2013 Presenter Biographies
Robby is the Altamaha Riverkeeper. He completed his bachelor of science degree with a major in Environmental Economics and Management and a certificate in water resources at the University of Georgia, and spent his summers in college working for Alaska Recreational Management at the Russian River Ferry on the Kenai River as head captain and assistant manager.
Originally from Albany, Georgia, Robby loves the outdoors, fishing, paddling and hiking and says he is looking forward to applying his education and experience back home in South Georgia.
Shirley Banks teaches Buddhist meditation on Sundays at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Atlanta. She is currently in graduate school at Emory University where she studies the development of Buddhism in America. She has participated in Paddle Georgia since 2010 and leads hiking trail maintenance crews for American Hiking Society.
Leigh Bost is the store manager of the local Patagonia store in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a long history in the outdoor industry and with outdoor activities such as paddling and biking.
John Michael Cassidy
John Michael Cassidy is the Outdoor Education Coordinator at Darton State College. He was drawn to the area specifically for the close proximity to the Lower Flint River and its famous inhabitant: the Shoal Bass - which should be named the Georgia State Fish. He has studied and worked throughout the southern United States and East Asia.
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Joe has served CRBI as a board member since 1999, and began full time work as Executive Director and Riverkeeper in January 2005. 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. He and his daughter and her mother spent 26 days canoeing the 160-mile length of the Etowah River in 2002. In 2007, he was the recipient of a national River Hero award from River Network and in 2011 was named to Georgia Trend's 100 Most Influential Georgians list. He is a 1988 graduate of Berry College where he studied communications and agriculture.
I grew up in a home that always had one or more canoes plus a power boat or two. On weekends we often went fishing, swimming, water skiing or paddling. Fifteen years ago I began kayaking and it has become my major outdoor activity - like over a thousand paddling miles each year and over 2,000 miles this year. I have also had the opportunity to participate in paddling adventure races/challenges. In June we moved to the Augusta area and I now paddle a lot on the Savannah River and Thurmond Lake.
Besides paddling I also build my own kayaks, canoes and paddles. I also custom make some for others. I have done a number of presentations before on building kayaks, the Watertribe Everglades Challenge, kayaking Isle Royale National Park, kayaking the Pukaskwa Provincial Park coastline of Lake Superior, and paddling 420 miles on the Des Moines River to raise funds for a wilderness park area. I'm retired, live in North Augusta and have three grown children.
Dorinda directs the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Georgia. For her edited anthology Bartram's Living Legacy: the Travels and the Nature of the South, she was nominated for a Georgia Author of the Year Award. Her most recent book, "Altamaha: A River and Its Keeper," a collaboration with former Altamaha Riverkeeper James Holland and Georgia author Janisse Ray, was released by the University of Georgia Press in June 2012. A member of the GRN board of directors, she is a veteran of Paddle Georgia 2010-2012.
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Jason DuPont lives just outside Savannah, Ga. where he manages a private plantation on the coast. After a career of many years in law enforcement, Jason has returned to his roots and first love in the outdoors. Jason is the founding director of a small environmental organization called Off Grid Expeditions that specializes in river clean up campaigns , and environmental education and awareness. Off Grid also works with, assists, and is members of many other riverkeepers and organizations statewide. Since a very young age Jason has always been very active in hunting, fishing, camping, hiking , and paddling. He has dedicated his life to cleaning up the rivers and great outdoors to help provide a cleaner, healthier environment for our wildlife to live in and for everyone to respect, appreciate and enjoy!
Dawn is a master naturalist as well as a licensed raptor rehabilitator and wildlife technician. She lives on the river and paddlse frequently, which allows her to experience first hand the beauty and importance of our local beavers.
Ben is the Associate Director of Water Conservation at American Rivers. Prior to that he worked for the Altamaha Riverkeeper as its Oconee River Project Director, based in Athens, Georgia. Ben's work in the Oconee River basin included advocacy and outreach with local governments and businesses on water conservation and efficiency, watershed protection, smart land use planning and promoting river access and recreation.
In 2010, he helped spearhead a community response to a severe toxic chemical spill in Athens' Trail Creek following a fire at a local chemical plant. During his time with ARK, Ben also worked for the statewide Georgia River Network. Prior to that, he was the news editor at Athens' alternative newsweekly, Flagpole Magazine, and was part of a river study project called the Georgia River Survey.
Alicia Evans has been a paddler since she was very young. After becoming jealous of her brother's canoeing trip to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Canada, she visited the area and fell in love with canoeing the lakes and rivers. She worked as a guide in the Boundary Waters for 3 years before graduating from UGA, and picked up whitewater kayaking in the meantime. She is currently the Outreach and Partnerships Coordinator at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, a position that allows her to introduce a love of water to children and adults. She spends her free time paddling the rivers of the Southeast.
Joey Giunta grew up paddling with the Boy Scouts along the Flint River. Joey found his calling teaching environmental education after he spent a summer working with the Forest Service in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota upon graduating from Stetson University in DeLand, FL. He has lead canoe trips for the Chattahoochee Nature Center for 7 years, and is currently the Clean Air Schools Program Manager for the Clean Air Campaign in Atlanta Georgia.
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Neill Herring is a lobbyist for Sierra Club, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Flint Riverkeeper and Ogeechee Riverkeeper. He has been lobbying in the Georgia General Assembly since 1980.
Emily Horton attended the University of South Alabama where she obtained a B.S. blending environmental science, Spanish, Latin American studies, and communications. After college, Emily served as an environmental educator for the U.S. Peace Corps in Paraguay. Later, she partnered with a Paraguayan nonprofit to publish two conservation photography books. Between publications, she worked as a nonprofit grant writer in Paraguay and as a beekeeper and state environmental scientist in her home state of Alabama. These experiences inspired her to gain the higher education necessary to lead innovative approaches in conservation using an anthropological lens and cross-disciplinary techniques, and she is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Integrative Conservation and Anthropology at the University of Georgia. She is especially interested in exploring processes associated with the loss and conservation of biological and cultural diversity using multimedia tools to document and disseminate findings. Emily currently serves as a board member for Coosa Riverkeeper in Alabama and resides in Athens, Georgia.
John Huth (Sunday's raft trip guide)
John Huth arrived at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in August of 2002 where he serves as a park ranger responsible for publications, website, exhibits, and an occasional Kids' Fishing Day. The day after graduation from Southern Illinois University he began his career with the NPS as a seasonal park technician at Lincoln Home National Historic Site in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois. He got the itch to move west and worked for the Bureau of Land Management as a seasonal recreation technician on the Rouge Wild and Scenic River in Southwestern Oregon and at a campground near Elko, Nevada. Staying with the Bureau in Nevada he worked as a YACC project supervisor and a YACC camp director. In 1987 he returned to the NPS as a park ranger and has worked at Great Basin National Park, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, Virgin Islands National Park, and on to the Chattahoochee.
Kathryn Kolb’s interest in the environment goes beyond her visual aesthetic. Growing up in rural Virginia and with maternal family roots in the western North Carolina mountains, she developed a strong appreciation of the value of natural landscapes. Since the early nineties Kolb has worked to preserve and restore native forest environments and care for urban trees and greenspace. She helped to produce new tree ordinances for DeKalb County and the City of Atlanta, served on the board of Georgia Forestwatch, and helped the City of Atlanta acquire a greenspace in her neighborhood. She was also the principal founder of Keeping It Wild (originally a program of The Wilderness Society and now an independent nonprofit) dedicated to bringing diverse conservation community partners together in order to connect urban residents to natural lands and promote the protection and restoration of natural and wildlands in Atlanta, Georgia and the Southeast.
In 2009–2010, Kolb designed and launched a photography center and print studio in Serenbe Community in Palmetto, GA, where she currently serves as founding director. Most recently, Kathryn Kolb Photographs won best of category “Nature Photography” in the JBX Media International Book Awards 2010.
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I was born and reared in Atlanta and was educated in the Atlanta public schools, Georgia Tech, the University of North Carolina and the University of Georgia. I have been married since 1964 to Elise. We have two adult sons. My hobbies are paddling, running, skiing, biking, hiking and camping.
In my professional life as an attorney, I assist clients in the creation, acquisition, merger, reorganization and sale of businesses and business entities; and in the legal aspects of conducting business. I assist securities industry clients such as Broker/Dealers and Registered Investment Advisors in legal and regulatory matters. I assist investors in recovering losses caused by wrongful actions or their stockbrokers and investment advisors.
To integrate my personal and professional lives, I have served for many years as attorney for the Georgia Canoeing Association. In that capacity, I have been in the forefront of paddlers’ legal and political battles to establish and maintain our rights of passage. This has led me to be a strong proponent of paddling trails, including serving as the paddle trail representative to the Georgia Recreational Trails Advisory Committee, which has $2,700,000 to give away this year for qualifying trail projects.
Richard Milligan is a PhD candidate in geography at the University of Georgia and founding member of the Georgia River Survey, an independent organization that has undertaken ecological surveys by canoe of several rivers in the state. He occasionally writes on environmental and social issues for Flagpole Magazine and recently published an essay on colonial natures in Rethinking the Great White North: Race, Nature, and the Historical Geographies of Whiteness in Canada. In addition to volunteering for conservation groups, Richard organizes with the Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition and Freedom University to address injustices for immigrant communities here in Georgia. His dissertation on the Altamaha River System draws upon literary-historical analysis of William Bartram’s Travels, studies of contemporary artistic and literary renditions of the Altamaha, and participatory research with several conservation groups in this basin.
Hasib Muhammad is an advocate for youth voice. He believes that all young people have a voice to be heard. From a trip overseas to Bangladesh, he has seen the effects of youth voice suppression firsthand, and he does not want that to happen in the United States. He is the Program Director of Greening Forward, an environmental non-profit organization that focuses on empowering young people to impact the environment positively.
In his spare time, Hasib enjoys writing about youth empowerment. His work has been published in The Huffington Post and other outlets. He is also an avid public speaker and has presented at TEDxYouth@TheBeltline.
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Bryan is a PhD candidate at the University of Georgia under Dr. Bob Cooper. Bryan is researching patterns of bird communities in large river floodplains and the vulnerability of bird and plant communities of tidal wetlands of the Altamaha River to sea level rise.
During his time serving as President, the NPDES Stormwater Training Institute has risen to become Georgia’s number one stormwater and erosion control training provider. After his honorable discharge as Sergeant from the United States Marine Corp in 1981, Mr. Owen attended Colorado Mesa University and graduated with honors in 1985 with a BS in Geology. Since that time, he has provided over 30 years of stormwater and wastewater consulting services throughout the Unites States and Canada. Mr. Owen is a Registered Professional Geologist in California, Georgia, and Tennessee, and presently serves as President of the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) Southeast Chapter, and is an active member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP).
Keith is first and foremost a river aficionado; an aquatic ecologist, biologist, salt marsh zealot, and fly fishing maniac…take your pick. Branded a “non-essential, faceless bureaucrat” by Newt Gingrich, an ex-history professor, Keith has soldiered on in state government over the past 25+ years in order to 1) pay the bills and 2) make a difference… time will tell. Adjunct to bill paying and bureaucratic ballyhooing, serendipity has provided opportunity to volunteer with the Smithsonian over the past nineteen years at the Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem field station in Belize, experience and explore well known, as well as little known natural habitats throughout Georgia, and co-found the Georgia River Network.
Bio coming soon!
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Gordon, his wife Gina, their daughter Jamie Leigh, and their sons Quint & Joe live in the headwaters of the Flint, in Fayette County, and worship at Brooks United Methodist Church.
Gordon was raised in South Georgia, the son of Rev. Sam and Helen Rogers of the South Georgia United Methodist Conference. He graduated high school at Glynn Academy in Brunswick and attended college at Oxford College of Emory University (Oxford), the University of Georgia (Athens), and Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (Savannah). Following his formal schooling, he was employed for ten years by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources at their Coastal Resources Division office in Brunswick, first as a fisheries statistician and later as a marine biologist and analyst. There he conducted basic research, management-oriented research, and marine policy development. Gordon then entered the private sector, as an owner-operator of a waste and recycling facility based in Brunswick. He has also fished professionally: tournaments, instruction, and charters. He was the Executive Director of Satilla Riverwatch Alliance, Inc. and the Satilla Riverkeeper® from 2004 to 2009. He became Riverkeeper® and Executive Director of Flint Riverkeeper®, Inc., on 1 November 2009.
Gordon works out of Flint Riverkeeper’s truck, the FRk office in Albany, and his office at his family home.
Quint Rogers was born in Brunswick, GA and grew up visiting the beach and paddling the Satilla River. He recently moved to Fayette County with his family where he is a member of the class of 2013 at Whitewater High School. He will attend the University of Memphis in the fall and major in both Music Business and Recording technology. Quint is an avid musician, playing several instruments as well as writing his own music and poetry. He is an avid hunter and fisherman, and loves watersports such as kayaking, canoeing, and surfing.
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Katie Sheehan is the Legal Fellow at the River Basin Center. Her work primarily focuses on developing legal and policy solutions to water quality and quantity issues faced by local governments. Katie has developed model ordinances for wetlands protection and conservation subdivisions, conducted community code reviews and revisions to promote low impact development, cataloged green building practices in southeastern communities, and worked on a variety of small projects for local governments and state agencies related to water resources. She is currently developing guidebooks for local management of onsite wastewater treatment systems, local protection of wetlands, and appropriate property tax valuation of properties encumbered by a conservation easement. Katie is currently a member of the Athens-Clarke County Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission, serves on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Land Conservation Center, and is the At-Large Member of the State Bar of Georgia's Environmental Law Section. Her interests include running, kayaking, and fishing. Katie received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2008.
Deborah is the Altamaha Riverkeeper (ARK) Executive Director, and helped establish the organization in 1999 as the 26th Waterkeeper program in the country. Deborah brought ARK an anchor: a Masters Degree in public policy and 25 years of experience in environmental education and advocacy gained as co-founder and Executive Director of Campaign for a Prosperous Georgia, a consumer advocacy group.
In her earlier studies, Deborah studied Horticulture and Natural History at the University of Georgia and became acquainted with the headwaters of the Altamaha watershed through her work at the UGA Botanical Garden and later as Director of Sandy Creek Nature Center. Thanks to Deborah's hard work, the Altamaha Riverkeeper has developed vocal advocates across the watershed for the protection of Georgia's water resources, making our watershed a better place to live for all of the inhabitants.
Ryan has been active in the outdoors in Southwest Georgia for a multitude of years which fueled his interest in obtaining a degree in Environmental Sciences from Georgia College & State University. He currently is the Outdoor Education Intern and is instrumental with Outdoor Club activities and the Blue Hole Ecology Program.
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Ken Suttles is a middle school teacher in Douglas and the sponser of the RiverRats, an environmental club that works to preserve and protect the Altamaha River. In 1997 he swam 170 miles of the Ocmulgee and Altamah to create awareness of the issues that affect Georgias greatest river. In 1998 he spent 49 days easing down the mighty Mississippi. In 2006 he was named Georgia Project Wet Outstanding Teacher Of The Year. At this time he has been on 23 rivers on 76 trips, boated over 3000 river miles, and has introduced over 350 passengers to Georgia Rivers.
Amos Tuck has been a fish fanatic and river enthusiast his entire life. Growing up in Cedartown, GA, Amos’ childhood was spent exploring the upper Coosa River basin. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife with an area of emphasis on aquatic sciences. He has worked with both the DNR Wildlife Resources Division and UGA Fisheries Department as a fish and mussel researcher. He began working with the Coosa River Basin Initiative as the Program Coordinator in March of 2012. His month long, 200 mile Odyssey through the upper Coosa basin has reached around 50,000 people through newspaper articles, blogs, and multi media presentations.
Erica Weaver is a citizen-activist dedicated to the concept that the “environment is wherever I am”. To that end she strives to be a responsible steward of the Earth and its resources and works to encourage others toward this goal.
Michael is a native fish enthusiast and hobbyist. His interest in native fishes began in 1998 with a small aquarium of stream fishes for his daughter while he was living in Alabama. From the beginning, he has been interested in learning as much as possible about the fishes and the habitats that are right here in our own backyards.
A member since 1998, He is presently the Secretary and Chair of the Board of Directors and the Georgia Regional Representative for the North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA). Founded in 1972, NANFA is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt corporation dedicated to the appreciation, study and conservation of the continent's native fishes. Their documented Objectives include a desire to increase and disseminate knowledge about North America's native fishes and their habitats, promote the conservation of native fishes and the protection/ restoration of natural habitats; and advance the captive husbandry of North America's native fishes for the educational, scientific, and conservation benefits it affords.
Michael is currently working on a project to retrace the steps of historical ichthyologists in the state of Georgia. He is exploring the type localities of the forty two (42) freshwater native fishes discovered and described in Georgia.
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