We caught up with the legendary Walker Brock!

HP: Why do you choose to support Charleston Waterkeeper?

WB: That’s a simple question with a much longer answer than you want, I’m sure! I’ll try to
be quick – Why and how I support Waterkeeper has changed over the past decade I’ve
been involved … but my commitment certainly hasn’t.

In my first few years on the board, it was still the early days of Waterkeeper and I loved the scrappy, bootstrapping, grassroots identity of the organization, and the problem solving inherent in supporting a nascent non-profit.

Later, while I was board chair, the organization was finding its voice and it was just such an honor to be working with our founder Cyrus Buffum, with Andrew and Cheryl and the entire board, and to feel like we were all truly beginning to deliver, in meaningful ways, on the implicit promise we had made to our supporters – the promise that Charleston Waterkeeper could and would play a valuable role in this community. 

And now, I support Waterkeeper because the work has never been more relevant and critical, and the people who are up to their elbows in the work every day, the staff, the volunteers, the hard-working board, they are second to none. Their passion, individual expertise, their commitment is inspiring to be around.

And of course, let’s not forget, the simple but powerful mission itself – to protect, preserve and restore Charleston’s waterways. It is a concise mission, with relatively clear geographical boundaries, yet endless potential for the ways in which Waterkeeper can undertake that work, work that can be highly nuanced – technical, scientific, legal, political. No other organization, private or public, serves the function of Charleston Waterkeeper. It is the voice of our creeks, rivers, marshes, beaches, and all the people and animals that enjoy or rely on those vulnerable and valuable ecosystems. … So, let’s flip your question – Why would any Charlestonian not support Charleston Waterkeeper?

HP: What is your favorite way to enjoy clean water?

WB: I am a kiteboarder, first. The sport was how I made a living right out of college. I started
a school in eastern Long Island, NY, that, amazingly to me, is still operating. I am also a
mediocre paddleboarder, casual boater, regular beach-stroller, and avid sunset-watcher.

HP: What is your favorite waterway in Charleston?

WB: The harbor itself, where three wandering rivers converge to meet the Atlantic … It is
hard not to be in the harbor on a boat or a paddleboard, or just looking out from Battery
Beach, and not reflect on the role it has played and will play in the history and future of
this city.

HP: Tell us about what you have been working on or a recent project

WB: Apart from some real estate ventures, for years I was a partner in a healthy snack food
company that manufactured in Charleston prior to the pandemic. That experience
taught me many valuable lessons, and recently, I have begun working with early-stage
consumer package goods brands in the fast-growing “better for you, better for the
planet” space, trying to help them navigate their growth.

HP: Tell us something interesting about yourself that we might not know

WB: I know I can’t possibly offer you anything that will be universally interesting to the people
who might read this far down our interview, so how’s this? – I won “Most Improved
Handwriting” in second grade. Does that count?
… Actually, let’s make this about Waterkeeper … I got my pilot’s license a few years
ago. One of the joys of that experience is just being able to go up and get perspective
on the world. Flying out of Johns Island, I am always struck by the intricacy of our
system of creeks and marshes from above, those blurred boundaries between land and
sea that are very much a part of the definition of the Charleston we cherish. But I’m still
a young pilot, so I try to remember to fly the airplane.

Walker Brock, Partner, Canongate.

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