25th Annual Membership Meeting

a group of 9 people stand together, smiling.
Apalachicola Riverkeeper’s members, board members, and staff came together for a day of celebration on March 23rd for the annual member meeting.

By Dani Davis

March 23, 2024 – Continuing our celebration of 25 years of speaking up for the Apalachicola River, Apalachicola Riverkeeper hosted the annual member meeting and dinner in Eastpoint. Nearly 80 members, including our steadfast board of directors, joined staff to recap the past year. Outgoing board president, David Hilton, kicked off the meeting by centering the day around the words “For the River”, highlighting board, staff, and member commitment to advocating on behalf of the Apalachicola River Basin. David introduced the 2024 board of directors which includes: Dodie Alber, Diane Alix, Sig Bigham, Craig Diamond, Allison Goodson, David Hilton, Rebecca Jetton, Ivo Marcich, Katie McCormick, Barbara Powell, and Clay Robinson. Newly elected board  members are John Alber, Holly Parker Curry and Mike Price. Board members were unanimously voted in by membership, and Barbara Powell began her term as board president. Other officers are Diane Alix, Vice President; Ivo Marcich, Treasurer; and Katie McCormick, Secretary.

A group of 5 people stand together outside, smiling
From left to right: Chris Watkins (Co-chair of the Development Committee), Tom Herzog (Development Committee member), Rick Zelznak (member/volunteer), Georgia Ackerman (Executive Director), and Susan Macken (Administrative Director)

Executive director, Georgia Ackerman, then welcomed everyone and highlighted a few of Apalachicola Riverkeeper’s current programs supported by membership gifts.

Many know that we lost Ada Long this past year. A hero to many, Ada was instrumental in overseeing and organizing coastal cleanup efforts in Franklin County. She also led the SGI Trash Patrol. Ada cared deeply about protecting our natural resources. Barbara Sanders, member and SGI resident, shared memorial words that highlighted Ada’s commitment to community and the outdoor spaces that she loved. Apalachicola Riverkeeper will continue to honor Ada’s legacy by continuing the coastal clean up on September 21,2024.


Three people stand together smiling
From left to right: Tom Herzog, Cameron Baxley (Riverkeeper), and Rick Zelznak

Cameron Baxley, gave an update on current issues and initiatives. She filled members in on issues including an exploratory oil and gas permit and a proposed marina complex on St. George Island. She also shared some data from the slough restoration project.  Members had a chance to see exciting work from the Slough Restoration Project and the advances happening with their connectivity work.

Lilly Anderson-Messec, director of North Florida programs for the Florida Native Plants Society, rounded out the program by inspiring members with a virtual tour through the incredible plant diversity of the Apalachicola River Basin. She gave a brief overview of the region’s geology and ancient history, which created the incredible ecology that exists in the Basin today. Then followed with a variety of unique species that one can see while wandering the environments of the Basin.

From left to right:
From left to right: Edward Michaels, Tom Herzog, Charley Kienzle

We concluded the meeting with a celebration of our members through good food and good times. Bronwyn Chelette and Chris Matechik played music while we enjoyed a low country boil provided by Loco Catering. Dedicated volunteers and committee members Chris Watkins and Tom Herzog held down the bar and contributed to the joyful spirit all around. A huge thank you to everyone who came out and spent the evening with us! We are so grateful for YOU! Scroll through more photos from the event here

two people stand with instruments behind a gold microphone. one holds a banjo and the other stands with an upright bass
Bronwyn Chelette and Chris Matechik prepare to play for the crowd!
a person stands with a plate of food behind a table with potatoes, corn, and shrimp
Diane Alix (Board Member) at dinner

Dani Davis is Outreach Director at Apalachicola Riverkeeper. She can be reached at [email protected]

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