Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Nominated for $10,000 Prize

Selected out of hundreds of nonprofits, the group would use winnings for their Neighborhood Water Watch program.

Photo courtesy Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper volunteer Amanda Mayberry pulls a water sample from Tanyard Creek in Atlanta’s Collier Hills neighborhood.

Tom’s of Maine announced the nominees for the 5th annual 50 States For Good Program in which the company donates $10,000 to the 15 nonprofits with the most online votes. The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper was chosen as Georgia’s nominee from a pool of nearly 1,000 nominations. Finalists were chosen by leaders in the nonprofit community including Sam Davidson, president of Cool People Care; nonprofit strategist and Huffington Post columnist Lisa M. Dietlin; Matt Petronzio, assistant features editor covering social good for; and star of The Vampire Diaries and nonprofit founder Ian Somerhalder.

CRK said that they would use the money to further their Neighborhood Water Watch program, which encourages neighborhood groups, schools and citizens to participate directly with the organization. The goal is to improve water quality in urban streams and protect the health of citizens in surrounding communities.

“For the past three years our Neighborhood Water Watch has enjoyed tremendous success and growth, and as recently as early July helped expose and stop a massive sewage spill of 10,000 gallons of raw sewage at Tanyard Creek in Atlanta,” said CRK Executive Director Sally Bethea. “This grant would allow us to dramatically step up our monitoring and enforcement efforts in this program, but we need our supporters to step up and vote.” 

You can show support and vote daily at through October 15. 

Amanda Mayberry of Collier Hills started volunteering in her community after attending a Collier Hills Civic Association meeting. When she moved to the area about two years ago, she was excited that her street bordered Tanyard Creek Park, a 14-acre park recently added to the Atlanta BeltLine. At the meeting she learned Tanyard Creek was contaminated. High bacteria levels can indicate sewage leaks and spills, posing a serious health risk.

“I was pretty horrified at the numbers of the E. coli bacteria that they were pulling out of the creek,” said Mayberry. “This is our neighborhood’s creek; the neighbors are down here on the path every day. I really didn’t want to have such a polluted creek right here around us.”

According to CRK, water quality in Tanyard Creek improved after the City of Atlanta fixed a sewer blockage identified through a volunteer monitoring program. Damaged and overflowing sewers, failing septic systems and polluted storm-water runoff can often contaminate water. There are currently 188 active groups in Georgia, like Mayberry’s, monitoring their communities’ water. 

To find out more or to volunteer, see the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper website. Or just stay in your chair and vote for them to win the $10,000. 

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