Yearly Archives: 2014

Ashley Short’s connection to the environment began at a young age while playing outdoors on her grandmother’s farm in rural Kentucky. It is that foundation that leads her to believe every person should have the opportunity to recreate in a clean environment.  She attended college at Virginia Tech where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning.  After graduation she went straight to Pace University School of Law in White Plains, NY where she earned a Juris Doctorate and a Certificate in Environmental Law.  While in law school Ashley interned with the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic for a year and spent two summers interning at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C.  A recent Charleston transplant, Ashley is looking forward to helping protect Charleston’s waterways as Charleston Waterkeeper’s first Clean Water Legal Fellow and will work primarily with the Permit Watchdog Program.

Stay tuned to the blog for updates on Ashley’s findings and our facebook page where you might see her in the field with our investigators! 

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We are continuously inspired by local, regional, and national companies who take an active role in supporting nonprofit initiatives and the communities in which they operate their business. This fall we are honored to have been selected as the fourth quarter beneficiary for gournmet market and neighborhood favorite Ted’s Butcherblock Friday Wine Tastings as a part of the Ted’s Giving Back Program. To kick off the initiative we caught up with the founders of Ted’s below:

Tell us a little bit more about how Ted’s Butcherblock came to fruition 9 year’s ago.

Ted’s Butcherblock came to be more than nine years ago when Ted decided to make a career change and follow in his family’s footsteps by opening a combination butcher shop, market and cafe. His parents were in the restaurant and catering industry, and his Polish grandparents were butchers in New Jersey and owned a neighborhood butcher shop for 40 years. As a former vegetarian, he came to learn a lot about nutrition and the food chain, and the benefits of eating hormone free, all-natural meats that are raised using humane farming practices. At the time, no one was offering this type of product on the peninsula, and even the natural grocers in town weren’t carrying the quality product that Ted felt that customers in Charleston would appreciate and that he himself would want to eat.


Ted’s Butcher Block Founders, Ted & Julie, pitcured above.

What prompted the start of Friday Wine Tastings and the Ted’s Gives Back Program? 

We’ve been doing the Friday Wine Tastings since the day we opened. We wanted to offer a tasting to educate people about the unique wines on our shelves, and we wanted to require a tasting fee to make sure we got people who were truly interested in learning about wine. We work with just four organizations each year because it helps us raise a more significant donation for each.

Why did you choose Charleston Waterkeeper as the fourth quarter beneficiary?

We’re a small, locally-owned business and it’s always been our intention to give back to the community that supports us when we can. We choose charities each year based on customer and employee nominations, and try to pick a mix of organizations that serve varied needs in the local community. We like working with groups that use the tastings as a social way to spread the word about their organization. That’s the reason we chose to work with Charleston Waterkeeper again this year – they’ve always used the events as an opportunity to spread the word about the important work they do.

In your own words, why is clean water vital to a healthy community, such as Charleston? 

As a city that is surrounded by and vitally dependent on its natural waterways, Charleston is very fortunate to have an organization dedicated to monitoring the health of those resources. Most of us take for granted that we have access to clean water and an abundance of seafood and locally grown crops here. We hope more people learn about the data-driven efforts underway to ensure that our waters continue to remain clean and safe for recreation, fishing and agriculture.

Thank you Ted’s for all of your support! We hope to see everyone at Ted’s Butcherblock this Friday from 6 through 8 pm and every other Friday throughout 2014!

Click here for deatils.

Saturday September 20 marked the 26th annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep. The Beach Sweep/River Sweep is an annual marine debris cleanup event organized by South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The event takes place across the state of South Carolina on the third Saturday in September, and individual cleanup sites are selected and captained by volunteers. Volunteers spend three hours collecting aquatic debris and keep a tally of items find. The data is compiled at the end of the cleanup event to quantify and characterize marine debris impacting South Carolina’s waterways.

Charleston Waterkeeper’s team regularly picks up debris during our weekly sample runs for the Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program. As such, we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to help with an intense cleanup near sites we visit on a weekly basis. For this reason we chose to volunteer on Shem Creek, home to 3 of our 15 sample sites. Members of the Charleston Waterkeeper team joined site captain Brett Champion from the Town of Mount Pleasant and other generous volunteers to assist in collecting over 30 bags of trash from Shem Creek!

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Here are two recounts of the event:

Sam Lawson-Johnston (Charleston Waterkeeper Club President)

I chose to volunteer because my family has a close connection to the water, especially in Charleston. I have known how to cast a fly rod since I was about 9 or 10 years old. The amount of trash I saw was eye opening, but not completely surprising. Though Shem Creek does have a lot of adjacent business, that is no excuse. I found a lot of plastic water bottles and what appeared to be PVC pipe, but everything I picked up was pretty consistent with what I expected.

Cheryl Carmack (Staff Scientist)

I chose to volunteer because I always enjoy the experience of participating in cleanup events – they are a great way to meet environmentally conscious people and to reconnect with the water. Cleanup events are also a good reminder of the importance of stewardship and the large impact that can be made in a small amount of time. The most common items I found, as in most cleanups, were styrofoam pieces and cigarette butts. These items were so abundant it was difficult to keep track! The strangest items I found were a shotgun shell and a bike lock. I was glad I volunteered because it served as a reminder to strive harder in finding alternatives to styrofoam.


On September 8th we partnered with Wendy Wilson of Yogabareheart to host a paddle around Breach Inlet under the full moon. Despite the rough weather, the event was a great success and we were able to raise enough funds to sponsor a portion of our water quality monitoring program. A big thank you to all who joined us for the paddle and our generous sponsors: The Boathouse at Breach Inlet, Yogabareheart and Dean Watersports

Tell is a little bit about Yogabareheart and why you decided to host a Moonlight Paddle.

Yogabareheart is an organization which believes in sacred activism. We create ways to help our community enhance the quality of their lives by compassionate fundraising events which help protect the environment. We are also Yoga teachers who believe in balancing our mind, body and spirits in meaningful ways, not just on our mats. We are also passionate with Global activism and have spiritual retreats in different countries where we can spread sacred activism.

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In your own words, why is clean water important to Charleston’s community as a whole? 

We decided to combine our concern for clean water in Charleston’s waterways with our compassion for Dolphins and our desire to balance. The death rate of dolphins is on the rise due to skin disease. Dolphins are very playful, smart creatures who have mastered breath control and remind us to go with the natural ebb and flow of life which are two important elements to having a beneficial yoga practice. By paddling with the dolphins, we are connected to the water, the symbol for life. The power of Full Moons allows us to manifest our dreams and goals. We are grateful for Mother Natures beauty and Charleston Waterkeeper to allow us to play with the dolphins by keeping our waterways clean. Stay tuned for more Full Moon Paddle Fundraisers and stay active in our community, as together we can make a difference!

We admire Wendy’s commitment to clean water and support of Charleston’s ever-changing landscape. 

Click here to view the complete photo album from the event.


We caught up with the founders of the inaugural Carolina Surf Film Festival, Bo Edmunds, Chad Davis & Chuck Gainey, to chat about their upcoming event, clean water and Charleston’s thriving surf scene.

Tell us a little bit about Carolina Surf Film Festival and why you chose Charleston for the inaugural event. 

Boasting over 600 miles of shoreline, the Carolina coast has long been a favored haunt of pirates, surfers, and dreamers. Situated near the center of this storied stretch of sand, Charleston, South Carolina is known for her colorful history, natural beauty, and thriving surf culture. We are pleased to announce Charleston as the home of the Carolina Surf Film Festival.

The opening night of the festival will include a short film, a feature film, and a dinner party to honor the filmmakers, patrons, and sponsors.  The remaining two nights will include live music, a full bar (featuring locally crafted beer by Westbrook Brewing Company), a food truck rodeo, vendor booths, an artist’s corner (with a live painting performance by celebrated artist Chris Kemp) and, of course, surf and water sports themed movies. Our distinguished panel of judges will screen the movies and award honors to winning entrants.  The Brickhouse Kitchen & Party Plantation on James Island is graciously hosting all three nights of the festival; October 16-18, 2014.

What is your connection to Charleston’s waterways? 

We’re happiest when we’re on the water.   Boating, fishing, paddling, surfing, we do whatever we can to be on or near it as much as we can.  We started the festival as a way to celebrate and thank the surfing community, and to increase public awareness of two non profits we greatly admire:  Charleston Waterkeeper and Surfer’s Healing.  By providing a forum at the festival and in our marketing campaign, we hope that both may reach a larger number of people.   Regarding Charleston Waterkeeper’s mission, we are keenly aware that in addition to reaching like minded people, i.e. water people, we also need to find a way to reach those who don’t spend as much time on the water.   The real challenge is getting the rest of the population to understand that water quality doesn’t just affect surfers and water sports enthusiasts.  Though the festival will draw mostly water people, we hope to create enough buzz around the event to reach those who may not be interested in surfing per se, but who love good food, music, art, etc.

Why is clean water important to the sport of surfing? 

It isn’t just important, it’s vital.  At its core, surfing is pure.  The act of riding a wave is clean and simple.  It takes you to a higher place.  By the way, few surfers have ever been able to describe the feelings riding a wave inspires;  I’ll spare you any further attempt and get to the heart of the matter:  Dirty water stinks!  It goes against the grain of what we stand for as surfers.  Clean water is important to surfing because dirty water is unacceptable.  My partners and I have a unique opportunity to do our part via the film festival.  As surfers and humans we feel a deep responsibility and obligation to insure clean water for future generations.

Visit to find out more information and purchase tickets to the 3 day event happening October 16th, 17th & 18th!