Board

Board meetings are open to the public. The board meets quarterly, traditionally in Adel, but sometimes moving to other locations in the watershed. The board can also meet by teleconference, and can make decisions by email. Between board meetings, the Executive Committee, consisting of the officers, makes many decisions. To contact the WWALS board, please send email to wwalswatershed@gmail.com.

Much of the work of WWALS is done by Committees. There are openings on the board right now, and always on the some of the committees. If you want to apply, please fill out the application form.

WWALS Board Members:

John S. Quarterman ( President), Dave Hetzel (Ambassador and Secretary), Gretchen Quarterman (Treasurer), Bret Wagenhorst, Phil Hubbard, Tom Potter.

WWALS Former Board Members: Christopher J. Mericle, Garry Gentry (Secretary), Karan A. Rawlins, Chris Graham, Al Browning.

John S. Quarterman (2012-2017)

President, Chair of the Public Relations and Watershed Issues Committees, and ex officio of the Executive Committee. Lives in Lowndes County, GA.

Interest in WWALS:

Clean water for health, local agriculture, and local economy: WWALS looks after that on a watershed-wide basis.

Fondly remembering my mother’s mother’s decorative fish pond in their front yard in Pearson, after many years working in the Internet, I’ve moved back to the same land and waters where I grew up and where Gretchen and I were married. I invite all who like to get wet with fun and work to join WWALS to explore and conserve.

Background:

My front yard is a cypress swamp in my pine forest next to my produce field. My back yard is a 12 acre pond on Redeye Creek, flowing into the Withlacoochee River.

Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper, caused me to realize water is in my blood. My father preserved some original longleaf forest, which is the most diverse ecosystem outside a tropical rain forest, while he farmed and my mother grew flowers as she taught school. None of forest nor fields nor flowers can survive without water, and already droughts with pine beetles are more frequent and the wet times are not as wet. We all need to pay attention to clearcutting, over-paving, and other causes of these problems.

My grandfather ran the original Valdosta water plant, and his father was a timber grader on the Altamaha River in Darien. A great grandfather owned a house in Troupville at the confluence of the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers when they bought a paddlewheel streamer which tried to set up commerce with the Suwannee River, but fell afoul of shoals.

I fondly remember my cousin Clark’s musical mullett-and-hush-puppy fish fries at Lake Octahatchee in Hamilton County, Florida.

My aunt Elsie Quarterman, professor of plant ecology at Vanderbilt, was living evidence that all these things are connected: terrain and soils help determine what plants will grow; agricultural chemicals run down into streams, ponds, and rivers; and everything from air to economy depends on water at geographic watershed scales that cannot be adequately addressed by city, county, or even state governments in our watersheds that cross the Georgia-Florida line.

It’s up to us. And who wouldn’t want to be outside in our sub-tropical paradise?

On December 30, 2016, the WWALS board appointed Quarterman the first Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®, a staff position required as part of the license from Waterkeeper ALLIANCE®.

Dave Hetzel (2012-2015, 2015-2018)

Ambassador. Lives in Tift County, GA.

Interest in WWALS:

In this video, WWALS Ambassador Dave Hetzel explains the Alapaha River Water Trail: recreation through fishing, swimming, boating, conservation, and economic benefits through heads on beds, restaurant customers, gas, and outfitters. The Alapaha River Water Trail could even help attract knowledge-based companies as they see this improved quality of life for local citizens.

Background:

According to Latasha Ford, Tifton Gazette, 5 May 2015:

Hetzel is a former city councilman and has served on several committees. He is very active in the community, serving on many boards, including Keep Tift Beautiful, Tiftarea Greenways Association, Tift County Commission on Children & Youth, Gang Prevention Committee, Tiftarea Homeless Coalition and the Tifton Merchants Association. He has helped with several other community projects, such as Hands on Tifton and Meals on Wheels.

Hetzel is a member of First United Methodist Church and is a retiree from military duty. He served 25 years active duty with the United States Air Force and retired as a lieutenant colonel. During that time, he served 11 years in the Pacific Theatre. He was elected to the Georgia Municipal Association Board of Directors from 2008-2012 and appointed director of training in 2010.

Hetzel and his wife, Louise, have five children (one deceased) and grandchildren.

Gretchen Quarterman (2012-2017)

Treasurer and Chair, Membership Committee. Lives in Lowndes County, GA.

Interest in WWALS:

Without clean safe water, we cannot live. Protecting our environment, the rivers, the soil, the aquifer is fundamental to the success of our community.

Background:

I have been described as the team utility player. I can work as a member or leader of a team in most any role. From farming to technology, from politics to photography, I can work with others for positive outcomes. I have over 20 years of experience as a corporate administration manager, technical consultant, system administrator, line manager and project facilitator. I was a founder of a venture funded technology firm in 2000. I have extensive hiring experience and have written a book on the subject, Hiring System Administrators (1999). Most recently, I focus on local foods and farming.

Bret Wagenhorst (2012-2019)

Organizer of the annual BIG Little River Paddle Race at Reed Bingham State Park.

Lives in Tift County, GA.

Interest in WWALS:

Bret Wagenhorst has been on the WWALS board since its inception. Although an ophthalmologist in Tifton, GA by profession, canoeing and kayaking are two of his passions outside of work. He states:

“I got involved with WWALS because I realized how special and beautiful these south Georgia waterways are and I wanted to help preserve their relatively pristine character for future generations of paddlers, swimmers and fishermen. I also want to help educate folks as to the value and importance of these gems.”

Background:

He grew up paddling on the Shenandoah River in Virginia as a Boy Scout, but he has been paddling the waterways of South Georgia for the past 17 years. He has paddled various stretches of nearly all of WWALS namesake rivers, as well as the numerous other bodies of water in the region, including the Okefenokee Swamp, the Suwanee and Satilla Rivers, the Santa Fe, Wacissa, Wakulla, Ochlocknee, and Ichetucknee Rivers, the Flint River, Banks Lake, Grand Bay, Ray’s Millpond, and the coastal marshes, often organizing groups of paddlers to join him. He is enchanted by the presence of trees in the waterways, something he did not experience up north, and also the great variety of native plants and animals. He is intrigued and concerned by the incursion of invasive species along our water ways.

Phil Hubbard (2016-2018)

Elected July 13th 2016 to the remainder of the unexpired term of Garry Gentry. Active participant on the Outings Committee. Lives in Lowndes County, GA.


Interest in WWALS:

I have been kayaking for only a year. Prior to this I had limited knowledge of the surrounding rivers. I find it to very relaxing while being adventurous and that many others share these same interest. However, like myself they don’t know where to go. To me, kayaking on an open lake is rather boring. The local rivers provide challenges and skills while fulfilling my desires for adventure. I feel one of my contributions could be to help organize outings to educate and inform like minded people of the joys the river

Background:

I have a military background as well a professional driver. I have been a fleet manager for over 20 years. I coordinate the logistics of transportation daily and all that entails. I have been a hobbyist photographer since the 70’s and a professional motorsports photographer for some dozen years. I have the equipment and access to materials for trophies and awards.

Tom-Potter (2016-2018)

Elected to the board September 20th 2016 to the remainder of the term for the board position formerly occupied by Chris Graham. Active participant on the Grants Committee, Outings Committee, and Withlacoochee River Water Trail Committee. Lives in Lowndes County, GA.


Interest in WWALS:

I would like to contribute my expertise and knowledge to WWALS in developing a more comprehensive understanding of the physical and biological resources in the region.

I would like to contribute my expertise and knowledge to WWALS in developing a more comprehensive understanding of the physical and biological resources in the region.

Background:

I am a research environmental chemist with more than 40 years of professional experience. Over the past 18 years I have lead a team of scientists evaluating impacts of farm and watershed scale conservation practices on water quality and quantity in the Southeastern USA and Puerto Rico.

WWALS Former Board Members:

Christopher J. Mericle (2014-2019)

Lives in Hamilton County, FL.


Photo: Suwannee Democrat

Interest in WWALS:

My father bought a canoe when I was three. I have been on the water ever since. Canoeing and camping was what took most of my free time as a child and teenager. The Wekiva River in central Florida was my backyard. The Wekiva is one of the two National Wild and Senic Rivers in Florida. My wife Deanna and I now live on the Withlacoochee River in Hamilton County, FL. I grew up knowing the pristine waters of the Wekiva, my children grew up swimming in the clear springs on the Santa Fe and the Withlacoochee.

I first became aware of WWALS when I entered into the fight to stop the Sabal Trail Gas Pipeline. I knew something had to be done to save the very springs my children swam in for future generations to enjoy. This pipeline was the catalyst that made me aware of how passionate I am about preserving our precious water resources. WWALS is dedicated to that purpose. Over the years I have witnessed the decline of various waterways including the Wekiva and Withlacoochee Rivers. WWALS provides an avenue to advocate for the local watershed.

Working together to achieve common goals, WWALS is a voice for the watershed and surrounding environment that people hear and respect. It is that which I want to promote and be a part of.

Background:

Many years of canoeing, camping, hiking and other outdoor activities. Living on two spring fed rivers, witnessing the effect of human impacts.

Led the fight to move the Sabal Trail gas pipeline off the Withlacoochee River in FL (and was successful).

I know that if we can create a successful water trail for all to enjoy, the river and watershed will benefit from it.

People protect what they care about.

Garry Gentry (2012-2015, 2015-2016)

Former Secretary. Resigned from WWALS board May 2016 due to personal reasons.

Lives in Tift County, GA.

Interest in WWALS:

I have been involved with WWALS since almost the beginning and common sense says we need clean water and good stewardship of our planet to leave as a legacy for the next generation.

Background:

I grew up on and own a farm in Irwinville, GA which borders on the Alapaha River and grew up accessing the Alapaha for hunting and fishing. I have been a political activist and environmental activist most of my life.

Karan A. Rawlins (2012-2017; resigned 2015)

Former Chair of the Events Committee. Lives in Tift County, GA.

Interest in WWALS:

Karan Rawlins resigned from the WWALS board in June 2015 due to press of ther commitments, for example as president of the Georgia Exotic Pest Council (GA-EPC). She remarked:

WWALS is great group with an important role to play in keeping our local waterways safe. You have done an amazing job and should be proud of your accomplishments.

Background:

Karan A. Rawlins is Invasive Species Coordinator for the Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia in Tifton. Rawlins earned a MS from University of Texas at Arlington.

Karan’s duties include development of educational and public outreach materials on invasive species; development of smartphone apps for collecting and reporting data on invasive species (http://apps.bugwood.org); continuing the development of content for www.Invasive.org; BugwoodWiki (http://wiki.bugwood.org) and the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States (www.invasiveplantatlas.org); expanding the development and operation of the Georgia Invasive Species Task Force (www.gainvasives.org); development of Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas; development and training associated with the Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (www.EDDMapS.org) in Georgia and across the United States; development of the Invasive species Community of Practice in eXtension (www.extension.org/invasive_species); and collection of field survey data.

Karan is currently president of GA-EPPC; volunteers with citizen groups fighting invasive species; participates in conservation projects to preserve native habitats and the native species therein; and has contributed over 6500 images to the Bugwood Image Database System of both invasive and native species recorded during field work.

See Karan’s photographs in the Bugwood Image Database System

The 2nd edition of the Homeowner’s Guide to Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Species – How You Can Make a Difference

Chris Graham (2013-2015)

Chair of the Alapaha Water Trail Committee. Lives in Lowndes County, GA.

Interest in WWALS:

He says:

“I feel I have accomplished a good deal in our area. Now that the Alapaha River Water Trail brochures are printed and WWALS is starting on the Withlacoochee River Water Trail, I feel it is time for someone in the Little River or Withlacoochee River watersheds to have an option to join the WWALS board to do something good for their river.”

Background:

Chris Graham helped oppose closing Lowndes County Road 16 (Old State Road) that was the only public access to the Alapaha river in Lowndes County, Georgia. He also helped get Lowndes County commissioners to fund with SPLOST dollars a Naylor Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River near HWY 84. Plus he helped to get the Alapaha River Water Trail started and remains the Chair of that Committee, which continues work on placing road signs and kiosks at access points and fundraising to do so.

Al Browning (2012-2016)

Promotes water quality testing and education. Lives in Berrien County, GA.

Interest in WWALS:

In August 2012 at a water quality certification training he helped organize and present, Al Browning remarked:

Suppose there’s a business looking to south Georgia, to move into an area. They can go to the Adopt-A-Stream website for that particular area, and get an idea of where the best water is. And they may choose… that Berrien County has terrible water; I’m going to go to Cook County, or Lowndes!

Al continues to invite people to join WWALS in monitoring water quality.

Background:

Al Browning as a high school teacher was written up by Ashley Harper for WALB, 29 July 2003, Berrien students protect the environment,

Berrien High School is getting the community involved in their environmental clean up project. Their plan includes planting trees, flowers, and building a butterfly sanctuary on the new school grounds.

Tuesday, project leader Al Browning told city leaders the school needs their help to make it a success.

“Whether its by picking up a shovel or donating money, we need all the help we can get,” said Browning. “We want the community to get involved with the high school and know what our students are doing.”

Browning hopes to finish the project by December.

Last year, B.H.S students participated in the Adopt a Stream program and cleaned up the Alapaha River along Berrien Beach.

Al spoke about water quality and his river experiences at the 13 December 2014 Alapaha River Water Trail organizational workshop and he continues to talk to Berrien County about signs and further access for the Alapaha River Water Trail.

16 thoughts on “Board

  1. Pingback: WWALS Annual Meeting Wednesday July 9th | WWALS Watershed Coalition

  2. Pingback: Agenda, WWALS Board, IHOP Adel, 2014-10-08 - WWALS Watershed Coalition

  3. Pingback: Landowner on Withlacoochee River in Hamilton County FL moves to intervene against Sabal Trail -Chris Mericle - WWALS Watershed Coalition

  4. Pingback: Updated WWALS Brochure with Alapaha River Water Trail - WWALS Watershed Coalition

  5. Pingback: WWALS Board Agenda 2015-04-08 - WWALS Watershed Coalition

  6. Pingback: WWALS Goals for 2015 - WWALS Watershed Coalition

  7. Pingback: Board and Committee members sought by WWALS Watershed Coalition, a WATERKEEPER® Affiliate - WWALS Watershed Coalition

  8. Pingback: WWALS Water Trails at Southern Georgia Regional Commission Council 2015-07-23 - WWALS Watershed Coalition

  9. Pingback: Hamilton Co. FL and Lowndes Co. GA asked to oppose Sabal Trail - WWALS Watershed Coalition

  10. Pingback: Rescheduled: WWALS Water Trails at Southern Georgia Regional Commission Council 2015-09-24 - WWALS Watershed Coalition

  11. Pingback: Draft Agenda, WWALS Board, 2016-01-13 | WWALS Watershed Coalition

  12. Pingback: WWALS outings on Chris Beckham drive-time radio WVGA 105.9 FM 7:30 AM 2016-01-15 | WWALS Watershed Coalition

  13. Pingback: Election of Board Members and Officers, Annual Member and Quarterly Board agendas 2016-07-13 | WWALS Watershed Coalition

  14. Pingback: Videos: Rivers against Sabal Trail in Live Oak —Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® 2017-01-12 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®)

  15. Paul Ruben

    Hello,

    I’m an ecologist based out of Tampa, FL. I am currently filming an amateur documentary about Florida’s natural systems and conservation initiatives. I would like to include information about the Sabal Trail pipeline and was wondering if there was anyone willing to have a short interview with me by March, 2017. Please let me know.

    Thanks.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *