Keeping the Chattahoochee: Sally Sierer Bethea in Conversation with Rebecca Wade

Keeping the Chattahoochee: Sally Sierer Bethea in Conversation with Rebecca Wade

September 19th 2023 | 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Meet with us at the bookshop on Tuesday, September 19th at 6:00 pm for a conversation on river conservation and how these powerful waterways provide much more than just drinking water and recreation. Sally Sierer Bethea will be in conversation with Rebecca Wade of Upstate Forever to discuss Bethea's book, Keeping the Chattahoochee: Reviving and Defending a Great Southern River.  Don't miss out on this evening discussing over 20 years worth of river conservation stories both entertaining and even alarming. 


About the Book: 

Sally Sierer Bethea was one of the first women in America to become a “riverkeeper”—a vocal defender of a specific waterway who holds polluters accountable. In Keeping the Chattahoochee, she tells stories that range from joyous and funny to frustrating—even alarming—to illustrate what it takes to save an endangered river. Her tales are triggered by the regular walks she takes through a forest to the Chattahoochee over the course of a year, finding solace and kinship in nature.

For two decades, Bethea worked to restore the neglected Chattahoochee, which provides drinking water and recreation to millions of people, habitat for wildlife, and water for industries and farms as it cuts through the heart of the Deep South. Pairing natural and political history with reflective writing, she draws readers into her watershed and her memories. Bethea’s passion for the natural world—and for defending it with a strong, informed voice animates this instructive memoir. Offering lessons on how to fight for our fundamental right to clean water, Bethea and her colleagues take on powerful corporate and government polluters. They strengthen environmental policies and educate children, reviving the great river from a century of misuse.

About the Author: 

Sally Sierer Bethea is the retired founding director of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. She served as executive director and riverkeeper for two decades and continues to assist Chattahoochee Riverkeeper as a senior advisor. Bethea also publishes a monthly column, Above the Waterline, in Atlanta Intown. She lives and writes in midtown Atlanta.

About the Conversation Partner: 

Rebecca Wade holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Furman University, and a Masters of Natural Science and Environmental Education from Hamline University. Her experience ranges from wildlife research to environmental education and she looks forward to utilizing her knowledge to expand Upstate Forever's Clean Water initiatives. While Wade has enjoyed learning and teaching about the natural world across the country, she is deeply connected to conservation in the Upstate. In her free time, she enjoys many forms of outdoor recreation including, but not limited to, running, biking, hiking, and backpacking. Additionally, she loves spending time with her husband and dogs at Greenville’s many breweries and restaurants alike.

Upstate Forever is a conservation organization that protects critical lands, waters, and the unique character of the Upstate of South Carolina. Learn more at

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