About Us

Our Mission

Mission Statement

As the voice of Georgia’s rivers, we help everyone enjoy, connect with and advocate for economically vital and clean flowing rivers.

Goals

  • Be the hub that connects people to rivers, watershed groups, related resources and other members of the network so they can be effective advocates.
  • As a statewide watchdog on water policy, continue advocacy efforts to ensure strong protections for Georgia’s rivers.

“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.

Our History

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.

You can also stay in touch by signing up for free email updates or following us on Facebook.

Our Staff

Rena Stricker

Rena Peck Stricker – Executive Director

Rena Peck Stricker 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 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.

Dana Skelton – Director of Advocacy & 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 and Wild Intelligence. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, yoga and gardening.

Gwyneth Moody – Director of Water Trails and Outreach

Gwyneth Moody, native to Athens Georgia and daughter of an outfitter on the Broad River- grew up paddling Georgia’s rivers. After earning a Master’s degree in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development from the University of Georgia she found her dream job with Georgia River Network, a local non profit, coordinating the Hidden Gems Paddling series and providing technical assistance to water trail groups throughout the state. Thus far she has assisted the development of Water Trails on the: Yellow, Broad, North and Middle Oconee, Ochlockonee, Alapaha, Satilla, South and Flint Rivers and is currently working intensively on the Upper Oconee Water Trail and Georgia’s Little River Water Trail. She serves on the Georgia Trails Alliance Board and continues to provide support to Georgia’s water trail groups around the state. She also teaches salsa dance classes with the group SALSAthens.

Joe Cook – Guidebook Author and Paddle Georgia Coordinator

Joe Cook is a 1988 graduate of Berry College where he studied communications and agriculture.  Joe is the Advocacy and Communications Coordinator for Coosa River Basin Initiative and has served that organization in various ways since 1995 as a board member and past Executive Director/Riverkeeper. On the side, he is a nature/landscape photographer and writer whose work has been published in numerous national and regional magazines and is featured in three books, Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail, Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains and River Song-A Journey Down the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers. He has studied and reported extensively on water resource issues in Georgia since 1994 as well as organized rallies such as last years tire roll around the Capitol and the building of the Scrapitol the previous year. Joe became Paddle Georgia Coordinator for Georgia River Network in 2005 and has conducted this event every year since introducing thousands of people to Georgia rivers.

“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

Kit Carson

Macon, GA

Steve Cousins

Stone Mountain, GA

Mickey Desai – President

Jonesboro, GA

Alicia Evans

Roswell, GA

Jim Fountain

Lula, GA

Robert Fuller

Murrayville, GA

Tammy Griffin – Secretary

Loganville, GA

 

Max Irvine

Atlanta, GA

Greg Koch

Atlanta, GA

Susan Lee

Williamson, GA

Lynn McIntyre

Roswell, GA

Tami Morris

Peachtree City, GA

Keith Parsons

Atlanta, GA

Terry Pate – Treasurer

Lawrenceville, GA

Vincent Payne

Winston, GA

Bonny Putney – Vice President

Buford, GA

 

Tim Voss

Marietta, GA

Georgia River Network

126 South Milledge Avenue, Suite E3, Athens, Georgia 30605 | (706) 549-4508 (phone) | (706) 549-7791 (fax) | info@garivers.org