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Charleston Waterkeeper is supported by a diverse group of volunteers and members connected by a common thread: a personal connection to Charleston’s local waterways coupled with a strong sense of community service. Their stories are engaging and inspire us every day at Charleston Waterkeeper. Join our community of supporters and together we’ll make our waterways cleaner and our community stronger.


Caroline Irwin

Caroline is a longtime Charleston Waterkeeper Ambassador and supporter. She is the granddaughter of country musician and avid fisherman Arthur Smith (think Guitar Boogie and Dueling Banjos) and first got connected with us in 2012 through her work with Arthur Smith Fishing Tournaments. Caroline carries on the family tradition and can often be found poling through our shallow saltwater marshes chasing redfish with her husband John (Fly Right Charters).

As a sales professional, she enjoys helping with fundraising and events that support our community programs, especially when they connect her love of fly fishing, her friends, and clean water. Caroline sees a lot of opportunity to support her local waterways and offers this encouragement:

“There are so many levels of involvement and I encourage people to find, first, why the water is important to them and then engage with the Waterkeeper to protect and educate.”

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Photo Credit: Jason Stemple


James McGavick

If you’ve ever seen our website, the Waterline, social media, Water Quality Scorecard, 2015 By the Numbers, or #WaterWednesday, you’ve seen James’s skill with a camera. James and his wife Corrie are the talent behind MCG Photography. Their love for clean, healthy waterways brought them to the Lowcountry.

James is a waterman and has a very personal connection to our local waterways:

“Water is essential to my health and happiness, and a part of why my wife and I chose Charleston as our home over 12 years ago. From swimming to rowing to stand up paddle board, over the past 46 years I’ve found myself living within a few minutes of a body of water; lakes, rivers, sounds and oceans.”

Several years ago, James reached out wanting to get involved and quickly became an important part of our ability to share our story and work with you. Our water quality testing work is important to James:

“Charleston Waterkeeper monitors the health of our waterways so that we can more easily enjoy the beauty around us. Supporting Charleston Waterkeeper’s efforts by donating time and talent (photography) was an easy decision.”

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Photo Credit: Kathy McGovern


Linda Parlo

Linda, a native Swede, recently moved to Charleston with her family (her husband works with a Boeing contractor). In Sweden, Linda worked as a marine biologist with the Kustbevakningen, the Swedish Coast Guard.

We met Linda at the the South Eastern Wildlife Expo in February 2015. Her sense of community service and background made her a great fit as a Field Investigator for our water quality testing work. Linda won “Field Investigator of the Year for 2015” for her habit of always having Swedish coffee to share during morning sample runs (and if she ever offers you “Swedish Mushrooms” don’t worry, they’re just candy). That, and her sampling technique is impeccable.

Linda also volunteers with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and NOAA. Her connection to the water echoes a strong sense of stewardship of our local waterways:

“I support Charleston Waterkeeper because a healthy watershed is vital to me and to all of us and we need to take better care of it. I love being on the water in Charleston, and marine life need clean water too!”

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Carl Cole

Carl first volunteered with Charleston Waterkeeper in August 2014 as Field Investigator with our Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program. After a 30 year career as an IT manager, he retired in 2012 and immediately began training as a Master Naturalist with Clemson University. In 2014, Carl was certified as the sixth Statewide Master Naturalist in South Carolina.

Carl volunteers in a variety of naturalist activities but prefers to get either dirty or wet or, sometimes, to set things on fire. Carl’s at his best in the field testing water quality, hauling oyster shells, or conducting prescribed burns in the Audubon’s Francis Beidler Forest and McAlhany Nature Preserve. Serving as a water quality Field Investigator, or in his words a “bottle monkey”, is a natural fit.

For Carl, the importance of clean water is a simple:

“Charleston Waterkeeper and clean water matter because, for the most part, we ARE water.”

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Annie O’Brien

Annie first got involved with Charleston Waterkeeper during graduate school in the College of Charleston’s Masters of Public Administration program. We quickly pressed her (and a few classmates) into service to help coordinate volunteers at the Water Ball in 2014. They all excelled and Annie, fortunately for us, stuck around serving first as an intern and then as our outreach coordinator.   

Annie left us to work with the Folly Beach Green Team, but we were delighted when Annie volunteered at Water Ball again is past fall. If you attended, she likely greeted you at the door welcoming you to the event. Annie recently completed her graduate studies and is working for Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach serving those in need on Charleston’s sea islands.

As an avid surfer, clean, healthy water and our quality of life in Charleston go hand-in-hand for Annie:

“I support Charleston Waterkeeper because our waterways are our most critical resource. Without clean water, Charleston wouldn’t be the same!”

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Lane Kennedy

Lane chose Charleston Waterkeeper and we’re so thankful she did. Lane is a student at the College of Charleston and serves in the Bonner Leader Program. Bonner Leaders are committed to service, leadership, and social justice in the Charleston community through working with local nonprofits. Through the Bonner Leader Program, Lane has committed to working with Charleston Waterkeeper for her college career.

Lane chose Charleston Waterkeeper because she is an avid SCUBA diver and waterway conservation issues are important to her. Lane’s sense of community service on behalf of our local waterways is clear:

“I love being part of Charleston Waterkeeper. Every day I go into work, I know that the work I do is appreciated and important. I get to put my own ideas and creativity into almost everything that I do. I’ve met so many people, I’ve learned so much along the way, and I can’t wait to be a part of whatever Charleston Waterkeeper does next.”

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All of us at Charleston Waterkeeper are proud that such a great group of folks have chosen to get involved with us. It’s inspiring to work with a such a diverse and giving group of people dedicated to making their local waterways cleaner and communities stronger. Lets keep the momentum going together. Join our community of supporters!