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Environment: Waccamaw River Conference provides green advice

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

River-friendly, water- and energy-saving solutions for homeowners and communities will be the focus at this year’s Waccamaw River Conference on Saturday.

The event is from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Waccamaw Higher Education Center in Litchfield. Admission is $10 per person and includes a hot breakfast buffet starting at 8 a.m. Exhibits will be available for viewing all morning, as well as after the conference.

The conference starts in Room 109 with a welcome from Christine Ellis, Waccamaw Riverkeeper, and announcement of the 2011 Volunteer of the Year. After that, attendees can pick from concurrent discussions scheduled throughout the day.

In Session One, lectures start with “Getting to Know Your Neighborhood Stormwater Systems,” featuring Tracy Jones, head of the Georgetown County Stormwater Department, and her counterpart in Horry County, Dave Fuss. A question and answer period is included.

Following, from 10:40-11:20 a.m., is an introduction to low-impact gardening. That discussion is led by Gary Forrester, senior Clemson Extension agent.

The session wraps up with “Rain Barrels and Rain Gardens: A Sustainable Idea” featuring Rebecca Westbrooks, faculty chair of the natural and social sciences program at Southeastern Community College.

Session Two starts with a discussion of the Smart Energy Homes Program by Dean Smith and Bobbie Branton, residential energy advisors for Santee Cooper. The discussion is from 9:30-10:15 a.m.

Fred Coyne, a certified green builder with Westbridge Homes will talk about “Effective Green Building Solutions for Every Home” starting at 10:25 a.m.

The session will end with “Using the Online Data Stream to Guide Growing Green,” a discussion from 11:20 a.m. to noon, led by Susan Libes, who heads Coastal Carolina University’s Waccamaw Watershed Academy.

Following the concurrent sessions, the Riverkeeper will introduce her new “Riverkeeper Friendly Certification for Homeowners” program.

After the conference, the day’s activities move to Hobcaw Barony’s Kimbel Lodge for the annual River Roast fundraiser, an all-you-can-eat oyster roast. The event also features a southern buffet, beer and wine. Tickets are $30 in advance ($25 for Riverkeeper members) and $35 at the door.

For information about the conference or to register in advance, call 349-4007.

To learn more about the River Roast, click here.

The Riverkeeper is also looking for volunteers to help with the Water Quality Monitoring Project at the East Bay Park site.

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