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

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 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 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 grew up in Atlanta rafting the Chattahoochee River, as was popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It’s where he first fell in love with rivers. As an adult, he has traveled thousands of miles on Georgia rivers including “source to mouth” journeys on the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola rivers and the Etowah River.  From 2004 to 2018, he worked in various positions with the Coosa River Basin Initiative in Rome including executive director and advocacy and communication coordinator.  In 2005, he began working with Georgia River Network to create Paddle Georgia, an annual week-long canoe/kayak adventure that takes place on a different Georgia river each year. While serving as Paddle Georgia coordinator since 2005, he also has authored Georgia River Network’s River User’s Guide book series, including guides to the Etowah, Chattahoochee, Flint, Broad and Oconee rivers. He is currently at work on the Ocmulgee River User’s Guide. A nature/landscape photographer, his writing and photographs have been published in numerous national and regional magazines and is featured in three other 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 is a 1988 graduate of Berry College and lives in Rome.

“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

 

Alicia Evans

Roswell, GA

 

Trey Evans

Stone Mountain, GA

 

Tammy Griffin – Secretary

Loganville, GA

 

Francheska Hebden

Marietta, GA

 

Max Irvine

Atlanta, GA

 

Lynn McIntyre – President

Roswell, GA

 

Carol McNavish

Cartersville, GA

Tami Morris

Peachtree City, GA

 

Keith Parsons

Atlanta, GA

 

Terry Pate – Treasurer

Lawrenceville, GA

 

Tim Voss

Marietta, GA

 

Mark Wilson

Lilburn, GA

Georgia River Network

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