River Network ever since the first Paddle Georgia over 10 years ago. It was that experience that raised my awareness the Georgia River Network and their activities in working to protect the rivers and streams in our state from misuse and preserve them for generations to come.They are a good crew and I am proud to know them and support them in their work.” ~ Doug Mathews, Georgia River Network Supporter and Paddle Georgia Participant
Our waterways were under attack, not only from development, but also in the Georgia legislature, where the laws protecting the state’s rivers, streams, wetlands and even drinking water supply reservoirs were being weakened again and again.
Over a decade later, Georgia River Network has seen some change for the better, but meaningful change is slow.
Our staff and board envision a day when Georgia’s rivers are a focal point of our communities, a place we bring our families to have fun, be together, celebrate and relax. We hope to see these rivers being used to enrich our lives, fuel our economy in creative ways, and provide clean, healthy drinking water to all Georgians for years to come.
And we couldn’t do this important work without the support of Georgia’s concerned and dedicated citizens. Thank you for helping us to protect our precious water legacy.
We hope you’ll consider becoming a member of Georgia River Network so we can continue our mission together.
Rena Ann Peck – Executive Director
Rena Ann Peck joined Georgia River Network as its Executive Director in March, 2019. Prior to coming to GRN, Rena spent 17 years as contract ecologist to Coca-Cola, developing projects to help the company achieve its “water neutrality” goals, as well as creating plastics recovery initiatives to reduce marine debris. Rena also worked for nine years as a restoration ecologist for The Nature Conservancy, and served as Director of Science and Development for The Georgia Land Trust.
In addition to her professional career, Rena has served on the boards of the Southeast Watershed Forum and Wilderness Works, which connects Atlanta’s homeless children with nature. She holds a Master’s Degree in Renewable Natural Resources from the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and a Bachelors’ Degree from The University of Georgia. Rena is certified as an ecologist by the Ecological Society of America and is trained as an Alliance for Water Stewardship associate and is an Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership 2019 graduate.
Dana Skelton – Director of Operations
Dana has been with Georgia River Network since 2002, serving at the Director of Administration and Outreach from 2002-2015 and Executive Director from March, 2015 – 2019. Dana graduated from Clemson University with a B.A. in Spanish and International Trade and a Masters in Parks, Recreation and Tourism. She has worked for ZooAtlanta’s Education Department, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper as Director of Education and Monitoring, and the Georgia Stream Buffer Initiative coordinating stream buffer projects on farm land. She became interested in river work after seeing Joe Cook’s slide show on his 100 day journey down the Chattahoochee River. She has also served on the boards of Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, RiversAlive, the Upper Oconee Watershed Network, Athens Land Trust, Wild Intelligence and the Athens Area Humane Society. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, paddleboarding, camping, yoga and gardening.
Grace Wilson – Communications Director
Grace has always been connected to Georgia and its waterways.
Grace grew up in Stone Mountain and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts. She served as a swim coach and freelance writer in Atlanta until coastal waters drew her to Savannah.
Her passion for environmental conservation started at nonprofit Savannah Tree Foundation where she learned the importance of protecting our natural resources. She now amplifies the voices for the rivers and advocates for increasing safe access to Georgia’s waterways. When she’s not writing about water, Grace is swimming and paddling the network of coastal waterways near her home in Savannah.
Andrea White – Community Programs Coordinator
Andrea has been a water safety advocate and river kayaking instructor and leader within the southeast paddling community for years. She began at Georgia River Network in late 2021. In her short time with the organization, she has helped see the Georgia River Guide mobile app project over the finish line, trained many paddlers in kayaking safety and partnered with various entities to expand river access across Georgia. Andrea brings her passion for increasing safe access to Georgia’s waterways to her partnerships with local groups looking to build water trails on their local rivers. She has an extensive background in public relations, marketing, project management and public affairs and earned her MBA (with a focus in marketing) from University of Virginia and her bachelor’s in American Government and English from Georgetown University.
Andrea is a Level 2 River Kayaking Instructor for the American Canoe Association (ACA) and serves on the ACA Board of Directors, as the Chair of the ACA Regional Activity Council and within that Council, Chair for the Southeast. Within ACA, Andrea championed the launch of the ACA Paddlesports Angler Instructor credential and curriculum and continues to serve as the Secretary for the ACA Paddlesports Angler Advisory Board.
Nationally, Andrea serves on the Paddlesports Committee for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and on the NASBLA Boating Education Advisory Panel. She serves as an Advisory Member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary Paddlesports Advisory Committee. In Georgia, she serves on the Advisory Committee for the Georgia DNR Regional Trails Program.
Alberto Perez – Development Coordinator
Alberto brings over 15 years of dynamic fundraising experience to Georgia River Network. With a keen understanding of the transformative power of generosity, he serves as a collaborative strategist driven by a passion for environmental advocacy and community empowerment.
Alberto holds a Masters in Arts Administration from Boston University, complementing his rich professional background. He has made impactful contributions to esteemed institutions including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., the Florida Grand Opera in Miami, and most recently, the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega. His expertise extends across diverse sectors, spanning healthcare, higher education, performing arts, and environmental conservation.
Residing in Blairsville, GA, Alberto is not only a devoted husband and father but also a Scout leader and active member of his local church. His commitment to service and community engagement underscores his dedication to fostering a brighter future for Georgia’s natural landscapes and its inhabitants.
Alberto is committed to sharing GRN’s vital mission with potential supporters. He recognizes the profound impact that healthy rivers have on the well-being and quality of life for Georgia’s residents and visitors alike, and he is steadfast in his resolve to amplify GRN’s story to inspire meaningful change.
Joe Cook – Guidebook Author and Paddle Georgia Coordinator
“It is always a pleasure to work with Georgia River Network either as a participant in one of their events or as a collaborator working on a common goal. Everything they do is highly organized and well run by helpful staff and volunteers.” ~ Gina Rogers, Georgia Water Coalition coordinator and Conservation Issues Coordinator for Georgia Wildlife Federation
Board of Directors
Bill Cox – Vice President
Tammy Griffin – Secretary
Dika Kuoh – Treasurer
Lynn McIntyre – President
Peachtree City, GA